Thursday, April 12, 2007

Don Imus Still Has A Bright Future On America's Toxic Airwaves

By MARC McDONALD

Please, whatever you do, don't feel sorry for Don Imus. Mark my words: he still has a bright and lucrative future ahead of him.

Sure, Imus is in hot water at the moment. But it won't last.

As soon as the current fuss has died down, you can take it to the bank that another network will step in to pick up Imus's program. In fact, the smart money would have to be on Fox News.

In fact, I would bet that Imus winds up coming out ahead in this whole deal. For one thing, the huge controversy sparked by his bigoted comments has made millions of people aware of him who've never previously heard his program. His media profile is much higher than it was before.

I look for Fox News to step in and give Imus a nice, fat, new contract. After all, your average Fox News viewer is unlikely to be offended by Imus's bigoted comments. On the contrary, most Fox News viewers are likely to see Imus as a "victim" of political correctness run amok in our society. (This point of view is a recurring theme, for example, on that network's highest rated program, The O'Reilly Factor).

Let's face it, bigotry sells in America these days. There are tens of millions of angry, frustrated white males in our society who feel victimized by affirmative action and "political correctness." Never mind the fact that affluent white males still control all the levels of power in the worlds of business and politics in America. Never mind the fact that racism still permeates every corner of American society today.

African-Americans are incarcerated at vastly higher rates than whites. Studies show that black people get much harsher prison sentences than white people for doing identical crimes. Blatant racism permeates our justice system, our legal system, our schools---in fact, every American institution. And let's not forget the 2000 election, in which hundreds of thousands of black people were denied the vote.

The horrible plight of poor black people was briefly brought to white, middle-class America's attention during the Hurricane Katrina crisis (but I doubt it came as much of a surprise to black people across America).

My point is, despite all of the above, there are still millions of white people in our society who are convinced that African-Americans somehow get all the breaks in our society.

It's crazy, it's nutty, it's insane---but that's how these sadly deluded people feel.

And the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck cannily know just how to push the emotional hot buttons of Angry White Males these days. Make no mistake: much of the appeal of hate radio is based in subtle racism and bigotry. After all, it's no mystery why Limbaugh, when he had a brief contract with ESPN, immediately plunged into racial issues and attacked quarterback Donovan McNabb (and ludicrously claimed that "the media" was part of a sinister plot to help black quarterbacks).

The fact is, bigotry sells in America today. It's the reason talk radio's Neal Boortz can have a lucrative career after saying that Rep. Cynthia McKinney "looks like a ghetto slut." It's the reason that CNN's Glenn Beck can get away with calling the predominately African-American victims of Hurricane Katrina "scumbags."

Nor is bigotry in America limited only to the nation's airwaves. Recall when Trent Lott praised Strom Thurmond--a politician who ran on a campaign of racial segregation.

And last, but not least, let's not forget George W. Bush himself, whose actions over the years have set the whole tone for the nation's current rising tide of bigotry. Recall how during the 2000 election campaign, Bush made it a point to stop by Bob Jones University, which incredibly still had a ban on interracial dating.

So before you shed a tear for Imus, just stop and consider this: he clearly has a bright future ahead of him, as long as Republicans encourage and tolerate bigotry and our nation's airwaves are full of poisonous bile and racism.

6 comments:

Swan said...

I hope you don't mind an off-topic comment, but I think this is important:

Re: the Iraq war in general

(also see this post)

