Imus, FCC, Cable Limits and Corporately Owned Media

Don Imus got fired. Dumb insensitive comments.

Not only was his firing the end of his show and employment, it was a tombstone for independent thinking in mainstream media. When ABC fired Bill Maher and cancelled his show Politically Incorrect, for his agreeing with a guests’ comments about terrorists it was merely a warning shot. We were being warned that when confronted with controversy big companies run away. Was there really much doubt that the owner of ABC, in this case Disney, which may well perceive itself as the most virginal brand in the world would cancel the show ?

When Imus’s comments became the media’s solution to the hole created by the resolution of Danny Lynn’s paternity it reached a fatal level of ubiquitous public awareness One look at the stakeholders in his show and it was obvious what his fate would be.

CBS, owns the Imus radio show. It is a very large public company controlled by 84 year old Sumner Redstone. Mr Redstone is also the same person that fired Tom Cruise for letting his personal views get in the way of the Mission Impossible 3 box office.

MSNBC, the cable TV network that hosted the Imus show is controlled by another huge corporation, General Electric.IMHO, anyone who thinks the decision to cut the Imus show was purely a decision by NBC Universal is kidding themself. GE is one of the largest companies in the world and to say they take pride in being squeaky clean would be putting it mildly.

If you have a live show on a TV network, Its not good to have a brain fart during a slow news week.

All of which leads me to ask a simple, yet to me, very interesting question:

Excluding Premium Subscription Networks like Showtime and HBO where subscribers know what they are paying for, ” What TV networks would stand up for Maher or Imus and let the show go on ?”

Maybe Fox News. Fox is controlled by NewsCorp, which is controlled by Rupert Murdoch. If you and Rupert were on the same side, then your show might have a shot. If you weren’t on the same side, then you probably wouldnt have a show in the first place.

Would any basic cable network ? Digital Network ? I doubt it. Why ? Because just about every one is owned by a public corporation. Can you name the cable networks that are privately owned ? What about individually owned ? Besides my HDNet, the only one I can think of is RFD TV. I guess you can include the Outdoor Channel in the indie mix although they are a public company, but glancing at the listings in USA Today’s TV listings, I didnt see a single network that wasn’t owned by a major public media company.

The same applies to radio. How many nationally distributed shows anywhere Imus’s listener numbers are privately owned ? I dont know of any.

Which leads to the next question, was Imus the last “media provocateur ? If most media is controlled by major corporations, who is going to be willing to put their job on the line and say something that might catch the fancy of tabloid news, and in turn upset the Board of Directors ? Who is going to be willing to knowingly take an unpopular position and accept the accompaning risk ?

Which leads to the FCC. The FCC doesnt regulate cable networks, but they do regulate all things broadcast and cable distribution ownership. I dont think there is any doubt that the FCC understands the cable foodchain. If the only networks getting carriage are those owned by major media companies, then diversity is diminished.

Now some may say that the internet makes all of this a moot point. That everyone is a broadcaster on the internet. Which is absolutely true. The problem is that 99.99 pct of internet broadcasters are trees falling in the forest, no one sees or hears them.

Don Imus could easily originate his show on the net. Stream it. Offer it for download. Offer it on Itunes, Youtube, Joost, Revver, the new NBC Video venture, Veoh and ever other video site. On the net he can say whatever he wants. Why not just move the show to the net ? Because the economics dont work.

Would you put up your own money to cover the production and personnel costs and take that risk ? Neither would I. Things may be different in 10 or more years, but right now Americans still consume media and advertisers support media on traditional TV and radio outlets. Competition in those mediums isnt increasing , its decreasing.

Now for one last comment. If the Imus show was on HDNet would I have fired him ? Hell no. I would have expected him to apologize, but he would have kept his job. Firing him would just get him a job on HBO.

113 thoughts on “Imus, FCC, Cable Limits and Corporately Owned Media

  1. 1] There is no free speach issue here. Imus can say what he wants, when he wants by launching

    2] Corporations have no obligation to free speach, just their shareholders. As such, their right to determine content for their networks supercedes any right to free speach.

    3] Mark, if you want a great show, team up Maher and Imus on HDNET and set them loose. I may not agree with everything they say but society needs commentators that speak openly about controversial topics on the minds of its citizens.

    4] Hope you don\’t meet our Raptors in the finals baby!

    The Greek!

    Comment by George Tsiolis -

  2. Don Imus has been ridiculing and making fun of people in the limelight for many years. His comments have always been candid, lurid and frequently off-colored … that\’s just Don Imus. If that type of humorous, castigating commentary offends you, you probably never watched his show more than once.

    My guess is that not a single member of the Rutgers basketball team did indeed watch the original broadcast of the Imus show in which the inflammatory comments were made. The fact that such an issue was made of his comments is indicative of three things:

    1. The US media still thrives on publicizing and pullulating issues and events which causes discord between the major races within our society (ie. Whites, Blacks & Hispanics).

    Whenever such events occur with a white antagonist and a black victim, then — and only then, it seems — do we once again have the privilege of bearing witness to the predictable sharing of boundless wisdom and insight from the notorious primetime hypocrites, \”The Reverend\” Jesse Jackson and \”The Reverend\” Al Sharpton. I have my theories as to why that is … you can draw your own conclusions.

    2. Somebody, somewhere — with a lot of clout, obviously — wanted Don Imus removed.

    My guess is that the reason why such an individual (or individuals) wanted him gone had nothing to do with his liberal use of descriptive nouns.

    3. There is more regard in our society today for an individual not being offended than there is for another\’s right to free speech.

    If Mr. Imus had been referring his comments to a group of white women, the world at large would be none the wiser. Conversely, were Mr. Imus a black man, the same would hold true.

    Perhaps rather than all of America questioning \’why would Imus make such comments?\’, or \’was his firing appropriate?\’, the question we should all be asking is \’why does the US media keep fanning the flames of racism every chance it gets?\’.

    The Imus episode shows how far our media is willing to go to take an insignificant comment, witnessed by a very small segment of society, and make it a MAJOR issue. Apparently they would be lost if they ever had to cover real issues.

    Comment by John McGuire -

  3. How do exactly do \”the economics dont work\” Mark, could you explain that? He could have a site up and running for less than a grand, he already has all the necessary recording equipment at the ranch and frankly if he did a hour long daily show akin to Adam Curry he could run the system himself or hire a college kid to do it on the cheap. He could easily find the advertisers over time if approached them personally and the buy in is cheap compared to what he was being paid.

    Speaking of Adam Curry, I give a 50% chance Podshow picks him up for such an hour long show on their \’network\’ in the next 3-6 months.

    Comment by Thomas -

  4. Look what Imus did was not right but it\’s not like he did some thing really really bad. I think an apology is in order for sure but that just goes to show you what we really see and here is really owned by companies. Do I think he should be fired no. but should I expect an apology yes.

    Comment by james kingsted - domain inform -

  5. Thank you Andrew Cotter for making an intelligent and unemotional statement.

    Comment by Lisa Walden -

  6. If Imus was on Fox, they might have shielded him. BUT who in his right mind would want to be on Fox to begin with? You would have to share the screen with the likes of Hannity and that insane harpy. Not to mention the morning notes that gently steer the staff toward the nearest cliff.

    Comment by Bob Calder -

  7. So if the networks shy away from controversy, can somebody PLEASE explain to me how Rosie O\’Donnell still has a job with ABC/Disney? I mean with the anti-American rhetoric and propaganda she spews out on a daily basis, how can this woman still be employed. Her comments on the Iran British hostage situation should have been enough, and more recently her comments on the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech; she rightly deserves to be fired IMMEDIATELY.

    Comment by Brad Criss -

  8. Good article Mark. I watched this Imus-gate closely and was blown away how fast these two large companies caved in. I\’m pretty sure that if Mel K. (or Joel Hollander) were still running things at CBS radio, Imus would not have been fired. Suspended possibly and apology for sure. Heck he apologized 150 times and met with the Rutgers Team even AFTER he was fired. These two leaders would have not jumped the gun and fired him because most of the advertsiers that ran, would have come back when things settled down. But a non-radio guy like Lesley Moonves caves. No surprise there. This is the same guy that kept Stern on his CBS radio for 2 years after he signed with Sirius, and then sues him for promoting Sirius during thise 2 years. There\’s a brain-trust.

    Imus also had the disadvantage of a VERY slow news week. He was the lead story, which is a little scary.

    His comments were dumb — plain and simple. But they didn\’t appear to be said with malise. Imus was trying to be mildly funny. Trying. He has 20 hours of radio/TV time every week.

    I was not a regular Imus listener or watcher. My tivo caught a segment or two from MSNBC every now and them. I hope he decides to return to radio or TV. Heck, I might have to check into HDNET should you offer him a job. Hmmm, Imus in the Morning, Rather at Night…. only on HDNET. 🙂

    Comment by Allan Fischler -

  9. Mark, Freedom of expression works both ways. Imus is a classless, tasteless, toilet-mouthed, no-talent, bigoted, sexist pinhead. He was on the airways far too long. He should have been fired years ago. He has stepped over the line of decency on a daily basis, and it finally caught up with him. The people have spoken. The market has spoken. He has been removed. It wasnt a particular CEO or a particular corporation that removed him. It was public opinion that stated clearly, \”enough of the pathetic, amoral filth being spewed by Imus and his ilk\”.

