Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

From MSNBC:
NBC News President Steve Capus released this statement late Monday: "Beginning Monday, April 16, MSNBC will suspend simulcasting the syndicated `Imus in the Morning' radio program for two weeks. This comes after careful consideration in the days since his racist, abhorrent comments were made. Don Imus has expressed profound regret and embarrassment and has made a commitment to listen to all of those who have raised legitimate expressions of outrage. In addition, his dedication -- in his words -- to change the discourse on his program moving forward, has confirmed for us that this action is appropriate. Our future relationship with Imus is contingent on his ability to live up to his word."
So he's not axed, but a measure has been taken. A progressive probably would have just been axed. When it does return, I wonder how long it will be before he makes the remark that gets him fired.

Tags: Don Imus, free speech, Media, misogyny, racism (all tags)

Comments

47 Comments

Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

If the FCC wants to keep vulgarity off the regulated air, start with Imus.

by Stuart Shaffer 2007-04-09 03:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

I usually have MSNBC on in the morning while getting ready for work (until TIVO kicks it over to record my kids' shows).  The show format always seemed to emulate what I would call "barber shop logic" in which 4 or 5, in this case, white men (but it could be black men or women, etc.) create an echo chamber in which they come to easily believe they've got life figured out and everyone else is a moron.  It always seemed a reckless to broadcast such a show on MSNBC where other demographics might easily stumble across it.  

The segments where they speak to Harold Ford or Andrea Mitchell are, frankly, never very elightening.  Imus projects the image of a straight talker, but his show usually provides a safe harbor for talking points of whoever shows up. These 'hard news' interviews serve mostly as setups for the kibitzing among the Imus crew after the they sign off.  The humor in these b.s. sessions, while smarter than the average 'radio morning zoo', is usually soured by the smugness of the entire cast (a problem for any radio show with a syndication deal).

Since I am a white guy, I'm pretty much inured to this particular flavor of barbershop logic.  I've been on the margins of these conversations my entire life.  And it is still, by far, the dominent voice in American media.  However, my wife's distaste for Imus' show registers pretty quickly whenever she happens to pass within hearing distance indicates there is something fouler there.  

I didn't hear the comments about the Rutgers basketball team for myself in the context of the show broadcast...and news accounts already filtered ans spun it.  So, although they are indeed offensive I unfortunately can't know if this comment would have registered to my ears as any more offensive than the steady stream of borderline comments on which the entire show is built.

The show is offensive and should not contu=inue in its current form.

His apology was sincere. The manufactured outrage of some media figures is less so, but since it is in service to pointing out a real offense with real victims, Imus is just going to have to take his lumps.

Should he still have a media outlet when the dust settles? I.don't.care.

by cargocult 2007-04-10 01:29AM | 0 recs
Seems reasonable

2 week suspension sounds about right.  It was an abhorrent and stupid comment, but no one was physically injured.

by dataguy 2007-04-09 03:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Seems reasonable

So, let's see if I've got this right...if no one suffers a PHYSICAL INJURY then a mere slap on the wrist (i.e., 2-week vacation) is fine. Is that your point?

So if your daughter were on the Rutgers team and got "tarred" with that same brush as "nappy-headed hos," "jingaboos," or "hard-core hos" it'd be just fine and jim dandy, correct?

Or, if someone uttered those words to your wife, daughter, or mother over the telephone, it'd be hunky-dory, right?

Or, if a group of kids put those words beside your daughter's picture of myspace or facebook, it'd be expression of free speech, true?

After all, no one got PHYSICALLY hurt.

~Sigh~

by GaPeach103 2007-04-10 12:31AM | 0 recs
Not sure

I think that if somebody publicly insulted one of my children for no good reason, I'd consider a public rebuke by their boss, repudiation of their comments, and loss of two weeks salary to be a pretty fair response.

If it was something that really defamed one of my children, I might be suing for more, but for using a slur word, it seems like it's being taken appropriately seriously, actually.

I do wish that racist language was considered anti-social behavior on the societal level, though. I wouldn't want to see it criminalized, because I believe in free speech; but I think people who talk like that ought to be socially shunned and lose the respect of the people around them. It seems like a lot of celebrities get away with saying things like that these days, without many people treating it like a horrible breach of etiquette or anything. :/

by tjekanefir 2007-04-10 06:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

I wonder how long it will be before he makes the remark that gets him fired.