Ever since the months prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, there have been a few reports in the newspapers that the Central Intelligence Agency was casting aspersions on the intelligence the White House was relying on to justify the war. The CIA has never given a position on whether the war is needed or justified or said that Bush is wrong to go to war. But doesn't it seem much more likely that the CIA is an extremely right wing organization than a left wing one? After all, even if the people working for them and at least a lot of the leadership really wanted a war for their own reasons, there are a lot of reasons for them to not want to tie their credibility to what they know is faulty information. They and their personnel, present and former, could use other means of promoting the Iraq war, and still be motivated to make the statements in the media. If the CIA got behind faulty information, they would have to make a choice between whether they would be involved in scamming the American people and the world once the military had invaded Iraq and no weapons were found- so: 1) Imagine the incredible difficulties involved in pulling off a hoax that weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. Imagine all the people you would have to be able to show the weapons to- the inspectors from the UN / the international community, the American press, statesmen, etc. Then imagine the difficulties of substantiating that story to people who would examine it- the lack of witnesses to a production plant that made the weapons or to transportation operations or storage of the weapons during Hussein's regime of them. 2) If the story fell apart upon inspection or the CIA tried not to hoax it at all, imagine the loss of credibility they would suffer. The CIA, it is safe to bet, does not want to be known to the American people as a group that lies to them to send them to war. Even within the CIA there could be disagreement among people about how involved they should be in promoting the war or the neo-con agenda more broadly, so the CIA would have to worry about lying to and managing its own people after trying so hard to get them to trust their superiors in the agency, and perhaps there simply might be too many people in the agency who knew enough about what was going on in Iraq to know if someone was deceiving people to promote this war.

So there is a lot of reason to be cautious against being seen as endorsing what they knew was false intelligence even if they were very strong supporters of going to war.

Granted, it’s certainly possible the CIA could have changed their minds about the war, as a lot of people have, and could now be trying to move the nation closer to withdrawal.

Anonymous said...

How, exactly, was Imus' comments much different than what other shock-jock radio hosts have made? I don't know why Imus was singled out for firing. The likes of Limbaugh, Beck and Savage have made similar offensive remarks.

zak822 said...

Anonymous, Imus was canned because MSNBC and CBS were starting to bleed sponsors. A show with no sponsors doesn't last long. No Kudos to CBS for waiting to see which way the wind was blowing.

Imus has a very long history of being reprimanded for this sort of thing. He was forced to fire a sidekick, Sid, because he said similar things. More recently, a producer, I think Bernie, was reprimanded, for the same thing.

Imus has been insulting women, minorities and gays for a very long time. Sponsors no longer care to be associated with this sort of thing from him, and that's why he's gone and not the loathsome Beck.

And let's remember that Beck, et al, has never said anything quite as insulting as calling a most African-American female sports team "nappy-headed ho's".

Look for him on Fox in a couple of months. They like this sort of thing.

Anonymous said...

I think you are insane. I hate the Fox news network and their Republican agenda, but Imus is not a racist. You would be hard pressed to find 10% of rap songs not referring to woman as ho's. That is acceptable but one stupid remark cost a man a job. This is reverse discrimation. And no, I am not a middle aged white man.

Anonymous said...

In response to the previous poster:
re:
>>>Imus is not a racist.
Do you know this for a fact? Or are you just pulling this out of your ass? What, exactly, WOULD Imus have to say for you to be convinced that he's a bigot?
re:
>>I think you are insane.
Yeah, well, f*ck you too. The fact is, it was the corporate advertisers who pulled the plug on their ads on Imus' program. So are they "insane," too? The large corporations that aired Imus' program, as well as the multitude of corporations that sponsored his show all decided Imus was a bigot who went too far (which is really saying something in our era of Nazi racists like Limbaugh, Savage, Beck, etc.). So are we all insane? You're like one of these sadly deluded people who sits in an insane asylum, playing with your own excrement and convinced that everyone else in the world is crazy.

Anonymous said...

imus is gone for one statement. but what about all the dee-dee-dees at fox news who repeatedly make statements about such and such minorities which probably oppose radical muslims as much as they do.

It particularly depends on which minority you attack. using the n-word is practically suicide now, but calling an obese person a fat *ss is okay. no body cares unless it is a minority that has fought tooth and nail until the majority has had to grudgingly admit the afore-mentioned minority deserves rights.

If Imus was fired for one remark, then the heads of every fox news correspondent should be paraded around the courtyard (figuratively, of course) there are two cheap blondes at fox news i want to see destroyed