    Comment by lloyd bashaw -

  10. What\’s the chances that advertising in the future has to tolerate being second to content? A lot of companies that review products already take that stance. I hope that advertising changes in the future so it\’s not tied so much to content, as if the advertising company is promoting the content. It should be the other way around: a content owner promoting the use of products advertised.

    Comment by John -

  11. I noticed in your post you mentioned FOXNEWS, which is the mosy balanced of all networks or CNN(Liberal Media Network). Was just curious as to WHY you used FOXNEWS instead of CNN. Interesting!!

    Comment by AdamGchamp -

  12. I\’m glad you didn\’t dwell on seeing this as a free speech issie. Imus\’ ability to speak freely was never infringed, just his ability to receive a paycheck from CBS.

    Imus has a brand name which can get him noticed elsewhere on the internet. Most of us keep little known sites which haven\’t any real influence. Mark, you\’ve got that influence (for better and for worse), and are using it as best you like.

    About Imus\’s apology, should he apologize? Only if he regret what he said. What he said I disagree with, but if his position is as stated, any apology is ust kissing up. If it avoids a lawsuit, so be it, but it is not a real apology, not in a genuine personal way. If it is that kind of apology my mom made me say when I was caught teasing my brother, it is forced, and, ultimately, meaningless.


    Comment by Brockeimia - The Absurd World of Brockeim -

  13. If you believe the firing of Don Imus was about race ask yourself the following:

    1. – Why Don Imus? There are many shock jocks, rappers, etc far more offensive than Don Imus so why single out Imus?

    2. – Why Now? You can\’t say because he crossed the line, Don Imus has been crossing the line for more than 30 years and often to a greater degress than this.

    3. – Why Kill the Cash Cow? – Controversy does not turn off the type of people that listen to this type of material. Just like Hollywood, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

    4. – Corporate America developed a Social Conscience? – Only possible if you believe in the \”Enlightenment Fairy?\”

    5. – Why did the ntetwork people invite Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to wiegh in on this issue? That makes as much sence as a bank robber going home after a heist and call 911 to ask their opinion on whether it was an armed robbery because he held a gun on the teller.

    Anyone who has followed the Imus show knows that Deidre Imus has become a more frequent and outspoken guest on Don\’s show. Do you think it is a co-incidence that Don Imus\’ firing came within two weeks of Diedre\’s appearance on the Today Show promoting her new book on cleaning product that you make out of ordinary household products that are not only inexpensive but free of toxins that are dangerous to your health. Deidre\’s rebuttal to the industry\’s statement that these products have been proven safe was unequivical, just not true she said. I had two thoughts at the time: 1. This woman has cast-iron gonads! – 2. There is going to be fallout! Take a look at a list of the sponcors and tell me this is all coincidence.
    The cleaning industry\’s statements that the ingredients in their products are safe is the 21st century equivalency to the tobacco industry touting there is no scientific evidence that smoking is injurous to your health.
    I am not alone in this stance, needless to say, however, it\’s pretty difficult to get any time on the airwaves. Instead of \”…now a word from our sponcors.\” it\’s \”..NOT A WORD\” say the sponcors.

    Comment by Linda Robitaille -

  14. Well, here\’s Dr BLT\’s answer to the whole Imus ordeal. You heard it first here:

    Imus Forgive
    Dr BLT
    words and music by Dr BLT (c) 2007

    Comment by Dr BLT -

  15. If someone makes a dumb comment (or a mean, insensitive, or bigoted one), the public, and the companies that employ that person have every right to stop listening or fire that person.

    Comment by basketball tip -

  16. Here is an email I sent to Brian Lamb at C-SPAN

    Heard Brian Lamb asked a caller who are the thought police. Well here is part of the answer : (hprerlink)

    Ms. Faye Williams (of The National Congress of Black Women) statement that we will be monitoring EVERYONE now, probably doesnt sound too scary to someone like Mr. Lamb. After all he is a pretty fair guy, who apparently is trying not to appear prejudicial on any issue. But one could monitor all of his broadcast hours or any of the on air personalities at C-span, and perhaps take snippets of things they repeat, perhaps while reading what someone else has said and GOTTCHA! Doesnt matter about the context, doesnt matter about his intention, and doesnt even matter about his character. GOTTCHA!
    Now Im sure it would not be one of Ms. Williams monitors, it might be a monitor of Pat Robertsons or Jerry Falwells. Or even one of Al Twanny Sharptons or Jesse Himmi Town Jacksons, after all Mr. Sharpton helped get those rapist at Duke University convicted Uhh, well little slip up there. But no harm no fowl, the Prosecutors have apologized to those guys and Im sure that has made those guys whole and fully restored. After all they were at the scene where a stripper appeared, should have been convicted anyway, regardless of the truth, or uhh lies, or uhh you know man.

    And that evil Imus, we really got him didnt we. Evil incarnate repeating the Ho word, of course the word did originate with him and just look at his record over the years as some have said. Yeh, lets look at his record.
    Charge Number 1: Hes being playing that evil I have a Dream speech every Martin Luther King Day for 18 years.
    Charge Number 2: He supported a black man for the Senate IN TENNESSEE, for that alone Mr. Imus should be lynched.
    Charge Number 3: He kept going on and on about the lack of response by the Federal Government in the Katrina affair, as racist because most of the victims were African-American.
    Charge Number 4: He actually criticized legislators for not spending more money on research into blood diseases that affect only African-Americans.
    Charge Number 5: He attacked federal legislators about the death benefit for soldiers killed in the Iraq war, actually shamed them into raising it from $6,000 to $500,000. of course he didnt get that done by himself, he was just the only one with the nerve to bring it up.
    Charge Number 6: He raised $10 million dollars for a rehab center for soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. He even had the audacity of kicking off that little fund raiser with $250,000 of his own money. Shameful, Shameful.
    Charge Number 7: He kept running those darn fundraisers every year for Kids with cancer and victims of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Raised $40 million over the years. Disgraceful.
    Charge Number 8: He set up a ranch for kids with cancer, but that one did not go unpunished completely. After all why should these kid have their self esteem restored.

    Well I could go on, but do not despair EVERYONE is being monitored now. A stop will be put to these offences.
    But watch your mouth, your statements, your writings you too are being monitored.

    Ahh — Joe McCarthy, if you could only see us now, you would be so pleased.

    This monitored email courtesy of:
    KQ Chedester
    407 Wyndham Hall Way
    Knoxville, TN 37934

    Comment by KQ Chedester III -

  17. There is one small bright in this… independant thought on terestrial radio has been slowly dying for a while now. This will make it easier to put it out of its misery.

    Comment by Ayal Rosenthal -

  18. If he was on HDnet I have a question for you. Why would you have hired him in the first place? Before all of this blew up, he is an old tiresome hateful person that has no humor left in his bones. Not sure he had any to begin with. I grew up in NYC area and his act was terrible in the 80\’s. Got worse with time. Good riddance.

    Comment by Andy Coon -

  19. I found the whole Imus thing to show the total hypocrisy of the media and of people in general. Each and every day following Imus\’s comments, every major network had some schmo on discussing the ramifications of what happened. If it wasn\’t Jesse \”Hymie\” Jackson, it was a parade of black \”spokespeople\” getting their face time on camera. It seems that whenever someone makes a racial comment, these people attack like vultures, trying to get on camera and tout their cause. I get the feeling that they care less about black america and more about pushing their name in order to elevate their status.

    If you contrast the Imus comments with the comments of Michael Ray Richardson, Imus barely said anything. Richardson\’s comments were far more egregious and he continued to go on and on about more than just jews. Yet, in the aftermath, did you see day after day of coverage on the national talk shows? Did you hear non-stop commentary anywhere except maybe on a few sports shows? For those that believe in the Jewish conspiracy [as Michael Ray does], the Imus versus Richardson reaction should dispel any notion that Jews run the media, as if that were the case, then we would have seen the same reaction by the media to Richardson\’s comments. That, and the fact that most Jewish leaders do actually care about their people and aren\’t simply trying to maintain their name in the spotlight.

    Comment by Jason [Phoenix] -

  20. I honestly think the limited attention spans of much of the under 40 crowd — a byproduct of today\’s internet age — have also played a role in this. No one bothers to look back at the many good things Imus has done over the years. All they see is old man, racist comment directed at college basketball team, — there\’s two strikes right there — and it mushrooms from there.

    Forget about Jackson\’s (hymie town), Sharpton\’s (Twana Brawley, Central Park jogger etc) histories — limited attention spans don\’t allow it — so no one bothers to question the main accusers/flame fanners….and it just spirals out of control.

    I think about the Virginia Tech situation and this is something that Imus would have been all over — remember his 9-11 coverage? That\’s missing today thanks to the last week\’s events. But hey we\’re better off because our ears won\’t get filled with racist comments….

    In the end though, MSNBC and CBS will be the losers, because Imus will be back in September, and his show will crush whatever programming they put up opposite it.