For years, I have been wondering the same thing about George Bush.  Dont hold your breath.

by Winston Smith 2007-04-09 03:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

This is a positive step, and I'd agree it was appropriate if this was an isolated incident, but it isn't.  This is just the first time he's been called on it.

by MassEyesandEars 2007-04-09 03:31PM | 0 recs
If IMUS want to degrade folks...

get a contract like Howard Stern did on XM or Sirius Radio where you can say whatever you freakin' want and listners pay 12.95 a month to hear you sounding like an absolute idiot.  Other than that, he is on public media waves and the FCC need stringent rules on what is acceptable on the airwaves and what is not.  Remember, his offensive statements were heard on television, my kids heard what he said as they were eating breakfast.  (That is another story)

He is being suspended to take the heat off.  MSNBC is giving Westwood One a chance to bring in another producer, yes that is right, we are talking about Corporate America where someone has to take the fall and it is Bernard.  Bernard will get a package, but when Imus is back on MSNBC, it will be with a new producer and the reigns will be tighten considerably.

Imus is a lucky, "you know what", because after seeing him today all I can say is that Imus gave the "best apology tour" I have ever heard.  See what happens when you are almost 70 and your $$$ are about to be snatched!!

by icebergslim 2007-04-09 03:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

Two weeks is not acceptable.

by alarabi7 2007-04-09 03:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

Agreed. I want him gone.

by ObamaEdwards2008 2007-04-09 04:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

seems fair, he's a comedian and he crossed the line big time but he was trying to be funny , he wasn't a politician using race as wedge which bothers me alot more than Imus, Rush says worse things on a daily basis and he's not making jokes, i don't think he should lose his show over it as his apoligy and charitable works should mean something.

by nevadadem 2007-04-09 03:37PM | 0 recs
He made a racist joke

Ask Michael Richards how good an idea that is for a so-called comedian.

by boadicea 2007-04-09 03:44PM | 0 recs
Re: He made a racist joke

I have to agree with Nevadadem. Imus has done a lot of good things, not the least of which was making sure that GOP hack sleazeball J.D. Hayworth DID NOT get re-elected. And his good works should count for something. He's apologized, and MSNBC has sanctioned him (my wife said she heard CBS has also suspended him for two weeks as well). Sounds fair to me. He's pledged a change. I hope one of those changes is to resume the show without Bernard.

by gas28man 2007-04-09 05:43PM | 0 recs
Re: He made a racist joke

Do not excuse him on the basis of being an entertainer, nor because he does do some good things with the kids at his ranch.

If he changes his behavior on air, then he gets another chance.

But I do not believe he is willing to change.  He'll have to prove it.

by boadicea 2007-04-09 07:07PM | 0 recs
Did he learn anything?

He posed a question to himself in this hypothetical dialogue:

And you might say, Well, if that's all true, why would you say this?  You know, I don't know why I said it.  We are trying to be funny, but does that make it okay?  Of course not.

He doesn't know why...amazing. If I--or any of us-- make a serious mistake during our employment, we better know why we made the mistake.

Imus' profession is talking and he's paid a lot of money to do it. If he doesn't know why he said something, he'd better get a handle on it before he's allowed back on the air.

When he discovers the answer to his question, I suppose he won't like the answer.  Without using the these exact words, his apology says "See, I'm not a racist."  

Maybe he's not.

If he does seek and discover the answer to his own question, only then would I expect he has a chance of understanding his mistake and avoiding such mistakes in the future.

by sawgrass727 2007-04-09 08:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

If he's such a "comedian" where's the punch line?

~crickets chirping~

His apology isn't sufficient if people like you, and there are many, continue to believe that such remarks are harmless, that his comments were intended to be humorous, and that his charitable works offset his racism, homophobia, misogyny, and anti-Semitism. He has a long, well-documented history of similar remarks and even more abhorrent actions.  

Imus must be canned.

by GaPeach103 2007-04-10 12:45AM | 0 recs
For those two weeks.

