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Blogger Spurs US Radio Host's Firing 505

Posted by Zonk
from the those-tubes-they-reach-everwhere dept.
jas_public writes "The Wall Street Journal reports on the controversial events which ultimately led to the firing of radio shock jock Don Imus. 'At 6:14 a.m. on Wednesday, April 4, relatively few people were tuned into the "Imus in the Morning Show" ... Ryan Chiachiere was. A 26-year-old researcher in Washington, D.C., for liberal watchdog organization Media Matters for America, he was assigned to monitor Mr. Imus's program. Mr. Chiachiere clipped the video, alerted his bosses and started working on a blog post for the organization's Web site.' The article breaks down how that viral video clip and word of mouth outrage reached the ears of the presidents of CBS and MSNBC, ultimately leading to Imus' dismissal."
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Blogger Spurs US Radio Host's Firing

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  • Radio vs TV (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ReidMaynard (161608) *
    I suspect, if Imus was only on the radio, hardly anyone would have known about it.
    • by Zeinfeld (263942)
      Imus was canned because he had somehow got himself attached to the establishment. Politicians the establishment love to fawn over like Lieberman and McCain were regular guests.

      Bill O'Rielly and Coulter both make far more outrageous remarks but they get a pass because the establishment does not take them seriously. Same goes for rappers.

      What sunk Imus was not just the one comment, it was the history. In particular the long tirade against Gwen ifell.

      OK so David Brock is no longer a right wing hit man, b

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        OK so David Brock is no longer a right wing hit man, but is it an improvement now he is a left wing hit man?

        Is David Brock a left-wing hitman?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Bill O'Rielly and Coulter both make far more outrageous remarks but they get a pass because the establishment does not take them seriously.

        When has O'Reilly called a black person a nappy-headed ho? I actually dig O'Reilly because he doesn't let politicians dodge a question like all the other talking heads do.

        What I find really funny is that Democrats and other liberals were forced to speak out against Imus, who is normally a welcome venue for them. But I noticed that nobody called out Jesse Jackson for hi

  • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @06:43AM (#18729951)
    In an off the cuff remark, Imus calls the Rutgers girls "nappy headed hos". Moral outrage, Al and Jesse crank up their publicity machine, Imus gets fired.

    Meanwhile, rapper DMX [wikipedia.org] uses lyrics such as "what these bitches want from a nigga", and "I fuck with these hoes from a distance", and we hear cash registers.
    Just as racist, just as misogynistic, just as insensitive.

    And this was a liberal watchdog group? Gimme a break. I thought the left at least gave lip service to freedom of speech.
    • by The Iso (1088207) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @06:49AM (#18729981)
      The words he used don't matter. If he had called the Rutgers girls "ugly and loose," it would have been just as bad. The thing is that he attacked the looks and morals of innocent women who've done nothing to inject themselves into public discourse.
      • attacked seems a little strong. I haven't seen the video, but I read the transcript and was like, jeez. He prolly should apologize for the slip but getting *fired?!
        • by Megane (129182) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @09:43AM (#18730907) Homepage

          Exactly... as opposed to Sharpton and Jackson, who actually ruined the lives of a couple of "rich white guy" lacrosse players (also college sports players) accused of rape, who not only got away with destroying their lives (as opposed to just hurting their feelings with a few badly chosen words), but Jackson is giving the accuser a free college education!

          The moral of the story? You can say whatever you want and get away with it... if you're black. Otherwise watch out for the "hit squads" listening to your radio show at every hour, even when nobody else is.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Skuld-Chan (302449)
            Actually the lawyer who represented the supposedly raped woman is likely to be disbarred... > http://www.pr-inside.com/year-long-controversy-bas ed-on-faulty-accusation-r91234.htm [pr-inside.com]
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Hubbell (850646)
        I've seen some of these girls, and I'm sorry but ugly is an understatement, half of them belong on the men's basketball team.
        • But I bet Don Imus wouldn't call an NFL line man ugly even if the dude looked like Sloth from the Goonies. It was a cheap shot, probably didn't merit being fired, but when the money dries up...they're not going to keep his show going. Many of his sponsors jumped ship and there were very few who came on board.

          Business decission
          • Don Imus was an "equal opportunity" offender, while I don't remember a specific incident involving an NFL player, he insulting an NBA player (sorry can't remember the name), by calling him a knuckle dragger.

            Don Imus is/was offensive, and that is what CBS/NBC paid him to do, it just so happens that outside forces "convinced" his employers that his services were no longer needed.
      • by TheoMurpse (729043) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @09:47AM (#18730943) Homepage
        Warning, epithets are used for discussion purposes in this post:

        The thing is that he attacked the looks and morals of innocent women who've done nothing to inject themselves into public discourse.
        Except, you know, play basketball for one of the top teams in the nation. Imus's insults were no different than if he'd spoken ill of a B-list movie star. He didn't single out an individual, he insulted a famous team; this is analogous to insulting a person of similar fame.

        What he said was idiotic, but the reaction was ridiculous. I mean, holy shit. He called them "nappy headed hos." The only part of that phrase that is an insult is "hos." Kind of by definition most of the girls on the team have worn their hair nappy [wikipedia.org] before -- "nappy" describes the natural state of the hair of people of African descent.