    Comment by scotbo -

  21. I laugh at all of the people who say \”I don\’t know Imus, but he\’s probably not a good guy.\” Really? Because he is near the edge most of the time? Because he made an error in today\’s horrid politically correct society? No, actually people say that because they simply don\’t know – they don\’t know what he was thinking at the point the remark was made, they don\’t know what is in his heart, and I suspect they don\’t know (or fail to pay attention to) of his millions of dollars raised for charity. To those who call him a hack or say that he is irrelevant, I wonder if they have watched or heard the various power houses from the political, entertainment, and news establishments who have come on the show week after week, drawing both viewers and listeners. If you look at the polls being taken all over the country, even at their most unscientific they address the general national thought – Imus made an error, but he shouldn\’t have been fired. At 66, he is not going to be broadcasting for too much longer, but the entity that gives him another shot will be seen as less of a pariah and more of a cutting edge media operation that truly grasps the reality of the Imus situation. I agree with the one writer who points to an XM/HDnet combination as the next logical step for the Imus return to the airwaves. What an opportunity to do the right thing and get this guy back on the air as soon as possible.

    Comment by James -

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    Comment by MAX Dwason -

  23. Imus\’ comments were quite disparging to those Rutgers players and without any basis in fact. For that, NBC and ABC had every right to fire him. The first amendment is about government censoring free speech – not private entities. Although everyone has a right to their opinion, everyone\’s comments and opinions are not required to be prominently broadcast across the nation. Imus\’ comments were verbal garbage and he hurt people in a careless manner. Imus was fired for being a jerk – not for asserting a point of view. There\’s a difference.


    Scott Lewis

    Comment by Scott Lewis -

  24. \”left wing mass censorship\” really? GE left wing…

    Imus referred to dick cheney as \”that fat bastard war criminal\”
    tell me where those comments are heard elsewhere. no not blogs i\’m talking GE level corporations. left wing?

    Comment by pat -

  25. Mark,

    Why don\’t you hire IMUS and put together a show similar to Politically Incorrect with IMUS, Dan Rather, Rodman, and maybe someone like Arsenio Hall. Invite additional guests and just sit around and talk about our society and what\’s right and wrong with things. It could be unique HDNET programming.

    Comment by David -

  26. The media, Al Sharpton\’s antics, and the overdramatic reaction from Rutgers University did more to spread racism than extinguish it. I was at the grocery store today and passed by a group of female black employees on break. Two weeks ago, I would have walked by and thought nothing of it. Guess what phrase popped in my head?

    Comment by Curt Weaver -

  27. mark you are exactly on –

    – What ever happend to free speech?

    – If you dont agree with that; how about letting the market settle this; I mean if there was little demand for it would he still be on the radio?


    Comment by pallet jack -

  28. I have not seen any comments about the sports aspect of this debacle. It was ESPN more than anyone who stoked the fires of this controversy because Imus was talking about a \”sports team\”. DO you think if he called a buch of African American lawyers the same thing it would have made a blip on the radar?? Imus has been saying things like this for years. I stoppped watching him years ago when he stopped being funny. But get real folks, this issue was driven by the media and not by the advertisers, so called African American spokespeople or anyone else. In this day of being politically correct (isn\’t that a great oxymoron) the only solution is to fire someone. Sort of reminds you of the christians and the Lions doesn\’t it.

    Comment by Mike genette -

  29. Well, they drummed out Howard Cosell when he made the remark \”that little monkey gets loose, doesn\’t he\” when he referred to a play by Washington Redskins (a racial slur?) wide receiver Alvin Garrettof back in the early 80\’s if memory serves. While some saw \”little monkey\” as a racial slur, there are many who knew Cosell and were quick to point out that he routinely used this term in an approving way to describe quicker, smaller players of all ethnicities. Among the evidence to support this claim is video footage of a preseason game, between the New York Giants and the Kansas City Chiefs (again, another racial slur?) that featured Cosell as he referred to player Mike Adamle, a 5-foot-9-inch, 197-pound Caucasian, as a \”little monkey.\” Anyone who knew Cosell also knew that he was found of calling his grandson a \”little monkey\” as well. They crucified Howard who was a Civil Rights champion (i.e. Cassius Clay) and they\’ll probably do the same to poor old Imus.

    Now, I\’m not defending Imus\’ statement, he dug himself into a big, muddy hole and is being ganked like Cosell was. However, does the ends justify the means? I know that some will bash me and say I\’m a racist, but I\’m entitled to think for myself and if that\’s considered racist, then you\’re entitled to your opinion as well. However, that\’s what this country is supposed to be about, freedom to speak and think for oneself. I don\’t like what Imus said, and I personally think he\’s a jackass. But, people, whether they\’re famous or not, make asses of themselves all the time. Imus just happened to do it on MSNBC. It\’s a sad situation all the way around and hopefully this will engage people on both fronts, the loss of civil rights (free speech) and the ongoing racism problems that still continue to plague us in America today.

    Comment by Matt Seufert -

  30. Generally love your work, have to strongly diagree with you on this one. Best explanation is here:

    Also: what\’s with the whole vindication narrative around the Duke lacrosse players? It seems that they did not commit a crime. That doesn\’t make them heroes.

    Comment by Sam Penrose -

  31. J.M.C.

    I\’m a woman and I\’m not offended by Imus\’ remarks. If you think high school humor can ruin my day, you\’re sadly mistaken. If you think a slur about my womanhood is going to scar me for life, then you dont understand that I\’m made of tough stuff and I can hit back where it hurts, if need be. And hard. So can my latino and black friends. This stuff is old-hat and we laugh at it. BFD.

    Perhaps you haven\’t listened to Imus\’ show for years as I have because it gave me a life-line back to Manhattan. There was LOTS of thoughtful commentary on his show. He was the only media person anywhere who called Dick Cheney (whom he formerly supported) a war criminal for what he\’s doing to this country. He\’s the only media person I know of — God knows the MSM people he interviewed on his show don\’t have the balls — to rout out the unforgivable lies we\’ve been told that got us into this unforgivable war. Howard Stern doesn\’t do this; his schtick is getting laid by his on-air guests. Imus took on the poobahs. He was the one that led the charge against Walter Reed. Dana Priest\’s articles about Building 18 came after Imus putting attention on the issue. You can\’t lump him into an ordinary shock jock category. The most telling thing to me was a NYC friend who is a bigtime Clinton supporter telling me that the Clinton folk used their \”funding rolodex\” to get to Imus\’ advertisers when they smelled blood. [That\’s because Imus constantly referred to her as Satan.] My friend said \”Blacks dont have the machine to pull this off. We do.\” They were deadly afraid of what would happen if Imus came back on the air and really supported Obama. Up until then he would only say that he was \’loyal\’ to his old friend McCain, who is tanking fast, but Imus wouldn\’t allow anyone to say a bad word about Obama, whom he referred to as \”impressive.\” So there is more to this story than meets the eye.
    Watch this:

    Comment by Janie -

  32. I really don\’t think it\’s too much to ask to make racist joking the third rail for white men in public. Sorry you feel boxed in, but keep it to yourself.

    Comment by Brett -

  33. Look it\’s about time someone stood up against the media shock jocks for airing out whatever the hell came into thier heads, without filtering it through anything resembling sense. What was the whole purpose in Imus describing those athletes in that manner. Why did he do it? Just to be funny, well there was a lot of people that wasn\’t amused by that kind of 2nd grade humor. You mean that Don Imus a veteran radio personality, a man of financial means, who interviews political candidates, couldn\’t find a way to describe those female athletes in any other humorus manner than what he did.

    I agree that he should be fired, and all other radio and T.V. personalities who can\’t find a better way to make people laugh than going for the lowest denominator to humiliate someone, especially when it involves stereotypes, racist comments, or sexist comments use your brains. I am just upset that all women don\’t take a stand against the media for the way they are portrayed. White women need to stand up, Black women need to stand up, Latino women need to stand up, all women need to stand up and stop waiting for some Man to defend your position, which is what happened here. Two Black men came to the forefront to fight for black women, I appreciate the gesture of those two men, but where was the powerful black women, where were the powerful women period. Oh Imus was only talking about the black women, when he called them ho\’s, well he\’s obviously talked about women before if he was comfortable in using that description of the Rutger\’s female basketball team.

    Decency and Intelligence should not be overshadowed by Indecency and Lazyness all in the name of free-speech.

    All shock radio personalities should be censored for thier comments thier is a difference between real thoughtfull commentary and thoughtless commentary. Draw the Line.

    Comment by J.M.C. -

  34. Still waiting for your rant about NBA officials in the Tim Duncan matter.

    Comment by Craig -

  35. \”The same applies to radio. How many nationally distributed shows anywhere Imus\’s listener numbers are privately owned ? I dont know of any.\”

    Great post Mark. I did want to give you an answer to your above statement. You need to only go over to a station that I know you have a lot of history with. KLIF. On live everyday from 1p-4p is The Dave Ramsey Show. 100% Independently Owned and Operated. We do our own affiliate relations, syndication and national sales. We do it all in house. 318 stations and 3 million weekly listeners. I don\’t know Imus\’ numbers (WFAN alone is HUGE) but I would have to bet were in the \”anywhere near\” range.

