Thursday, April 12, 2007

Imusgate: My Thoughts on Their Thoughts [J. Mark English]

People from all over the spectrum are weighing in on this Don Imus fiasco. This whole story is becoming less about an offensive comment from shock jock. Rather, it has become more of heated conversation about race and free speech. As people are offering up their thoughts, I give thought to their thoughts:

"When will Al Sharpton be apologizing to them (Duke Lacrosse players)?" - Don Imus

Great point Imus. When will Sharpton, and for that matter Jesse Jackson apologize? Both Jackson and Sharpton assumed the worst about the Duke lacrosse players, and helped bring together protests that disparaged the personalities of the students that were wrongfully accused.


"It is our feeling that this is only the beginning. We must have a broad discussion on what is permitted and not permitted in terms of the airwaves." - Al Sharpton (from Drudge)

I see, and do you get decide what the boundaries are Reverend Sharpton? I refer you to the United States Constitution, the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law...prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press...


"I understand MSNBC has suspended Mr. Imus...but I would also say that there's nobody on my staff who would still be working for me if they made a comment like that about anybody of any ethnic group. And I would hope that NBC ends up having that same attitude." - Senator Barack Obama

Really Mr. Senator? But was it not you who met and campaigned with the rapper Ludacris? Breibart confirms that they did meet together. Here are some lyrics that the rapper himself has used in the past: You doin' ho activities. With ho tendencies.
Hos are your friends, hoes are your enemies. With ho energy to do whacha do... Okay it goes on from there. Is this not terrible stuff? Do you wish to renege on any money donated to you by Ludacris?


"I've never wanted to go on his show and I certainly don't ever intend to go on his show, and I felt that way before his latest outrageous, hateful, hurtful comments." - Senator Hillary Clinton

Madam Senator, your husband had no problem going on his show when it benefited his campaign in 1992. In a tight primary race in New York during the 1992 campaign, he took advantage of Imus' popularity to help himself win the state. And after he was elected, you can read for yourself, President Clinton took ample time to appear as a guest on Imus' show.


"Right, you just worry if the consequences, you know -- But the point of the story is, if it impedes on free speech in America, democracy is at stake. Because democracy is based on freedom of speech and freedom of the press. So we really have to worry about that in this country." - Rosie O'Donnell

I never thought I'd agree with her, but right on sister!


"I don't want to be viewed as piling on right now because Don Imus is a good friend and a decent man...However, he did a reprehensible thing. His comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team were hurtful and wrong. Moreover, the comments robbed these young women of an important time to celebrate a magnificent and positive moment in their lives." - Former Congressman Harold Ford, Jr.

Finally a friend sort of defends a friend. Congressman Ford has been a long time guest of Don Imus, and Imus feverishly supported him during his campaign. Oh did I mention that Ford is an African-American? And what has exploited and taken away more time of celebration from the women of Rutgers? The constant ambush by Sharpton & Co. that has continually kept this story in the news cycle? How about the University which is having almost daily news conferences, using this situation as a way to basically recruit players for the program? I mean my goodness, the whole team appeared on Oprah today!!


Moving along...I must fit in as much as possible of what Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star wrote yesterday:

Thank you, Don Imus. You’ve given us (black people) an excuse to avoid our real problem.

You’ve given Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson another opportunity to pretend that the old fight, which is now the safe and lucrative fight, is still the most important fight in our push for true economic and social equality.

You’ve given Vivian Stringer and Rutgers the chance to hold a nationally televised recruiting celebration expertly disguised as a news conference to respond to your poor attempt at humor.

Thank you, Don Imus. You extended Black History Month to April, and we can once again wallow in victimhood, protest like it’s 1965 and delude ourselves into believing that fixing your hatred is more necessary than eradicating our self-hatred.

The bigots win again.

Wow. Zap! That was pretty impressive. Make sure to read the rest of what he wrote, its powerful stuff.


"I'll have some more fleshed-out thoughts on the matter in the magazine this week, but for now, since many people have asked: No, I won't be going on Imus anymore. Having said that, it's not like they'll be inviting me back." - Anna Marie Cox

What amazes me about what she said, as well as those who share her thoughts, is why did they not feel this way before? Its as if Imus never said anything upsetting before this episode. Phil Mushnick of the New York Post illustrated this point the other day:

Where in hell has everybody been?