        Hell, the producer of the show fucking called them jigaboos, and nothing happened to him! Some people have wanted to get Imus fired for a while, and they used this time as the way to do it. Of course CBS has every right to fire him; I don't have much of a problem with that. What I do have a problem with is the hypocrisy coming from the liberals here. To speak in incredibly general terms, I've been gradually becoming a liberal the past few years, and this is one of those things that I really hate about many liberals in the US -- it's OK to speak your mind as long as you don't insult a minority. If Imus had called the golf team a bunch of bitches (80% of the team is white), nothing would have happened to him.

        In summary, Imus called a bunch of black basketball players "hos." Some people raised a stink, and he got fired. So many people get away with so much worse every single day, and nothing happens to them. In my opinion, that's how it should be. The more you clamp down on racist speech, the more people will rebel. How many people do you think are talking today about "those fucking niggers who got Don fired"?
    • by Detritus (11846)
      Jesse "Hymietown" Jackson?

      Say it ain't so!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      And this was a liberal watchdog group? Gimme a break. I thought the left at least gave lip service to freedom of speech.

      So did I. He may be obnoxious but setting some attack dog on him to pick up and publicise his misdeeds does rather stink. If someone feels personally insulted and takes offence, fine. But that is not what happened here.

      The difference with rapper DMX is that he is not employed by someone who will sack him for perceived outrage. His performance is measured in how many CDs he sells, not h
      • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @07:23AM (#18730117)
        The difference with rapper DMX is that he is not employed by someone who will sack him for perceived outrage. His performance is measured in how many CDs he sells, not how many people he does not manage to offend.

        Imus' performance is measured in ad dollars. Nothing more. Some majors pulled out, he got sacked.
        • Two different sorts of popularity contests. One has to sell CDs, the other one has to avoid upsetting too many (powerful) people.
        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *
          It could also be that CBS and MSNBC just got tired of Imus' stupid cowboy hat, his crypt-keeper face and the fact that he mumbles all the time.

          I mean, really, a radio announcer who has terrible diction. What a concept!
    • If you criticise someone in your own group with emotive language you can get away with it. If you go after somebody else in a group you have nothing to do with the same sort of language is a deadly insult. This is also in the land that went bezerk over a nipple so extreme reactions can be expected - see what I mean - I've just put the readers on the USA on the defensive.
    • by pla (258480) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @07:17AM (#18730085) Journal
      Moral outrage

      No. Mock indignation, so everyone can try to look "less racist" than everyone else.

      Even his worst detractors don't seriously consider him a racist - Just another shock-jock using racially-charged language to make a buck.



      Just as racist, just as misogynistic, just as insensitive.

      C'mon, hasn't Chris Rock taught you anything? We show racial insensitivity. They (and it doesn't matter which "they" you refer to), as a repressed minority, subvert our vitriol to sardonically weaken our merciless blows.



      Gimme a break. I thought the left at least gave lip service to freedom of speech

      Nah, the right pretends to care about the bill of rights. The left pretends to care about "the children". Neither really does, of course, but let's get our pack-delusions straight here. ;-)



      And FTR, I don't listen to his show (though I have left it perhaps three or four times while scanning channels, to listen to one of his guests)
    • by stinerman (812158) <nathan.stine@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Saturday April 14, 2007 @07:19AM (#18730097) Homepage
      No, this is the nanny-state "why can't we all get along" PC left that conservatives like to think is all that makes up the Democratic party.

      This is manufactured outrage pure and simple. No one really thinks Imus had an intent to cause anyone grief. Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson need their names to be in the headlines at all times because they're media whores; that's their job. And of course the white PC left had to be just as outraged to prove to everyone that they aren't racists.

      Imus was was just making an observation that the Rutgers team was mostly black and looked like gang members due to their tattoos. He phrased it in a politically incorrect manner, which is what got him canned. I believe it was George Carlin who said that language is neutral. It is intent that makes something offensive or not. Imus's intent was to make the point that the Rutgers team was more butch than the Tennessee players in a humorous way.

      Of course, as you say if black people use those words in a derogatory manner, society gives them a pass (in fact, popular black culture seems to encourage their use). Either words are ok for everyone to use or they are ok for no one to use. Double standards are bullshit, plain and simple.

      I'm white. I'm liberal. I'm not a racist. I thought it was funny. Anyone who was seriously offended by his remarks needs to grow up.
      • by servognome (738846) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @07:58AM (#18730279)

        Of course, as you say if black people use those words in a derogatory manner, society gives them a pass (in fact, popular black culture seems to encourage their use). Either words are ok for everyone to use or they are ok for no one to use. Double standards are bullshit, plain and simple.
        As you said, whether or not something is offensive falls on intent. If you use derogatory language against your own race, you're given a pass because it's obvious the intent is not there.
        To paraphrase Chris rock - If you call your kid an f'ing moron it's acceptable, if someone else calls your kid that you're going to be upset.