    Bill Hampton, Executive VP
    The Dave Ramsey Show

    Comment by Bill Hampton -

  36. i seeded this post ( newsvine, and it\’s generating a relatively interesting discussion, in case anyone\’s interested.

    i really appreciate your comments on the mass media and corporate interests, in this situation. i used to be a member of an independent media interest group, which i cancelled due to their celebration of imus\’s firing. the group\’s expressed interest, a valid one, is that they want more minority management in broadcasting, to create a more diverse media.

    i really dont think that firing imus will assist in that larger goal, and i think that this situation is being handled way out of context.

    thanks, mark, for your always interesting views. this is the first time i\’ve commented on your blog, but i read it all the time.

    Comment by sean -

  37. Another example of the hypocrisy of all this:

    Let\’s see, pre-mediated and rehearsed comments published to resonate with the intended audience vs. an off the cuff remark….by someone who has to ad lib on live radio for 4 hours every morning. No double standard here at all…..What a joke.

    I especially love the student\’s comments — it\’s just entertainment……

    Comment by scotbo -

  38. Hey Marc,

    The guy got fired already. He is sixty seven and could use the free time to buy some new fancy cowboys gadgets.
    Why not help us now get another looser cut out ?

    Speaking of Wolfie. The guy has no clue what he is getting us into…

    Comment by marmaduke J. -

  39. Those who knock the over 40 crowd might be surprised to know that dumping on anyone and everyone — often with little taste — has been Imus\’ schtick for about 30 years. That he\’s supposedly crossed a line to the point of no return, to me simply illustrates how times have changed.

    This schtick never stopped the pols, media types etc whose careers where advanced or in many cases made by Imus from appearing on his show. One can even argue that Imus was instrumental in changing history because he was one of the first influential media types to embrace Bill Clinton when he was running for President — remember Bubba?

    Imus hasn\’t changed, but this country has changed — to a point where if anyone who\’s white and middle aged dares refer to race in anything but a positive way, he gets ostracized as a racist.

    All the negatives associated with the hip hop/rap culture are \’ok\’ in the minds of many, yet if a guy like Imus makes one racial comment that crosses a line, despite the fact that he apologizes profusely and tries to make amends – that\’s not ok.

    I\’m not sure if he\’s done this recently but for years and years Imus did a bit where they poked fun at Ted Kennedy for the Chappaquiddick incident by having a Kennedy imitator speak like he\’s under water after you hear a sound effect of a car skidding and crashing — for those under 30, Kennedy ran a car off a bridge into the water and his date died — THAT was ok and the country never demanded that Imus be fired immediately.

    Why…..because the person Imus dumped on in a pretty tasteless way wasn\’t black.

    Comment by scotbo -

  40. @ Bob Arnold: how exactly can this be lumped as \”left wing censorship\”?

    Comment by Josh Smith -

  41. It\’s funny that he gets fired for saying that comment while shock jocks like Howard Stern say worse things every day and get no punishment. Maybe Imus will go to Sirius, if they have any money left.

    Comment by akedk -

  42. OK, I don\’t like to divulge much about myself on forums but I must chime in on this as a black woman. Did Imus make a stupid insensitive remark YES, should he be fired NO. I do not believe in censorship, period, and to me firing him is censorship. This just paves the way for my speech/thoughts to be limited, as well as yours. That is not a good thing. I believe that everyone, Al Sharpton, Ann Coulter etc. should be free to say what they want to say. Does not mean that I agree but we can not ban free speech. As outraged as everyone is about his comments, we should be just as outraged at this censorship.

    Comment by imdbcn -

  43. I agree that a host is sometimes hired for how far outside the box thinking that they can produce and how cutting edge they can be. And the magic is in how they they can express said ideas. In the Imus case, the host made an off-hand comment while riffing with other members of the show and this is where the vitriol lies. It is the comments made in these off-hand moments that speak to the heart of a person, because in those times the vileness that you may harbor and can usually control betray you. The usage of \’nappy-headed ho\’ is really not a slur or even as offensive as most others and if used in general or as part of a fictitious bit would not have drawn much ire. But, it was directed at particular individuals and that will always be seen as hatred and would have betrayed any apology that Imus could have offered.

    Comment by Scott Patterson -

  44. I hope that the Black Leaders in the U.S. will have the courage to let this Don Imus episode be the catalyst for a good hard look at ALL of the damaging things going on these days to the young black population in America and encourage black parents to:

    First: Take a hard look at Black Rap artists pushing the drug and violence scene in their music (if you call it that – not exactly MoTown is it?). Put a stop to it….prevent your black children from buying that crap.
    Second: Confront and Challenge Black fathers to be role models and to stick around the family and be a parent! The incidence of black men abandoning the family is off the charts here in the U.S.
    Third: Single out anyone black or otherwise who demeans or belittles women on TV, Movies, Music or Radio. Make a big enough deal out of it that the price is greater than the ego trip the sick SOB\’s seem to be on.

    Now when you have done all of these things, Black Leaders of America, come back here and I\’ll gladly speak to you about what you can start on next – The Three C\’s……..Classrooms, Civility and Civics.

    Comment by Randy Scott -

  45. Personally I really don\’t care about Don Imus. But I look at his remarks as an insult to women as well as all African Americans. If it where my daughter on the team I would be infuriated as would most of you. That statement has to follow them for the rest of their lives – long after Imus is dead. What did they do to deserve it – be successful and be black. There is no excuse for what he said. What\’s really amazing or just plain typical of our country – is that we are discussing this like he\’s been wronged. I\’m 100% sure that if he was a black man and made a derrogatory comment about white women or Jews, etc – this would not have been a discussion. We all know he would have been canned in a heart beat. So why should we treat him any different?

    This in no way compares to Bill Mahar. Comparing political free speech to racisim – what is that about?

    Comment by danette -

  46. Does someone know who Tim Russert\’s advertisers are? I need to know whom to boycott.

    Comment by Janie -

  47. I guess YouTube may be the last safe haven .. or at least MySpace .. Imus on MySpace .. oh wait, no, not even there as it\’s Murdoch\’s and NewsCorp\’s sphere of influence .. mayby he can broadcast from under the sea or on mars?

    Comment by Contractor -

  48. Let me say at the outset I am a middle-aged white guy. That said, it completely amazes me how black commentators continually say \”it\’s different when a black says something racially derogative as opposed to a white guy.\” Really? Come on, what Imus said what reprehensible. If it came out of black person\’s mouth, no less reprehensible.

    And it does strikes me that the Al Sharpton\’s and Jesse Jackson\’s of the world make their living on keeping hot racial divides alive. At no point did the Rutger\’s basketball team ask for Imus\’ resignation. Not once. The way the team has handled this national episode has been admirable. The way the Al Sharpton\’s and Jesse Jackson\’s have handled it has been despicable.

    Comment by Randy Hoffman -

  49. WATCH THESE. It doesn\’t seem to be the Black community that went after Imus — read my posts above:
    Jason Whitlock, reporter Kansas City Star, About Imus

    Jason Whitlock – Imus firing was overreaction

    So now Al Sharpton is back-pedalling on CNN when Jason Whitlock comes up against him and accuses him of lighting fires across the country
    Jason Whitlock and Al Sharpton – \”Imus is insignificant\”

    Michael Meyers About Imus
    Michael Meyers is the Director of the New York Civil Rights Coalition

    Comment by Janie -

  50. I\’m a 26 year old black man and i listen to Imus alot. To me he\’s just a funny old man. And i think it\’s sad that such a big deal was made about this. And who the hell told Al Sharpton that he speaks for me!? he\’s just a hustler using whatever he can to better his own situation. You know what bothers me the most? The fact that i live in The Bahamas and i wont be able to get Imus\’ show anymore. That show was the reason i was informed about topics in the U S and around the world and it was also funny. MSNBC just lost me as a fan…………..oh wait, the still have Countdown. But seriously, we as black people need to grow up and stop taking things so seriously.

    P.S Them Duke boys got screwed over……….Al Sharpton strikes again!!

    Comment by Freddie -

  51. Do NOT be fooled by signing up for the $1.87 kit from the auction monster! Visit my site if you have already been charged by this company. I walk you through getting a refund. Don\’t let them get away with it!!!!!

    Comment by Stan Smith -

  52. AHEM . . .

    I just noticed this piece on Media Matters, headline and opening paragraph included below:

    \”\’s Akers suggested Clinton is using Imus controversy to \”cultivate email addresses\”

    On the April 13 edition of MSNBC\’s The Most, anchor Alison Stewart called attention to an image (which has since been removed) posted on the front page of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton\’s (D-NY) presidential campaign website — accompanied by the caption \”Respect for Rutgers.\” The photo, of several members of the Rutgers University women\’s basketball team, linked to a form where visitors can \”[s]end a Message of Respect to the Scarlet Knights\” in the wake of controversial comments by Don Imus. Stewart \”admit[ted]\” that the \”website kind of caught me off-guard,\” and she went on to ask her guest, national political reporter and blogger Mary Ann Akers, \”I\’m wondering: Is there a danger here of co-opting this issue … for political purposes?\” Akers replied: \”[I]t does a look a bit opportunistic to put a huge picture up and ask people to email in their letters,\” adding, \”Of course, that does give the Clinton campaign the opportunity to cultivate email addresses for the purposes of fundraising,\” unless the user \”check[s] this box.\” In fact, as Akers herself had noted a day earlier on her weblog, The Sleuth, the checkbox on the \”Respect for Rutgers\” page is to opt-in to receiving campaign updates, not to opt-out as Akers asserted on The Most.\”

    Either way, the \”funding rolodex\” was in full operation contacting the advertisers. This story WILL come out. And the shame of it was that none of these broadcasters thought when it first broke to interview the number of serious Black commentators around the country that should be listened to. The only thing the white world gets is Sharpton and Jackson with their brand of 60s rhetoric which does nothing to advance what\’s going on in 2007 – 40 years later. It\’s out-of-date and irrelevant. If Sharpton and Jackson want to keep young kids from being scarred for life, they can get their behinds down to Duke and apologize for what they did to the lacrosse students a year ago.