Some of us recall, years ago, listening to a Mets game when WFAN ambushed listeners with an "Imus In The Morning" promo, a clip from the show that asked whether Mother Teresa is a legitimate candidate for sainthood or "a no-good bitch."

Hilarious stuff.

Some of us also recall when Channel 4 sports anchor Len Berman resigned his gig at WFAN after a short and failing run.

Imus could've called Berman "Lenny the Bum" or "Lenny the Quitter." Instead he referred to him as "Lenny the Jew."

Might that have provided a clue as to which way his instincts - and his marvelous sense of humor - run?

So where was everyone back then?

Amen, my man. And Mushnick has been criticizing Imus for a long time now, so he has credibility.


Finally, MSNBC made this announcement yesterday:

Mr. Kaplan, MSNBC is owned by NBC, which is owned by Universal Studios. As Michelle Malkin points out yesterday, many of the Hip Hop labels which are owned by Universal Studios, which demean women, and invite a culture of racial charged comments. Ms. Malkin writes:

Let's stipulate: I have no love for Don Imus, Al Sharpton, or Jesse Jackson. I repeat: A pox on all their race-baiting houses.

Let's also stipulate: The Rutgers women's basketball team didn't deserve to be disrespected as "nappy-headed hos." No woman deserves that. I agree with the athletes that Imus's misogynist mockery was "deplorable, despicable and unconscionable." And as I noted on Fox News's O'Reilly Factor this week, I believe top public officials and journalists who have appeared on Imus's show should take responsibility for enabling Imus—and should disavow his longstanding invective.

But let's take a breath now and look around. Is the Sharpton & Jackson Circus truly committed to cleaning up cultural pollution that demeans women and perpetuates racial epithets? Have you seen the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks chart this week?

The number one rap track is by a new sensation who goes by the name of "Mims."

The "song" is "This Is Why I'm Hot." It has topped the charts for the last 15 weeks. Here's a taste of the lyrics that young men and women are cranking up in their cars:

This is why I'm hot
Catch me on the block
Every other day
Another bitch another drop
16 bars, 24 pop
44 songs, nigga gimme what you got…

Malkin goes on for some time after this citing other examples of terrible language being used on the airwaves, as well as being produced b the big wigs from Universal Studios. Many white execs stand to make millions off of lyrics like these, and take no action against the 'artists'.


We really need to take a serious time out here, and take a step back. Imus is not being dismissed from MSNBC (and possibly CBS) because of what he said, but because the advertisers are threatening to pull out of their commercial deals with Universal, which would mean a loss of millions of dollars. If Imus remaining on the air could help the network become the highest rated cable network, then Imus would certainly not be removed.

This whole mud sling towards Imus is epidemic of a larger issue. It is my belief that the majority of Americans no longer see things in "racial" tones. I think most American judge people by the content of character, not the color of skin. Those who do not capitulate to this way of thinking, will be left to suffer the their own choosing.

Next week baseball will celebrate the life of a man who helped change the face of American sports, but most importantly baseball. Jackie Robinson, in 1947, did more for the civil right cause then perhaps any other African-American in his time. He used his performance to demonstrate his ability as a human. As a result he represented the idea that it matters not what you are...but how you are as a person. On his tombstone it says "a life is not important except for the impact it has on others."

Consider what that means. Life is not about race. Life is about what we do in our lives to make things better. Life is about discovering "the good life"...not looking for excuses as to why your life is in a sorry state.

People like Sharpton and Jackson exploit people's vulnerability to generate dependency. They thrive off of other people's misfortunes. Their impact on the lives of others is usually negative, and they could care less.

Don Imus on the other hand, impacts people in a variety of ways. His humor crosses the line. There is no question about that. But does that outweigh some of the amazing charitable work he has done in his career? Does a terrible joke about a basketball team outweigh the number of African-Americans he has helped battle cancer?

I close with this one last bit from his show earlier today (from Drudge):

Speaking with an African-American woman, whose son had spent time at the Imus Ranch, Imus said, "And I want to say to you as an African-American woman, I'm sorry for what I said...I want to apologize to all African-American women." The woman said, "Okay, I accept that."

Labels: , , , ,