        I'm hispanic, moderate. I didn't think it was funny, I also didn't think it was offensive. Kinda a throw away remark if you listen to it in context. Taken out of context it could be seen as offensive, I guess. What's sad is how media has become so huge and competitive, they will disect every single word to try and create a story.
        • While I agree with Chris Rock's statement, he doesn't live by his own rules. His shows are filled with "cracker" and "honkey" references, certainly not comments directed as his own race.
        • That's the waves of the media, all reactions are overblown. I bet, soon 'poor Imus' will find a new and better job. Or, if he dies out of poverty someone will get rich by writing a book out of it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          But you have to remember that it is not illegal to be offensive. You are allowed to be offended under free speech and expression. That is the entire idea of protected speech and expression.

          What he said was not an FCC violation in any shape or form. He could have said "nappy headed niggers" and it still would be legal.

          Frankly the FCC's regulation of certain words is a fucking criminal act in my opinion. The FCC violates our civil liberties by doing this... But here's the wierd part.. The FCC allows the use o
      • by asninn (1071320)

        Of course, as you say if black people use those words in a derogatory manner, society gives them a pass (in fact, popular black culture seems to encourage their use). Either words are ok for everyone to use or they are ok for no one to use. Double standards are bullshit, plain and simple.

        You only say that because you aren't and never have been on the receiving end of these things. Case in point: I'm gay, myself. When a gay friend of mine walks up to me and says "hey, what's up, you fag", I won't mind;

        • Maybe, but you're not the one who's been discriminated against, verbally abused, beaten up and sometimes even murdered in cold blood, so who are you to talk?

          Oh? As a white guy, I can safely walk through a black gang neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles?

          Oh wait, I actually WAS beaten up and ripped off in my supposedly safe neighborhood and it wasn't even South Central! I thought that since I'm white and heterosexual, I'm immune from all that!

          Sheesh, grow up and quit being a whiny victim. EVERYONE is hated by some group for some irrational reason.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, 2007 @07:23AM (#18730121)
      What do you actually think "freedom of speech" means? Hint: It does not mean nobody can stop you from insulting people on company time. Every time such stories come up here, I'm really a bit put off by the stupidity of the "freedom of speech" yelling that comes up. If the guy had had to go to jail, your comment might makes sense. He didn't, so it doesn't.
    • by youbiquitous (150681) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @07:44AM (#18730209)

      As soon as I heard about the comments made by Imus, I told my friends he would be suspended or shitcanned and that his defenders would compare his remarks to hip-hop lyrics and blame the liberals for his troubles. As a 65 year old white guy, you don't get to appropriate the language of hip-hop. Throwing some hip-hop slang into your sentences does not make you sound hip and edgy, it just makes you sound like a jackass.

      Bizarrely, Imus seems to have been expressing admiration for the Rugers team. Listen to a recording of what he said - it doesn't sound like he's trying to insult or show contempt.

    • by argStyopa (232550) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @07:58AM (#18730277) Journal
      Agreed. But what troubles me the most from the above summary was the phrase "A 26-year-old researcher in Washington, D.C., for liberal watchdog organization Media Matters for America, he was assigned to monitor Mr. Imus's program."

      So from the *very* beginning, this was not a case of listeners being morally outraged; it was a matter of a leftish organization waiting for a conservative radio talk show host to say something that they could use politically. Granted, everyone knows that both sides do this and on a purely tactical level, it was idiotic of Mr. Imus to GIVE them material to work with. But does anyone else object to this? Who *wouldn't* run afoul of the the Thought Police if they had people "assigned" to monitor their speech?

      Ironic and probably surprising to some that it was the Left (generally positioned as the side most concerned with Free Speech issues) who issued this particular politi-fatwa.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by asninn (1071320)
        I'm not sure exactly what you're disapproving of, to be honest. Did anyone falsely claim that this was caught by an average Joe Sixpack who just happened to listen to the program by pure coincidence?

        I haven't been following the whole thing too closely, so maybe someone did - and I agree that that, assuming it happened, was/would have been bad. But outside of that, I just can't see the problem.

        Radio shows like that are meant to be listened to, so the fact that these folks listened to this one can't be the pr
      • by c6gunner (950153) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @10:37AM (#18731301)

        Ironic and probably surprising to some that it was the Left (generally positioned as the side most concerned with Free Speech issues) who issued this particular politi-fatwa.
        Not surprising at all, since "the left" is responsible for most of the speech repression in our society, as well as for the vast majority of university speech codes. The theory goes something like this: you're free to say anything you want as long as it's supportive of overthrowing the Bush administration, or wiping Israel off the map. If you fail to support those two causes, you're a neoconbushitlernazi and must be silenced ASAP.

        Just look at the controversy you're talking about. Minority groups and traditionally "liberal" organizations were asking for this guy's head on a pole, while conservatives like Michelle Malkin were defending him. And Don Imus is a liberal!! This isn't a case of partisan politics, but it should be a clear indication of which political ideology is more supportive of free speech.
    • Imus, middle-aged white guy, abused his privileged position in a stupid (not funny) attack on people who really "don't deserve it" (quote from Imus's own words).

      OF COURSE IT MATTERS WHO YOU ARE!