MSNBC will be on my morning viewing schedule.

by boadicea 2007-04-09 03:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

I don't understand.  If the simulcast is suspended for two weeks, doesn't that mean he's still on the radio?  If that's the case, I'd hardly bill this as "Imus getting a two week suspension."

by Steve M 2007-04-09 03:43PM | 0 recs
Don't stop the pressure

Imus should be dropped.

by The Cunctator 2007-04-09 03:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension
Digby has a good take on this.  The call for more manners by bloggers yet, talk radio has pigs like this and limbaugh on who promote intolerance and hate for anyone not thinking and looking just like them.
They make fun of everyone except for white males and yet, the blogs are seen as places of impolite discourse.
right.  I don't see on the blogs - well left ones - that put down gender, race, cultures, ect.
The language is sometimes raw but, it is discourse with a certain respect for differences.
by vwcat 2007-04-09 04:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

I just don't get it.  I could never, never even think of stringing together the words that Imus said, let alone making a conscious decision to say them.  I could see letting an everyday curse word slip out while on air, since that's a vocabulary you use in your private life. (I mean a regular curse word, nothing racial.) But if he was able to formulate the adjectives and noun and then actually say those words on live radio and TV, what exactly does he say in private?  I would hate to hear it.

Didn't the meanest, evilest people in the world also do nice things?  Just because Imus does nice things doesn't excuse him.  A man beats his wife, but then is always buying her jewels and taking her to dinner.  Is the wife-beating excused because he does "nice" things?

I could see suspending Chris Matthews for saying the F word on Imus, because he knows better.  Imus' comments warranted meaningful consequences; firing.

by gooderservice 2007-04-09 05:08PM | 0 recs
I think this is what Jesus would have done

I don't think Jesus would have let Imus off the hook. Jesus was not racist; but he also preached forgiveness, so I believe Jesus would have given Imus a 2 week suspension.

by kingsbridge77 2007-04-09 05:13PM | 0 recs
Re: I think this is what Jesus would have done

Maybe "Jesus" at Bob Jones University would have given Imus a 2-week vacation, but "Jesus" at the my hometown Full Gospel Baptist church ~ like "Jesus" in the temple when he saw the money-changers ripping off people ~ would have told that sorry Don Imus, "Be gone. I know ye not. What you have said about the least of them, you said it about me." Then that same "Jesus" would smite Don Imus sorely.

by GaPeach103 2007-04-10 12:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

Dan Abrams and the rest of MSNBC has absolutely blasted Fox News for their comments today.

by mattmfm 2007-04-09 05:16PM | 0 recs
Looks like Rutgers University is looking...

at its "options".  They found Imus' comments horrid.  They may go after him, MSNBC, CBS, etc.

http://video.msn.com/v/us/msnbc.htm?g=f6 cb296b-f466-4398-983e-92541c820cef&f =00&fg=email

by icebergslim 2007-04-09 05:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

Who cares?  Why is this portrait of a blinking idiot an issue?

BC

by billcoop4 2007-04-09 06:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

It's beyond me why this man who has helped to degrade the political culture of any sort of civility or dignity is given a soap box to stand on. He has nothing to offer. He is neither informed, nor does he have any fresh or constructive perspective. He's simply a foul mouthed curmudgeon who harbors  racist and sexist attitudes. His presence simply legitimizes the pollution of the present political culture of ignorance, contempt for others, and uninformed opinion.

by cmpnwtr 2007-04-09 06:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

And that's why we have to call on our elected officials to skip his show when it comes back on the air. I would be shocked if Democratic '08 hopefuls make an appearance in the upcoming cycle. But how much ya wanna bet Lieberman goes on and pretend nothing happenned (recall he kissed Sharpton's ass for an endorsement and when he didn't get it, turned around and called Al a "divisive figure").

by joesaho 2007-04-09 06:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

Exactly.  A better question than when will be fired is How long before Joe Biden, Tim Russert, McCain, Lieberman or any of the rest of his stable show up again?

by eRobin 2007-04-11 03:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

I actually think this is a bad move by NBC.  They admit wrongdoing by their guy but also admit that it doesn't rise to a certain level.  So what can he say that will get him fired?  What??  They want to have it both ways, but in this case you can't.  You can forgive a man for being a racist but you shouldn't employ someone who is.  There is absolutely, positively no reason to ever listen to this man, period.  It is a waste of time.

by wintersnowman 2007-04-09 06:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

Two front page stories on this?

Imus is morning-show host, which basically means he's brain-dead like the rest of this.  And he's been offensive in the past.