    Comment by Janie -

  53. I apologize for the hideous typos in the post above. I thought I had corrected them. Typed too fast and too poorly.

    Comment by Janie -

  54. \”Free market fired Imus,\” my ass. The Clinton \”funding rolodex\” hit the advertiser phones and brought him down, lickety-split. As a Clinton campaign supporter told me from NYC this week, \”Blacks dont have the machine to pull this off. We do.\” Imus dissed Clinton every single day on his show. Called her Satan. Vowed that even if she got the Dem nomination, he would never let her on the show. Their fear, apparently, was what would happen if he came back from this PARTICULAR event and supported Obama (whom Imus wouldn\’t allow anyone to go after even with his purported \’loyalty\’ to McCain). Clinton would be gone. So guess where she\’s gonna be Monday night: Rutgers, talking about this. It was originally reported to be tonight, Saturday, but the new story is that she\’s accepting a long-standing invitation to talk at Rutgers. Riiight.

    If you think this wasn\’t engineered by a bunch who saw an opportunity, you\’ve got another thing coming. You know how much money Clinton got from her NYC supporters? It formed the majority of her $25 mill heist. So put two-and-two together.

    No one asked Michael Meyers, head of the New York Civil Rights Coalition, what he thought before Clinton supporter Sharpton dumped his the quarters in his media horseya dn buckerooed around town. Meyers called MSNBC/NBC and CBS guilty of \”intellectual cowardice\” for not standing up for free speech; and he said what the advertisers did was \”economic cowardice.\” Now, stop and think who was so powerful that they could get the advertisers to act that way. Who called in night and day to effect this? Craig Crawford is right: canceling the Imus Show is going to leave a gigantic hole in DC . . AND MSNBC. MSNBC going to go back to being a local cable joke until Hardball and Olbermann come on in the afternoon. The night is filled with tiring prison documentaries. It lost my viewership, I can tell you. What\’s to watch?

    Comment by Janie -

  55. Was this a message to 9/11 truth media mouthpieces in response to Rosie? Because most talking heads on teevee are nappy headed hos…

    Comment by Artemis Crime -

  56. People have a right tp say what they want, but they also will then have to take on the repercussions of what they say. If someone wants to make ill informed, stupid, or just non mainstream comments, go ahead. But if the public doesn\’t like it, or it is overly insensitive or misguided, there may be fallout. News and tv oulets are not public service institutions. If they think something is bad for business, they get rid of it. Period. Makes sense to me.

    Comment by maui -

  57. Bill Maher was on HBO when he made those comments on his show, Politically Incorrect, so your point is not taken.

    Comment by Jordan Grimes -

  58. Mark

    I don\’t think the \”Imus Experience\” had anything to do with independent thinking, as you put it. It was about racism. If I were a ref, I\’d call a flagrant 2 foul on ya.

    And the Anna Nicole Smith reference showed, sadly, that you are as out of touch as Imus is.


    Comment by MRM -

  59. Although I don\’t condone his language or bigotry, aren\’t there any other news stories out there, such as Darfur, or the bombing of the Iraqi parliament? If you gathered up what every shock jock said I\’m sure they would all be fired for much worse than his comments.

    I guess people find it easier to relate to one person\’s screwups than 2 million starving refugees.

    In the end the sponsors rule big media, as the CEO of the Cartoon Network knows. Hope he got free tickets to the ATHF movie… it\’s gonna be a blowout.

    I haven\’t heard of Imus before this, but if he\’s an interesting speaker and sincerely apologizes for offending any loyal listeners he\’ll probably get a better gig after all this PR.

    Comment by wavesmash -

  60. I nominated you for best business blog.

    Comment by Ted Murphy -

  61. Don Imus was is on record as saying, \”My goal is to goad people into saying something that ruins their life.\”

    Congrats, Don! I\’m pretty certain you\’re not the first guy to play with a gun who\’s managed to shoot himself in the foot, face, groin or fill in the blank.

    But, we know you didn\’t do it alone. Part of it is lazy media. They wait for a storm to come, fill up the arid lake bed and then they all bolt to the water to graze, hunt and frolic.

    As a gay dude, I get while folks are sensitive to being reduced to a stereotype and referred to freely by said stereotype. I don\’t care much for me and my brethren being reduced to fags, faggots, pillow biters or even older, less demeaning euphemisms like \”musical,\” or \”light in the the loafers.\” The fact that Ann Coulter can all John Edwards a fag and wait for the applause in a room full of politcally powerful and savvy conservatives really gives a fella pause.

    And words like \”nigger\” were invented and used by white folks to rob blacks of their identity. Everytime it was used re-emphasized this notion. And when coupled with white leisure time sporting activities like lynching, well it became pure terrorism. Strange Fruit.

    So, I get why what Don I said is radioactive and touched a nerve.

    But, seems to me, that wasn\’t what he was doing. He\’s essentially an insult comic with a flair for the political. And he was engaging in tried and true pop culture lingo used by any number of folks both black, white and in-between for the purpose of comedy and irony. I mean, am I crazy or does the culture allow this stuff from any number of folks, including Chris Rock, Borat or what seems to be the entire BET Network?

    Is the word \”nigger\” now the exclusive property of blacks to use within the confines of their community, but for everyone else an electrified fence? Does \”Ho\” translate directly to Whore? Or does it conform to Snoop Dog\’s definition, \”girls in the neighborhood after a nigger\’s shit?\”

    I\’m guessing it\’s the latter. Imus\’ big mistake was thinking that a grizzled white guy in his sixties who blow dries his hair and makes a great deal of money out of goading folks into saying things that could ruin their life could use the same language as a much younger generation of black entertainers and get away with it.

    Is there anyone with a more acute sense of the comic and nerve rattling potential of the nexus between black and white than Chris Rock? I\’m waiting for him to wade into the pool.

    Comment by glen campbell -

  62. When I saw Imus get hammered for this (he\’s said FAR worse in the past), I immediately thought it was:

    1) Another attempt to quash free speech (and kill blogs)…
    2) Imus was going to come out of the closet and announce 9/11 was an inside job.

    My initials thoughts were confirmed 2 minutes ago — a caller on truth radio ( just reported that a Russian paper claims Imus was about to do a \”Rosie\” and say 9/11 was an inside job — very interesting.

    What do you think about that?

    Comment by Markus Allen -

  63. Step back for a moment from all this emotion. Take a deep breath calm down and with an open mind ask yourself this very important question. Is this an attempt at censorship……………….by the adversaries of Mr.Imus? Does anyone remember pre-war Germany (1936, 1937, 1938, 1939)?

    Comment by W. T. Brooks -

  64. Imus was fired because his rating had been slipping lately… He was attempting to cause a little controversey thereby inflating ratings.. even just a little.. *think Janet Jackson*

    When the bosses saw the negative press, coupled with falling ratings, they decided to bail.

    For those of you who think he was being censored.. I doubt it.. A company should be able to hire and fire whoever they want for whatever reason they want!!

    Comment by Mike Carroll -

  65. hey mark
    would you have fired I- man if he said YOUR best friends daughter was a hooknosed jew cu*t? i guess not.

    Comment by muddy boots -

  66. Dumb, insensitive comments?

    How about some smart, insensitive comments – you\’re an asshole.

    Comment by Peter -

  67. So if you owned Don Imus\’ show it would be ok for him to make that comment as long as he apologized? I find that disheartening coming from someone who has a African-American coach and players.

    Comment by David -

  68. I agree with your comment Mark: \”Now for one last comment. If the Imus show was on HDNet would I have fired him ? Hell no. I would have expected him to apologize…\”

    I don\’t think the the Rev Al has traveled to Duke to apologize to the three Duke guys. Has he? He has a reputation of rushing to judgment alleging racism just as in the Tawana Brawley case. Another alleged rape of a Black girl by a white \”thug\”. Now both of these cases have turned out to be based on lies and the Rev. has sided with the liar both times, presumably because they were both black.

    The pendulum seems to have swung too far. Leveler heads need to see racism both black and white for what it is and deal with facts, not wishes, or prejudices, or predetermined conclusions.

    Comment by Dan Way -

  69. He wasn\’t fired over the comments or he would have been out on the first day. He was fired because the show isn\’t going to be profitable without the advertising dollars.

    There are very few people who could have escaped being fired – Stern being one of them(standard stern) and Rush Limbaugh being another (to strong of a following, wouldn\’t be touched + he used to make vacuum sounds when \”aborting\” callers and never got canned for that).

    Look, the guy is old, he was probably trying to fit in and be cool but he totally f**ked it up.