      Can you imagine language like this from President Bush? The Pope? How about a teacher? At the other extreme, we expect rappers to come out with hurtful foul language, and just look at the result: some people seem to think that that makes it ok for Imus. The law applies equally, at least in principle, but sta
    • by couchslug (175151)
      "And this was a liberal watchdog group? Gimme a break. I thought the left at least gave lip service to freedom of speech."

      "LIBERAL" = "Leftist". We don't have any more classical Liberals and Conservatives.

      Also, anything done within African-American culture is beyond criticism or comment or observation outside its membership. The proper way for non-Africans to discuss such things is offline and out-of-range.

      • "The proper way for non-Africans to discuss such things is offline and out-of-range."

        And thanks to Jesse and Al there are now potentially 2.5 million more people discussing these issues "out-of-range". The KKK and others of like thinking, must love every time Jesse and Al get involved, because they are those groups best "recruiters".
    • by rschwa (89030)
      I think a big difference here is that DMX is talking about Hoes in general.

      Imus was talking about someone's teenage daughter.
    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *
      Freedom of speech means being able to say that someone else's remarks are unacceptable. Freedom of speech also means being able to say that I think somebody deserves to be fired. I'm liberal as hell, and I think Michael Savage should shut his mouth, and I still believe in free speech. If you can't see how those positions are consistent, you're not half as smart as you think you are.

      Liberal does not mean that you stand silent when a public figure uses racist, misogynist speech.

      "Freedom of Speech" refers to
  • by eventhorizon82G (954828) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @06:44AM (#18729953)
    This is certainly something that we, as a country, should not be proud of. It is a horrible sign of the times we live in that we have so-called watchdog groups hiring people to monitor radio and television broadcasts for "offensive" material for the sole purpose of attempting to rally their censorship team to fire the person who had the audacity to let loose an insensitive remark. What happened to the mentality of "I hate everything you stand for and have to say but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."? Unfortunately this issue is endemic in the United States today. There are very large segments of the population of a wide range of ethnicities that cross party lines who simply are looking for any excuse to be offended and recoil in mock outrage; they are tearing this country apart at the seams.
    • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Saturday April 14, 2007 @07:34AM (#18730163) Homepage

      What happened to the mentality of "I hate everything you stand for and have to say but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."?

      That mentality is still around. People have a right to say what they want, the government is not getting involved here and imprisoning Imus. However, though Imus has a right to say whatever he wants, other people have the right to make their displeasure know and convince his employer that continuing to employ Imus would be detrimental to their business.

    • What happened to the mentality of "I hate everything you stand for and have to say but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."?
      I defend your right to say it, however, I will also use my freedom of speech to voice my displeasure at your comments. It is then the right of those who give you a national radio show and sponsorship to decide whether or not they want to associate with you.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, 2007 @06:45AM (#18729959)
    There is a lesson to be learned from all of this. When the PC police comes after you for denigrating people of the wrong race, gender, etc ... show some spine! Apologies and visits with Al Sharpton, et al did nothing to prevent him from spiralling into unemployment. Now he is a loser in everyone's eyes. If he had said something like "I refuse to apologize! Looking back it was kind of a dumb thing to say but I say dumb things sometimes, so deal with it! Any harm on these girls is the doing of the media, not me, since they weren't listening to my show," well he'd still have a lot of enemies but he'd at least have the respect of the subset of Americans who believes you can call somebody with nappy hair "nappy-headed" without having committed some kind of capital crime.
  • by Bryan Ischo (893) * on Saturday April 14, 2007 @06:46AM (#18729963) Homepage
    It seems like every day there are two or three stories on Slashdot that try to hype up the importance of "blogging". Why, just because someone put a really retarded sounding name on the concept of writing web pages, is blogging such a hyped thing?

    It reminds me of the early days of Slashdot, when *anything* having to do with Linux was featured in big bold headlines like it was a miracle. This has toned down a little bit over the years but even today the hype factor for Linux on this site is a bit annoying (and I am a huge fan of Linux, it's the reason I started reading Slashdot back in '97 - despite the hyping of everything Linux, it was a good place to get news when such news sources were scarce).

    I can't shake the feeling that people who don't really understand "them Internets" hear a word that has no meaning - "blog" - and assume that it just must be something really cool and important. Because really, it isn't. I nearly hurled at the idiocy of it all the first time I heard the word "blogosphere".
    • by dsanfte (443781)
      Friended, because you also despise the word "blog".
    • Well, my eyes roll when someone starts foaming at the mouth about blogosphere revolution and such. I am with you, but unfortunately it looks like it's here to stay. Part of the problem is that technology finally got easy enough to be actively used by the mouth-foaming types - hence all the hype. Another issue is that we didn't come up with a better name initially.
      There was homepage, for instance, but that's a bit different and takes longer to pronounce.
  • by edwardpickman (965122) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @06:47AM (#18729973)
    I think Don Imus should get credit for his own firing. Reporters spurred it on but it was Imus's comments that lead to the firing. I just think it's rediculous how shocked everyone was. The guy in the past never hid his racist views. The network yanked his chain in recent years but he finally reverted to his old style of commentary. The shocking thing wasn't he got fired it was how he lasted this long.
    • by debest (471937) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @08:50AM (#18730587)
      It wasn't his comment that got him fired. Like you said, he's apparently said lots of similar (perhaps worse) stuff on his program before. If it was the comment that got him fired, then by that logic he would have been fired years ago.

