Imus in the ‘mourning’

By Jared Kraham | The Warrior Report

If you haven’t heard by now, you should probably turn your attention to any news station on television. From CNN to the ESPN, the talk of the cable news town is Don Imus’ situation in regards to his remarks about the Rutgers womens’ basketball team.

After referring to the team as “nappy-headed hoes” a day after their appearance in the NCAA Women’s Final Four on April 4th, a firestorm of controversy surrounded Imus, and the Imus in the Morning radio program. Broadcasting on WFAN in New York, and nationally syndicated on radio and simulcasted on MSNBC, Imus in the Morning featured political guests, journalists and news-makers.

On April 9th, Don Imus appeared on Al Sharpton’s radio program, where he further apologized for the incident. Sharpton called the comments “abominable”, “racist” and “sexist” and demanded for Imus’ resignation from his job. Imus then stated, “Our agenda is to be funny and sometimes we go too far. And this time we went way too far. Here’s what I’ve learned: that you can’t make fun of everybody, because some people don’t deserve it.”

Imus was then suspended by NBC and CBS for two weeks, an action that alone had media personalities debating.

On April 11th, MSNBC was the first of the two networks to take major action,dropping the simulcast of Imus in the Morning after mounting pressure from civil rights leaders Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, and also advertisers like General Motors and Staples who had deserted the program.

Even after Imus’ repeated apologies and statements regarding the incident, on April 12, CBS President Leslie Moonves announced that effective immediately, the Imus in the Morning Program would be cancelled and its host fired.

This story seems to be at the heart of the world of media, where political news shows turn into First Amendment debates, and personalities lay their reputations on the line to defend a radio legend. Radio and television personalities like Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes (co-hosts on Hannity and Colmes) both seem to feel sympathetic toward the radio pioneer.

This sympathy that some are showing is overshadowed by the ridiculous antics of a few entertainment personnel. For example, on Wednesday, rock station WSBG in Stroudsburg, Pa., fired a DJ who urged listeners to repeat Imus’ words in a contest. DJ Gary Smith offered prizes to anybody who would call in and say, “I’m a nappy-headed ho.”

Those who come to support Imus are comedians, fans and fellow broadcasters. Unarguably his comments were out of line, but they seemed to be in the context of a comedic routine, rather than a racist rant.

It remains to be seen where Imus will spend his days on the radio if he does continue to host a program. Some speculate that satellite radio might be Imus’ calling, following in the footsteps of Opie and Anthony, and nemesis Howard Stern.

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