    Comment by Rich Smith -

  70. Good comments Mark. The real truth is, unless you are paying the bills, you can\’t just say what you want with perfect impunity… heck, you own the Mavs and yet this nebulous mechanism call the NBA has fined you more than once for speaking out. In other sports owners have been forced to sell (remember Marge Schott?)…

    Bill Maher called the terrorists who flew the planes into the WTC heroes… bad move at a sensitive time in our nation… and he was fired not because of the notion of free speech, but because he went too far and advertisers pulled away… without advertising revenue there is no show.

    Same goes for Imus…

    Now the two things that really bother me:

    -Cable news filled a slow week by making a massive mountain out of a mole hill. It has been worsening over the years, and when I saw the 35th night of Natalee Holloway I completely stopped watching news altogether. All they do is tell people how miserable they are, and when there is nothing miserable to report, they pick a story and stretch it.

    -Governor John Corzine is in the hospital with all of his ribs broken and a on a ventilator. This is the surest sign of how out of control this is… why the hell was he even involved in this? Have you been to NJ lately? They have real problems that he should be working on, and not only did he invite this distraction, he has set himself and his state back drastically by his actions. In a way, he got what he deserved. It was a political grandstanding at its worst, and he has paid a price for it.

    Comment by HJ Mann -

  71. Mark, you say you wouldn\’t fire Imus from HDNet for his remark. Fair enough. Let\’s play with a different scenario:

    What if you threw a party for your players, hired Imus as an entertainer, and Imus had said that about your players\’ wifes? Would you gracefully accept his apology, invite him back the next year, and accuse any player who disagrees of \”censorship\” ?

    Comment by Matt -

  72. You have got to be kidding me. You act as if this is the first time that Imus has done something like this. If Dirk continually broke the rules of the coach and continually called fans of other teams names would you simply require him to apologize time after time? I doubt it.

    Look this is not about being politically correct; this is about common decency and respect. My friends and I are always calling each other names. As a member of sports teams over the years I trashed talked as much as anyone but there was implied acceptance due to an implied friendship and kinship.

    Imus has no right to assume that he has an implied friendship and kinship with the Rutgers woman\’s basketball team or ANY OR THE OTHER people that he has insulted over the years. This is not the first time he\’s done this.

    Who on this thread would accept name calling from a complete stranger on the street? If you say it\’s okay then I\’m sure you are either lying or clueless. Consider what you would do if you were walking down the street and someone starting calling you a short stupid looking small penis white man. Would you just laugh? Maybe some people would but most wouldn\’t. Suppose that you were walking down the sreet with your wife that someone came up to you a celebrity and said that your wife is ugly with big feet. Would you laugh? If you say \”yes\” then you\’re lying.

    Imus insulted the players of Rutgers and has no right to do that.

    There is no familiarity of friendship and no one invited him into their circle and no one gave him the right to act as if he had the right. He took it and this is not the first time. He thinks that his celebrity confers some sort of right that we don\’t give to others. It does not; human decency and respect are expected of one and all and the right of the familiarity of friendship can only be earned. It can not be taken because then it is wrong. Imus was wrong – again and again and again. Don\’t enable that in him if you wouldn\’t enable that of a stranger on the street.

    Comment by ron -

  73. Don Imus was not as much a provacateur as he was just a racist. This is not about political correctness, censorship, free speech, what have you. Here is a rich, old white man, who had such thoughts in his head and the impulse so strong he couldn\’t stop the words from leaving his lips. How do you get to live a such a life as this man and find it necessary to attack a group of young women? For what reason? Nappy headed hoes? Where does that come from?

    And now the players that Mr. Imus attacked are receiving hate mail from his supporters. He dragged these women into his sick radio program and now they are receiving hate mail. Sometimes an apology is necessary, but just isn\’t enough. I\’m very happy he was fired. How else do you address grievances in a country that\’s run by dollars? You hit them where it counts.

    I would like to think that this incident will become a turning point as far as what we are as a nation and where we\’re heading.

    Comment by Allengallery -

  74. Comparing Bill Maher\’s comments to Imus is comparing controversial apples to imbecilic oranges.

    Saying something that\’s controversial, challenging to conventional wisdom etc… that\’s taking a risk, that\’s expanding the dialog, that\’s making alternate viewpoints available.

    Calling specific women \”nappy headed hos\” isn\’t biting commentary, it isn\’t satire, it isn\’t expanding any forwarding any thoughtful discussion whatsoever.

    Plain a simple, Imus is a jerkoff who said stupid things… repeatedly. Taking him off the air isn\’t censorship, it\’s simply good business.

    And yes, I\’d say the same regardless of where someone fell on the political spectrum. If a leftwing fellow repeatedly called for the bloody murder of a conservative governor or called women from the College Republicans \”fat bimbo skanks\” or whatever, then yeah, I\’d think it\’d be a no-brainer to get that moron off the air, too.

    Our airwaves are public. And it\’s not like Imus couldn\’t start his own podcast, get on cable or satellite, etc. The guy is hardly being muzzled.

    Of course, the larger question is this: what does it say about humanity that a blowhard like Imus is/was so popular? Now THAT is depressing.

    Comment by Adam -

  75. Who\’s Imus??

    Comment by toni -

  76. Excellent post Mark. This is an opportunity for HDNet. Get Imus on there now!

    Comment by Dave K -

  77. Hey Mark, Insensitive yes. Stupid yes. But News? No. That story broke about the same time the guys from Duke recieved their \”apology\”, Now, what really caused more harm? I would bet some of these players never knew who Imus is or what he talks about. Then you have more coverage for someone that is just spewing thoughts then for a real miscarriage of justice. Im not sure yet but I dont think that the prosecuter lost his job yet and they deffinitly havent prosecuted the woman for filing false police reports because the one gentleman said She may actually beleive everything that she said really happened. And the real reason he got fired was from sponser pressure . The money said Get this guy out, So they could look like they are squeaky clean, yea, right. Check out their corporate ladders and see how many miniorities are in the drivers seats on their boards. The last thing. Thats why you have \”CHANNELS\” If you dont like something that someone is saying or doing. CHANGE the CHANNEL. People need to lighten up and not take themselfs so serious. There will always be insensitivity around. Suck it up , get over it or better yet ignore it because a lot of people feed off of the attention. He got more advertising then he ever has. Thanks for your thoughts. P.S. Im still waiting for the uproar for the guys from Duke? Pretty quiet so far eh?

    Comment by Frankie from Lawnside -


    I guess it was racial because white people don\’t get nappy hair? I\’ve seen a few nappy headed white ho\’s. Was it racial because no one cares about the fact that\’s it degrades women? I would think more would be made over the latter, but I guess women\’s rights folks don\’t make the headlines and noise like Rev Jesse Jackson and all his bastard kids or Al Sharpton who needs better content on his shows so he exploits the issue.

    I guess Imus won\’t be on the BET channel anytime soon. Wonder what would be said if someone tried to start a WET. You see, it\’s the double standard that gets under my skin. Off color comment…..yes reason for all that followed…no

    Comment by Michael -

  79. I must say that I have grown very weary of hearing about the Imus situation. I enjoy listening to sports radio when I am in the car. However, I can\’t stand to hear another rant about Imus. I can\’t wait until next week when this has settled down and we can hear about the NBA Playoffs, etc. Imus\’ statements are ridiculous and indefensible, but so is the overexposure from the media!

    Comment by Spencer Ferguson -

  80. I feel Imus got a raw deal…it comes down to the fact that the entire thing snowballed during to what you correctly described as a \”slow news week.\” If anyone listens to Imus, ever..the guy has made cracks far worse than this. What occured in this instance was the media picking up on it and like I said snowballing…sad, but true.

    Comment by Christopher Joyce -

  81. Rosie O\’Donnell is likely on the ABC chopping block as well for her comments regarding 9/11. What is happening to free speech in America? Things are starting to look mighty scary in God\’s Country.

    Comment by Anthony -

  82. Who more deserved to be fired: Imus for his remarks, or Marv Albert for being charged with felonious biting of his mistress? There\’s no correct answer, and neither is a case where firing them equates with muffling the exercise of their rights of free speech and free association. Both men are simply \’mouthpieces\’ for organizations or broadcasters, and so, they are readily replaceable, at any time, for any reason. This is not the first offensive or thoughtless comment ever spoken by Imus, but it\’s the one that forfeited his role as a paid \”mouthpiece\” for his employers. I just don\’t see the \’free speech\’ concern, or a paranoia about broadcasting conglomerates -> you do something stupid at work, you get fired.

    Comment by Thomason -

  83. \”…Howard Stern say worse things every day…\”

    Completely untrue. Racial humor? Yes. Howard Stern racist? No. I\’ve never heard Stern (18 years now) attack anyone based on their race, sex, or sexual preference. There is a difference between laughing at stereotypes and using them as a weapon.

    Comment by Slappy -

  84. My mistake. It was Mari\’s comment, 11, that I was referring to. Not comment #14.

    Comment by Katal -

  85. Like comment #14 said, this isn\’t censorship. The government did not step in and remove Imus\’s program.

    CBS and MSNBC were happy to give Imus a slap on the wrist until advertisers began to pull their dollars. That\’s when GM decided that it had the moral obligation to get rid of him.

    Trying to link this to free speech or politics is ridiculous. It was the market in action.