      No, here's what led him to getting fired...
      1) He makes an inappropriate, racist comment.
      2) Someone senses opportunity to make political hay and gets the mainstream media involved.
      3) Sharpton and Jackson get indignant and get more media involved.
      4) ** Major advertisers start pulling out of Imus' show **
      5) Imus is fired.

      Imus does *not* get fired unless #4 happens. To WFAN and MSNBC, this is strictly about money, nothing else. When the controversy started, they mostly just poo-pooed the critism of Imus. When the firestorm started in earnest, they suspended him for two weeks (hoping that this action would quell the controversy, and Imus could go back to being host of their top show). But when it didn't stop and the networks started seeing real dollar losses as a result of sponsers pulling out, it was over. No major sponsers were ever going to be associated with Imus ever again, and he instantly became an albatros to the networks' bottom line. Whoever replaces him permanently will probably not get the same ratings as Imus would have. Hell, his ratings now would be *huge*. But ratings aren't the issue: it's revenue, and if no one wants their name attached to Imus, he's toast.

      All the racist comments in the world would not have gotten Imus fired. All the indignation in the world would not have gotten Imus fired. Money got him fired.
  • Please say it ain't so. Get of the Don Imus nonsense already.
  • FUCK off (Score:3, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @06:58AM (#18730013) Homepage Journal
    So, black rappers, black people, and other such and such groups are going to use some offensive slang ant it wont be counted as offensive, but when a white person uses them it will be SO bad an offense that it will cause them to be fired.

    see, im a humanist. many of you morons in those watchdog groups do not know about danton, erasmus, rousseau, french revolution and what brought human civilization to this point in the scale of civility, but i do.

    im also kinda a hippie. i dont condone divisions, labelings, agression and such.

    i am also liberal. i want any group to live as they please as long as they dont become harmful.

    so with all these qualifications, to the watchdog that caused this shit and the other watchdog groups who are supposedly maintain a vigile for civility, i tell this on that matter :

    FUCK YOU.

    morons. this is the point where your or any minorities' sensitivities and rights end.

    you like any other group of the society are NOT allowed to discriminate. If some black person CAN use the a slang, a white man or an indian can ALSO use that slang. Carve these words into your heads.

    from now on, i also will be using that slang, not because i particularly need to, but only for idiots like you, in your grand stupidity and ignorance, have offended ME and my freedoms as a human being, and i dont condone any group, black or white, to have more freedoms than me. if you dont like what you see below, you will have to stop black people saying those before ever having a chance of stopping me.

    so, fuck of bitches, stop being a hoe and straighten up your black/white ass before some other guyz in the hood sorts those out with da' baskets.
    • I know no nation outside the us that has a separate dialect for people of african descent.

      "ebonics" is rooted in racist practices (forced submission to white schemas of "black inferiority", denial of education, the list goes on and on).

      it is at the same time promoted by and derided in mainstream america, with the obvious ulterior motive of promoting separatism.

      weather it either supplants "normal" dialect, or is killed off, it should be eliminated as a separate dialect.
      • I'm don't understand what you're saying here. We should force people to speak "white" English? What kind of white English? The New England variant? Midwestern? Southern? I vote for Midwestern, myself.

        I'm of the opinion that the separate dialect exists because of poor schooling facilities for blacks until just recently, especially in the South. I think its still in use and will continue to be in use as a way of distinguishing themselves among the masses. Indeed, as I think you're trying to say, some
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by giorgiofr (887762)

      as long as they dont become harmful

      This is the root of all evil. It is *by definition* impossibile to grant freedom to people and restrict it at the same time. As soon as you put some restriction on people's freedom you have betrayed your ideals, according to what you say. PC idiots simply believe that speaking ill of someone is harmful. Apparently you don't, but this is just a matter of "how much freedom" rather than "freedom/slavery". In fact I'd argue that taxing my income is very harmful to me. But I don't expect you to let me live as I

      • but taxation is universal.

        if they attempted to make taxation only for white people, because black people were previously disenfranchised for hundreds of years, you'd have a fit, and rightfully so.

        he's not complaining about the right to use racist language, he's complaining about the double standard in which black people are allowed to use such derogatory language, but as soon as a white person uses it the room stops, and people pick up their torches and pitchforks to burn the witch.
        • by giorgiofr (887762)
          I might have missed his point (actually I didn't: taxation is most definitely NOT universal) but you missed mine: I was criticizing his self-defeating ideals of granting people freedom by limiting it.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by jahudabudy (714731)
            everyone can't possess all freedoms at once. If everyone possesses all freedoms, only the strongest truly have any freedom. If I can kill you without any consequences from others, and you are weaker than me, you have only the freedoms I allow you to have. The idea of granting freedom by limiting it is really the idea of maximizing everyones' real freedoms by reaching the ideal compromise. Of course, no one can agree where this compromise should be drawn.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by MechaBlue (1068636)
          It would be interesting to follow the transmission of the memes on the whole "thug life" culture. I'm betting that it's not coming from the NAACP. Is it from pop culture, such as movies and music? Take a step up the ladder and see who owns and runs the studios, labels, distributors, and stores. I'm betting that it's not the artists and it's not the guy with the baggy pants, G-Unit shirt, and a swagger.

          Is it okay for these pop icons, and their fans, to be using such language? I would imagine that man
      • by Goaway (82658)
        It is *by definition* impossibile to grant freedom to people and restrict it at the same time.

        The world sure is a simple place when you're young, huh?
        • by giorgiofr (887762)
          Thanks for the needless jab, now please substantiate your argument, if you have one, or get lost.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Hey dumb ass, you should be able to tell the difference between a person who is trying to be offensive to a whole culture and someone who isn't. Furthermore, no one is limiting your freedom. No one limited that dick who just got fired either. You have the freedom to say whatever the fuck you want and so can he. But that doesn't mean that people can't complain about it or that his bosses can't fire him if they think his actions are going to bring ratings down or lose them ad revenue.

      In addition, just becaus
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fermion (181285)
      First, I do support the right of entertainers to engage in language and activities of questionable value. Musicians,comedians, actors, Matt & Trey, etc, all engage in protected speech.

      Given that, even though this was a so-called white-on-black thing, I do not think the issue is particularly racial. And I do not think, in the end, Imus was fired for racist remarks, or that the indignation was primarily a result of the racist nature of those remarks. I believe what got Imus fired, and what was shown

    • Re:FUCK off (Score:4, Insightful)

      by asninn (1071320) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @09:02AM (#18730661)

      That's ridiculous. Of course Imus is free to say whatever he wants; but of course, people are just as free to disapprove of it, and - and this is important - the station he worked for is just as free to fire him for it.

      you like any other group of the society are NOT allowed to discriminate.

      Utter rubbish. Of course I'm allowed to discriminate, and so's Imus. The ones who are NOT allowed to discrimate are the government - no matter whether it's the federal, the states', or whatever.

      The only exception to this is discrimination by private parties in public places - see e.g. Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States [wikipedia.org]. But to attempt to construe from that that a radio station can't fire a talk show host because the language he used is similar to the language some random other people who happen to be black use... that's ridiculous.

    • by Reverberant (303566) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @11:25AM (#18731731) Homepage

      So, black rappers, black people, and other such and such groups are going to use some offensive slang ant it wont be counted as offensive, but when a white person uses them it will be SO bad an offense that it will cause them to be fired.

      "Black people"? I'm black. My family and friends are black. We will not tolerate the use of those words in out presence. I think you meant to say "some black people."

      Rappers? Yep, many do use those words. And believe it or not, both Al and Jesse, as well as many other influential blacks like Oprah, Rosa Parks, Bill Cosby and Chuck D have been been going after [freerepublic.com] misogynistic [fradical.com] and violent [daveyd.com] lyrics for some time [nobodysmiling.com]

      So why is this stuff so pervasive in rap music? This movie [pbs.org] address the question, and the answer is simple: because it sells. Kirk Franklin [wikipedia.org] and Yolanda Adams [wikipedia.org] can produce all kinds of uplifting music, but as long as Eminem and 50 Cent sell 10 million albums, people are going to make music in that vein - and by the way, once a rap album crosses the 750,000 sales mark, it's not just black people buying it.

      Just like in the Imus case: follow the money. The same people who are suing grandmothers are also the ones facilitating the production, marketing and distribution.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    As much as I dislike Imus for his inability to speak (he's sort of like the DJ version of Bob Dylan) and the unimaginativeness of his show, I can't help but feel for the guy here. I don't think he exercised the greatest judgement in the statement he made, but you know what? Who gives a crap? People open mouth and insert foot every day. Honestly, he's probably said a lot worse things with a lot fewer negative repercussions. I think they're hanging the guy for what's really a non-issue.

    So some girls at Rutger
    • by xs650 (741277)
      "So some girls at Rutgers got their feelings hurt. I hate to tell them, but it's not going to be the last time in their lives that happens. In the grand scheme of things? If this is the worst insult they ever have had in their short lives, and if this is the worst insult they ever get... they're going to be the luckiest people on earth. I was called worse by the time I was six."

      I wonder if those young ladies are thinking about the fact that Imus used his shows as a platform to raise millions of dollars for
  • Disturbing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @07:23AM (#18730119) Journal
    Not that I am a fan of Imus nor am I defending him. But I am very much disturbed that a paid blogger hounded Imus and "created" this much outrage. This does not bode well for the net, the on line communities. How many in the blogosphere are really saying what they believe in? How many are paid spouting off the views of their paymasters? How many such paid hatchet people are creating multiple handles and ids to inflate the numbers, so to speak? I hope every true, not paid posters in /. would come to see this blogger as a threat, unless, of course, he has stated and disclosed clearly he was paid to blog.
  • by MechaBlue (1068636) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @07:25AM (#18730127)
    Is freedom of speech the ability to say whatever I want, wherever and whenever I want, to whomever I want, in a private or public venue, without justification or repercussion? Or is freedom of speech about the ability to advance unpopular ideas, particularly those that are critical of powerful bodies, such as the government.