    Comment by Katal -

  86. The liberals devoured one of their own in order to be able to effectively push the \”fairness doctrine\”, which will be directly aimed at conservative talk radio. Since liberals have tried exhaustively and failed at talk radio, and it is really the last place conservatives have to get a fair shot, this is the beginning of their attempts.
    The American people are strong (most of them) and will defy this attempt, and good will win out in the end. I do not like Imus, but he should not have been fired for his offensive comments, just like the \”justice brothers\” Sharpton and Jackson should not be censored from their race baiting. Let the free market decide, as it is usually right to leave these decisions in the hands of the American people, who are much wiser than the so-called mainstream media gives them credit for. Yesterday was a bad day for free speech in America.

    Comment by Matt -

  87. Perhaps interestingly, I have just read all the comments so far and everyone seems to agree with Mark that Imus should not have been fired. That isn\’t what I find interesting, however.

    What I find interesting is the fact that there are most likely millions of people who feel the same way as most of those who have posted comments so far. And that what America needs is some real leadership to give \”the other side\” a voice.

    I think this Imus situation will ultimately be good for the country. I think we are starting to reach a breaking point with respect to letting the Al Sharptons of the world exert the influence they do.

    I\’m sure many of you noticed that Barack Obama met with rapper Ludacris yesterday. What is that? This guy\’s music consists of \”bitch ho bitch ho\” and yet because he does some charity work on the side he\’s a net positive for this world and meets with potentially the next leader of the \”free world\”

    I don\’t know about the rest of you, but I\’m 27 years old and I\’ve had enough.

    BTW, I plan on a run for congress within 10 years…Although I think the change that could make is reduced daily.

    Comment by David -

  88. Now that you have Dan Rather working for you Imus would be the perfect addition to balance things out. Think a man version of the View!

    Comment by McSmarty -

  89. I\’ve never liked Don Imus, but all of talk radio just got a whole lot less interesting. This is the Janet Jackson nipple-slip of the airways. When careers can be destroyed instantly over one misguided comment, who is free to talk? The guy is a \”shock jock\”, it\’s in the job description to say stupid things. A sincere apology for crossing the line was appropriate and should have made this go away.

    This is not left-wing or right-wing censorship, it\’s yet another unfortunate incident (Anna Nichole anyone?) exploited by the 24 hour news channels to fire up the public and make tons of money. The public was spoon-fed this \”controversy\” and, as always, we ate it up. This kind of stuff is not the will of the people it\’s the will of the companies. They tell us what to care about. It\’s ironic that the ratings feeding frenzy by corporate news networks devoured one of their own. They pounced like a bunch of jackles. Sponsorship money was chased away from Imus and sucked up by the attackers. I\’m pissed that all of talk radio just got fitted for a muzzle. Get ready for homongenized opinions and corporate friendly talk radio.

    Comment by Steve -

  90. Good to know that not all higher ups in the world aren\’t idiots. It\’s hilarious and sad to see how this firestorm has gotten out of hand and Imus has been fired. There\’s a distinct double standard being upheld by this as this wouldn\’t have even been news if Imus wasn\’t black. Besides the obvious racial issue, the fact that this is a free speech issue also deeply upsets me.

    The best course of action would have just been to ignore Imus\’ comments, rise above them. I blogged about that here:

    I may not have agreed with what he said, but I\’d defend to the death his right to say it. 🙂

    It\’s really sad though when prominent, at least in my eyes, black sports writers don\’t understand and are saddened by Imus\’ firings…even though they obviously didn\’t agree at all with his comments.

    Comment by NateBlock -

  91. \”Things may be different in 10 or more years, but right now Americans still consume media and advertisers support media on traditional TV and radio outlets\”

    And how do you think that shift is going to happen? Part of it is technical, but those barriers are going down by the minute now. I think its going to TAKE some \”big star\” to say \”F it – I\’m going independent online\” to pull people to the medium. Similar to how Howard Stern sold millions of Sirius accounts and receivers.

    Do I think Don Imus is the one to do that? No, I don\’t. But there are plenty of other \”stars\” out there who could.

    Frankly, I don\’t need them anyway. I have enough TWiT network and Revision3 content to keep me nice and happy. If \”big media\” is going to be dumbasses, that\’s fine by me, they\’ll do it without my eyeballs and ears on their advertisers.

    I really think that in 10-20 years we will be talking about \”the death of big media television and radio\” the same way we talk about \”the death of newspaper publishers\” today.

    Comment by Dave Sanders -

  92. This was a Outrage! What are we becoming, a communist country! If MSNBC and CBS are going to cow-tow to the likes of Al Sharpten and Jessie Jackson, what have we become!!! This is a said day for this country. This is just the beginning. Blacks, etc.. and even Imus, make comments everyday about everyone and it is done in a joking matter, nothing was meant by this. Spare me the I\’m scared for life bull, it was entertainment and that was it. Please… if this is what this country is going to become, I\’m leaving.

    Comment by Robin Fino -

  93. Imus should have never gone on Sharpton\’s show or the Today show. Maybe his handlers told him he had to. All the media attention (especially for NBC) created ad nauseum to the point where even self respecting people said; make it go away, Imus included. Ok it was the advertisers..

    As for his comments, who really cares? Al Sharpton? Oh what a fine example of American wholesomeness he is. Do you think we can make him go away too? Probably not as long as the media finds his opinion newsworthy.

    And what the hell was it that Jesse Jackson was talking about? I can never understand what hes saying. Its too bad MLK is here to speak for himself. Im sure he would have laughed off Imus comments and told Jesse to go get the car.

    One last thing, if the women on the Rutgers University basketball team dont like being called \”nappy-headed hos\” then perhaps they should lay off the steroids and stay away from the tattoo parlors. OK that was politically incorrect but it had to be said. Black or white if she chooses to look like a man then she should be willing to field the comments.

    BTW, the FCC didnt seem to care about all this did they? Politically correct, moral high ground BS.

    Imus you got want you desired for being an idiot..

    Comment by Tim Elliott -

  94. I agree that he should have apologized. He should not have been fired. If NBC/CBS would have stood their ground it would have all blown over in a few weeks. Al Sharpton needs to get a life. If he wants to champion the cause for equal rights and protect against discrimination he should look at \”real discrimination\”. He is a fool! I only watched Imus a couple of times and was not really a fan. I do like him better than Howard Stern though. At least he has some intelligence. Stern is just a crude individual.

    Comment by Josh Youngblood -

  95. It\’s funny that he gets fired for saying that comment while shock jocks like Howard Stern say worse things every day and get no punishment. Maybe Imus will go to Sirius, if they have any money left.

    Comment by discount cigars -

  96. I\’m soooo glad to see you, Mark, coming down on the firing of Don Imus. It smacks of left wing mass censorship, and bodes ill for all broadcast personalities who have opinions and say things opposed to what some influencial groups feel are \”right\” and/or \”correct\”. I used to listen to Imus for years before he left my market, and I thought some of his shtick was clever and some downright dumb — and I would put his comments about the Rutgers team on the DUMB side. But I don\’t know how often I heard him say, when someone objected to the nasty things he would say about some public figure, \”THIS IS SATIRE, FOLKS!\”

    I really like the comment that one person made on this blog that public personalities are wide open for this type of satire, but amateur sports figures like the girl\’s basketball team should not be included in any satire. However, an apology should have sufficed to keep Imus on the air. Instead, we have one more nail in the coffin of free speech. Who knows who will be next to suffer the squelching of free speech that millions of Americans have died to preserve.

    Comment by Bob Arnold -

  97. Another reader wrote. \”Let\’s be real clear here… Imus wasn\’t fired because MSNBC or CBS Radio thought it was the right thing to do or because they wanted to keep a clean image… Imus was fired because advertisers were pulling out and without advertising dollars, there\’s simply no show.\”

    I agree completely with this. But let me take this one step further. The reason advertisers pulled out of the show is that customers were likely calling them. People like Imus have a national platform to make their points. They can make their points over and over on this platform.

    Regular people like me don\’t enjoy that sort of access. The only way to make our voice heard, really heard, is by complaining to sponsors. The old expression \”money talks\” is true. I\’d bet dollars to donuts that if the switchboards at Imus show sponsors weren\’t lighting up this would be a non-issue.

    It\’s funny that what made Imus famous also brought him down.

    Comment by Kevin Gertsen -

  98. What this highlights is the same thing that allows the Boy Scouts to restrict membership. Private vs Public.
    Nothing more nothing less.
    If the market bears individuals like Imus and Stern, then by all means go private. The public airways are just that. I am certainly not advocating for the baloney PC world we live in, but I can clearly see the difference between \”All Access\” and private access. While I am not an Imus fan, I have become a Stern fan since purchasing Sirius and I would love to see or rather hear real peoples opinions and attitudes. I think we are heading down a disastrous path by not bringing these beliefs/attitudes into the open.

    Comment by Eric -

  99. I really dislike how many people (not so much on this blog, but in general) are bringing up free speech, political correctness, or the \”double standards of the media.\” It misses the point entirely.

    This has nothing to do with free speech or censorship because Imus is not being censored as he is still able to say whatever he wants. He just cant get paid for it, or do it over a mass medium. Having a radio show is not a right; it is a job whose goal is to bring in advertising money. He botched it pretty bad.

    In regards to political correctness and double standards; there really is a difference between what rappers say and Imus\’ previous rap sheet and what he said last week.