    The man makes a racist comment on a syndicated talk show and someone heard it. No shock there. This person was recording the show and passed on portions that were of interest to other people. Like Slashdot, Digg, and other information aggregators and disseminators. People took particular offense to the issue which, given a long history of slavery, segregation, and discrimination didn't sit too well. Then the invisible hand of the free market came down upon the companies that were making millions from this talk show and said that it was completely unacceptable. Rather than lose more money, the companies cut their losses.

    A few casually racist words on the air may not seem like much but it does imply that racism is okay. It reinforces the idea in the minds of the public and it tacitly condones actions like this: http://www.texasnaacp.org/jasper.htm [texasnaacp.org].

    Brewer testified Berry then pulled a logging chain out of his truck bed and tied it to Byrd's limp body.

    "I said personally, 'You're not going to drag this man like you did that mailbox?'" Brewer said. "And he said, 'I know where we're taking him.'"

    Berry backed up over Byrd's body, then drove along the dark roads.

    "I told Shawn again, 'Pull over and take the man off ' the chain, Brewer testified. "He said, 'We're almost there. Don't worry.'"

    They stopped in front of a predominantly black church, where the remainders of Byrd's body were left.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      What racist words? Saying that a bball team looks like gansters and calling them nappy headed hos is just normal slagging. The whole nappy headed insult is a target of opportunity and has nothing to do with skin color.
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RF9BjB7Bzr0 [youtube.com]

    See what you think. As always, context is everything.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by TwoUtes (1075403)
      Yep, context is everything. Calling one group of predominantly black women cute is far less newsworthy than calling another group of predominantly black women nappy headed ho's.
      Once again, we the people have allowed Sharpton, Jackson, et. al. to ruin someone for mere words.
      Remember "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me"?
  • > 'At 6:14 a.m. on Wednesday, April 4, relatively few people were tuned into the
    > "Imus in the Morning Show" ... Ryan Chiachiere was. A 26-year-old researcher in
    > Washington, D.C., for liberal watchdog organization Media Matters for America,
    > he was assigned to monitor Mr. Imus's program. Mr. Chiachiere clipped the video,
    > alerted his bosses and started working on a blog post for the organization's Web
    > site.' The article breaks down how that viral video clip and word of mouth outrage
    >
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, 2007 @07:49AM (#18730229)
    After the radical and rabid years of the forceful rigging of every media by the Moral Watchdogs of the Right, "Focus on the Family" et al., stomping everything that doesn't match their party rhetoric into the dirt, savaging the freedom of speech for decades, getting not just individuals fired but whole companies shut down, one, single, solitary Rightie Radio host steps down when he was obviously a few weeks from retirement anyway, and oh-how-you-all-yell now at the injustice.

    Color you blue.

    Yes, mob rage obliterating free speech *is* a bad thing. Good point. We'll remind you of that when the wholesale slaughter of the free media which you happen not to agree with continues tomorrow.
  • by Spirald (9569) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @07:50AM (#18730237)
    I'm hearing a lot about this story from the perspective of Imus being singled out for saying "nappy headed ho", whereas others (insert random Hip Hop artist here) are not "fired" for saying similar things. This meme appears to be diverting much attention and energy from the both the actual cause of the outrage, and, conveniently for those politicians concerned, from an steaming pile of accumulating scandals in the US executive branch.

    IMHO, the actual cause of the outrage is that Imus made an unprovoked derogatory slur on national media against a -specific- group of women, simply because they were female and black. This was basically a public sucker punch against an innocent group of actual, real life young women with parents, relatives and friends.

    Can anyone here reasonably say that if a popular, well known personality, on national TV and radio, called your wife or daughter or good friend a (insert race specific stereotype) (insert culture specific derogatory slang for whore), you wouldn't want to defend them at least by complaining to their employer? What if this crap was directed against your team, business, or place of worship?

    Somehow this is getting played into making folks look like they're supporting censorship, and it appears to be some sort of insidious dividing tactic that splits folks into the false dichotomy of "if you don't support commercialized hate speech, you support big brother censorship". Man, we are so getting played here.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Hubbell (850646)
      I wouldn't. I'd laugh, probably agree with them as I knew it was in jest, or even if it wasn't responding as if it was in jest is how you kill the insult at it's roots. I'd call the person an asshole or something similar, and leave it at that. There used to be a saying back when I was little (20 in a month) and it was around long before me, it goes something like this:
      Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.
  • by joedoc (441972) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @08:25AM (#18730393) Homepage
    When conservatives raised hell in 2004 regarding Ted Rall's racist depiction of Condoleezza Rice in one of his cartoons [gocomics.com], the reaction was curious. The issue was largely ignored by most of the media, and the conservative commentators, websites and blogs that did rail against it were pretty much told to just shut up. Rall's cartoons are still carried by his syndicate and many newspapers.

    Someone posted comments earlier about the alleged irony that a "liberal watchdog group" pulled the trigger on the Imus fiasco. But the real scary thing is the working of one sentence in the story:

    A 26-year-old researcher in Washington, D.C., for liberal watchdog organization Media Matters for America, he was assigned to monitor Mr. Imus's program.