    Saying incendiary remarks about white men, black women, Asians, or midgets is fine as long as it is kept general. People can walk away from a generalized comment. Public figures also fall into this category, (e.g. other rappers, politicians, newscasters, Paris Hiltons, etc.) as criticisms are just part of the job. Thats why Imus can call Clinton a bastard, and Snoop can call other rappers bitches and hos hos.

    Specific 19 year old college students, on the other hand, dont fit into this category.
    As such, Imus committed slander. (Slander is a published message, implied to be factual, that may harm the reputation of an individual.) There is legal precedent here. As a veteran broadcaster he should have known where the line was between defamation and just plain ole bad radio.

    Our defamation laws in the US are pretty good. Not perfect, but pretty good. Without them free speech would be impossible.

    Comment by Andrew Cotter -

  100. I don\’t think it would be that expensive or that big of a risk for Imus to put himself on the internet. He probably more people interested in him now than ever before.

    Comment by Mark -

  101. The thing that underlies this story, and the Duke story, is race, which is still a big deal for people about 40 and over.

    If you are in that category, go talk to a 25-year-old. Don\’t ask them if race is important, ask them if they think it\’s cool that Barrack could be our first African American president. They\’ll say yes, but kind of look at you funny, wondering why you are making such a big deal about it and basically thinking that it says more about you that you think it\’s a big deal.

    Our race, it turns out, is less and less of a big deal, especially among those born after about 1980. If the rest of us would let it happen, MLK\’s dream would be the operating reality.

    But because old guys like Sumner and Imus and Nifong still run the world, it\’s still a big deal.

    PS: the weirdest part is that I think what Imus was trying to do was sound hip by saying \”Nappy headed\” even though that expression is at least 20 years old.

    Comment by Scott Yates -

  102. I\’m not saying Imus is a GOOD guy. Because in all honesty he probably isn\’t. But one thing is clear. People in America say this kind of stuff ALL the time. Was it a mistake for him to say it on the air? ABSOLUTELY. But getting fired over it makes me think that he\’s the first person who will be made an example of, and this trend may in fact continue. Howard Stern? Smart guy. He\’s got Robin Quivers sitting next to him which gives him free reign to make all the black jokes in the world. There\’s been many worse things said out there. Yes, the comments were racist, no doubt about it, but losing one\’s job over it, I think that\’s a little steep.

    Comment by Nat -

  103. Firing Imus was not censorship. It was letting the free market respond to his actions. Had the government taken him off the air, that would have been censorship.

    That said, it does worry me that we\’re sadly short of independent networks. And you\’re right, it\’s going to be a while before independent production on the Web is reasonably profitable. But enterprises like BrightCove are trying to make it possible. (And no, I have on connection to BrightCove)

    Comment by Mari -

  104. I believe the Oh network is independent still, and the programming is a bit on the edge at times.

    Comment by Nolan -

  105. Let\’s be real clear here… Imus wasn\’t fired because MSNBC or CBS Radio thought it was the right thing to do or because they wanted to keep a clean image… Imus was fired because advertisers were pulling out and without advertising dollars, there\’s simply no show.

    Most of these media companies could care less about comments from a shock jock offending someone. As long as that show is bringing in money and lots of it, they could care less. Imus and many others had said worse many times before. The mainstream media just happened to pick up this story which created more of a buzz, which lead to advertisers pulling out and again without advertisers, you have no show.

    Who will offer Imus another chance you ask? Many companies will. After a few months of letting this story cool off some company will announce they hired Imus and that he promises to watch what he says blah, blah, blah.

    Could he run his show strictly on the net? Sure, but Imus is also \”old school\” so I doubt he\’d take that route. Plus, I doubt he plans on making those types of comments again.

    I do think the net is a great place for radio shows and many have proven that business model a success. Maybe not as big and the biggest mainstream radio shows, but give it some time. Advertisers will go wherever there are listeners. If an online show had millions of listeners, I guarantee advertisers will be flocking there to put there money at work.

    Comment by News Blog -

  106. I would watch an Imus tv show in the mornings on HDNET once he gets a show on XM. Hook it up, Mark.

    And go mavs.

    Comment by Brian -

  107. It\’s only news because the words were spoken by a white man working for an organization too large to not be politically correct. Sure maybe what Imus said was insensitive, but if hard pressed I guarantee we could monitor a minimum of five to ten \”on-air\” comments daily that are potentially more incendiary then Imus\’. What about when Larry Johnson basically said he does not like playing for Dick Vermeil because he is white and cannot relate to him as well as a black coach could because Vermeil doesn\’t understand his struggles as a black man? Why didn\’t ESPN have a seven person panel discuss how Larry Johnson\’s father coached for Penn State and how he did not have an up bringing remotely close to most inner city black athletes? On top of all of this, screw Imus. Where the hell is his backbone? Supposedly he WAS some hard-nosed, weathered shock-jock, but he bent over and took from Al Sharpton to feebly try to save his job. He deserves to get fired for a complete lag of integrity; forget his comments. Also a big thanks to Snoop Dog for commenting on Imus needing to be fired. Great to see he can take time off from his busy schedule of court hearings for felony weapon and drug charges to support his people. We all know history and we all regret it, but it\’s about time EVERYONE is held accountable for their words.

    Comment by Drew -

  108. OK, I don\’t like to divulge much about myself on forums but I must chime in on this as a black woman. Did Imus make a stupid insensitive remark YES, should he be fired NO. I do not believe in censorship, period, and to me firing him is censorship. This just paves the way for my speech/thoughts to be limited, as well as yours. That is not a good thing. I believe that everyone, Al Sharpton, Ann Coulter etc. should be free to say what they want to say. Does not mean that I agree but we can not ban free speech. As outraged as everyone is about his comments, we should be just as outraged at this censorship.

    Comment by Pinologic -

  109. Hi Mark,

    First let me offer congrats to the Mavs for making the playoffs.

    About Imus. I grew up with Imus. He was the morning jock for WNBC 66 on the AM dial in NYC for many years. I remember him getting kicked off the air and then turning up in some little station in the midwest before coming back to the prime real estate radio.

    I\’m not a betting man, but I\’d bet a dollar Imus shows up on Satellite Radio like Howard Stern. No Sponsors, No FCC, No Sharpton. Just lots of people paying 12.95 a month. He\’s a money making machine and the satellite industry is not going to be denied the millions of subcribers he will bring with him.

    As a member of the XM Nation, I would rather listen to Imus than Oprah and friends anyday.


    Comment by Jeff -

  110. Okay, so Don Imus has always been an idiot in my mind. In fact, I had his obnoxious show as my alarm because it was so annoying that it jolted me right awake. Other shows were soothing in comparison and i would sleep through them or keep hitting snooze. With Imus, I couldn\’t stand the thought of his voice jolting me awake a second time. What I\’m getting to here is that I know Imus\’s show.

    And Imus says stuff like this ALL THE TIME. Him and Sid Rosenberg, all his other pals, they do it to be offensive. No one in their right mind would say something like this on the air in seriousness. And you know what else, I bet not a single regular listener of Imus\’s show even raised an eyebrow at the time he made the comments. I thought his comments were not funny. I rarely think he\’s funny, but I don\’t see how you could take them seriously.

    This whole thing is a big farce. Slow news night, let\’s see, Imus made some comments that we could blow up, make a good story out of, lets run it. Pretty soon you ahve a bunch of talking heads (I saw MSNBC had a panel of SEVEN(!!!!) people discussing this today just before he was fired). I bet none of them listen to Imus, and even they do, I guarantee the truth was never one of their concerns. It\’s just like, we have to make this seem like a big deal, blow it up boys! Keep everyone tuned in! Where\’s the cross, tie him up there, quick! Oh man our ratings are doing pretty well! People are depresssed by the war. They are pretending it doesn\’t exist and changing the channel! Burn an old moron of a talk show host!

    I mean whatever. I don\’t care about Imus, I just care about the fact that it is so easy to just barrage our nation with media, say things enough and they just become true, no matter how asinine a logical evaluation of hte situation makes what they are doing seem.

    Also, it\’s not like the guy won\’t find another job. He\’ll go to sattellite in am onth when people won\’t even remember this whole thing. Sad sad sad. We are animals about htis stuff. We like the get worked up, but once he adrenaline is gone, we wipe our minds clear and search for the next adrenaline builder.

    Comment by Max -

  111. However dumb and insensitive his comments were, it is tragic to watch them bow down to the pressure and fire Imus.

    Comment by Todd -

  112. Imus\’ hours on MSNBC and Viacom were numbered when Proctor & Gamble, GM, Sprint and GlaxoSmithKline pulled all of their advertising money. Prior to that, the networks were playing the ol\’ \”wait-and-see\” game, with the two-week suspension. Dismissing Imus was a business decision, plain and simple. You can point to an image control problem, but it was the multi-million dollar hit that did Don in.

    Comment by Devin Pike -

  113. \”Now for one last comment. If the Imus show was on HDNet would I have fired him ? Hell no. I would have expected him to apologize, but he would have kept his job. Firing him would just get him a job on HBO.\”

    I\’m glad to see that you are a much more reasonable man than the majority of the folks out there. Any thoughts on how come, other than Jemele Hill at, I have yet to see a single member of the media come out and apologize for their comments regarding the 3 Dukies?

    Comment by Neil -

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