    Wow. "...assigned to monitor Mr. Imus..."

    Now, since my liberal friends and foes are always screaming about the alleged erosion of their constitutional rights, and some believe it's necessary to make specious claims, such as comparing George Bush and Hitler, doesn't it concern anyone that this "liberal media group" is "assigning" their staff to "monitor" radio personalities? Do you not have a picture of a room full of people, hunched over their desks with headsets on, pen in hand, jotting down any comments they perceive to be offensive to someone? Then reporting to some self-proclaimed arbiter of political and social correctness for action?

    I have to wonder what else they plan to "monitor" if their like-minded compatriots ever regain full political power.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Now, since my liberal friends and foes are always screaming about the alleged erosion of their constitutional rights, and some believe it's necessary to make specious claims, such as comparing George Bush and Hitler, doesn't it concern anyone that this "liberal media group" is "assigning" their staff to "monitor" radio personalities?

      Nope.

      How do you not get this? What's the problem with a private media watchdog group watching and listening to the media? There is no conflict with anyone's constituti

  • Imus has been labled as a "Shock Jock" for years. He and Stern have made a living off of trying to piss off/offend as many as possible, that's their job! So he fires up the wrong group and gets fired? So many people have gotten so over sensitive about everything nobody can tell a joke without getting in trouble. Face it in the U.S. these days white men are the only group your alowed to make fun of without getting stomped. This whole dishonest Politicaly Correct thing has gotten ridiculous. Maybe most folks
  • The irony is... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ogemaniac (841129) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @08:53AM (#18730601)
    MSNBC, CBS, and any companies which pubically backed out of advertising on his show before it was cancelled are now on my personal list of companies with whom I will not associate with. And yes, I have written them letters and hope they get the message that giving into PC whiners will cost them business as well.

    Barring something really important, I will not watch MSNBC or CBS for six months. Lesser punishments have been dealt to P&G, Sprint, GM, and Staples. I am sure there were more but those are the ones I saw somewhere.

    Sure, Imus is a loud-mouth idiot who says all sorts of ridiculous things. He offends just about everybody at some point. I am so sick of certain communities screaming bloody murder when THEY are offended that I now WANT them to be offended as often and thoroughly as possible. They need to learn to get over it.
  • by dirtyhippie (259852) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @09:15AM (#18730733) Homepage
    As someone who used to work for Media Matters, I can tell you there is a whole lot wrong with this writeup in the WSJ.

    For starters, there is nothing approaching blogging involved. Media Matters has hired a number of prominent bloggers to work with them, but an organization with offices on K Street [wikipedia.org] in Washington DC, with a staff of about 50, is a far stretch from what folks think of when they think of a blogger. The researchers write their articles to a very precise formula, and then the editorial staff "correct" them and the process goes back and forth quite a number of times before anything is published. Not exactly what the image of the term blogger conjures up, but Media Matters sure likes when people make that mistake.

    What's happening here is not Media Matters discovering this horrible outrage and then alerting the rest of the world to it - what's happening is Media Matters trying to take credit for Imus's firing because they monitored his show. They monitor dozens of shows per day, and pick up every off color comment like this and document it over and over again [mediamatters.org].

    Now, if you buy the stereotyped liberal "whiner" point of view, this is indicative of the whole media being a bunch of foul-mouthed bigots [mediamatters.org]. And said bigots having a whole lot of staying power for not getting shit-canned more often. But if you think about it for a second, it's really just Media Matters shooting a spray of bullets, pointing out every time anyone says anything off color, and then taking credit when people get outraged about it because they documented it "first".

    The unfortunate thing is that lots of well meaning and powerful leftist funders give Media Matters money because they fail to see this subterfuge, or maybe because they are "whining liberals" themselves.

    It's really more indicative of a more general problem in Washington DC - folks there think that everything that happens in our democracy can be traced back to some pressure group inside the beltway. They don't believe in this thing called "grassroots". I wish I could say they are fools, but reluctantly I must admit that they are frighteningly close to correct in many cases - but not this one.
  • by jfengel (409917) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @09:18AM (#18730747) Homepage Journal
    There is no free speech on the radio, or on TV. There never has been. There is only a limited amount of bandwidth, and the US government regulates its use. It leases out that bandwidth at an absurdly low rate in exchange for it being used nominally for the public good. In the US Government's opinion that means no swearing and being careful about whom you insult.

    Imus is perfectly free to say all of this in his living room, on a soap box in the park, and just about anywhere else. That's the first amendment. He's not free to broadcast it on the air. That's regulating the air waves.

    It's time for you all to worry less about (heavens to betsy!) Political Correctness and start lobbying to take back the air waves. They go to a very limited set of very rich corporations who reap enormous profits, especially when they push the FCC's regulations as far as they will go. These airwaves are a lot more valuable than that.

    Use them for Internet access, which IS a true free speech zone. Connect it to landlines and you can reach the whole world with your offensive crap. Everybody, not just some overpaid asshole.

"If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in the library?" -- Lily Tomlin

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