Is there supposed to be a surprise here.
Excuse me while I yawn

He's MSNBC and CBS' problem.
Not mine.

by v2aggie2 2007-04-09 08:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

he made a mistake by using the word "ho" to describe college women athletes?   along with, of course, more of his usual vile racist spew.  

in what universe is it acceptable for someone on a major network to call a group of young college athletes "hos"?   (and then he begrudgingly apologizes...  to Al Sharpton, rather than to the people he insulted, who are apparently beneath his notice.)  

this jerk has gone on far too long with his outrageously insulting remarks about all women, men of color, all Jewish people, &--um, let's see, just about everyone except rich heterosexual able-bodied white males.  

two-week suspension, my ass.  he's gotta go.   this is way over the line.  

by chiefscribe 2007-04-09 10:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

Don Imus must resign or be fired. Those are the only two acceptable options I see for him.

By the way, just who the hell is Don Imus to talk about anybody's hair? He has a head full of nappy hair, which usually looks as if he forgot or refused to comb it.  As for his whorishness, he's a radio/tv broadcaster. 'Nuff said.

Notice I didn't say radio/tv "personality" since he has precious little of that commodity.

by GaPeach103 2007-04-10 01:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

Recall the nasty, juvenile comments Imus made about Ned Lamont's appearance.

by Bob H 2007-04-10 03:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

Imus should be taken off the air by MSNBC because MSNBC styles itself as a "news" channel, and this was not an isolated incident (indeed, this isn't the first time that Imus has promised to end his racist schtick -- see http://www.onthemedia.org/yore/transcrip ts/transcripts_081801_imus.html )

Whether he should be banned from CBS radio, or fired from WFAN, is a different story -- the kind of offensive crap that one hears from Imus on a daily basis is pervasive throughout the radio dial, and won't go away because Imus gets taken off the air temporarily (even if he's fired, he has a large enough fan base that someone else will hire him even if only as a publicity stunt.)  

by plukasiak 2007-04-10 03:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

He said he was sorry over and over.  He made a mistake and I think he knows he made a mistake. He says she going to change his show; give him an opportunity to do so. If he doesn't change the show then it should be closed down. I believe his comments had a racist overtone and as an African-American I believe he should face the consequences. He is being suspended and is the talk of every news source and newspaper in the country. However, I believe in free speech. Don't watch Imus. And I have to say, where was Sharpton and Jackson when Rush called Obama and Halle 'HALFICANS'.  Is that not a racist comment? I believe RUSH's comment was far worse and had a malicious intent.  Both comments were inhumane and just plain stupid.  If anyone should be taken off the air for disseminating hate, it should be RUSH. Why Imus and not RUSH? Explain that one.

by lonnette33 2007-04-10 05:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

if this were the first incident, i'd agree, but he does this over and over again.  and as of this morning, he still hadn't apologized to the people he insulted--why?  because Al Sharpton is the designated representative of the Rutgers women's basketball team, or because he still doesn't give a rat's ass about women in general, people of color in general, & especially non-famous women of color?  

by chiefscribe 2007-04-10 06:59PM | 0 recs
Who care about one racist?

This is what infuriates me about the Grandma Imus story. Why is Imus the topic anyway? Why does he get to absorb the nation's attention for days on end and boost his TV ratings? He is just another racist--we already knew that--and he is not going to change. He also has a right to put that crap on the radio but why do MSNBC and CNN produce and broadcast that kind of programming?

Where is the general criticism, by the Democrats, of this whole movement of so-called "shock-jocks" and other media hate-mongers? The terms "shock-jock" or "political lightning rod" are dismissive of the damage that these people do to society. This kind of programming is now a new form of socially acceptable hate entertainment.

Why do weenies like Grandma Imus, Beck, Hannity, Coulter, Stern and their audiences need to beat up decent Americans based on race or orientation or gender? This is a social movement made up of weak, insecure men and women, in privileged positions, that get their kicks picking on people with less power or money--people that actually deserve our respect. This kind of entertainment is dangerous to civil society because it is tied up with the entertainment industry and people get rich doing it.

It should be called what it is--hideously un-American. Imus may have the right to spew his racism but when are our Democratic leaders going to call these Media outlets out for their programming? When Edwards pulled out of the Fox debate that was a beginning. But rejecting Fox should is only a beginning in a serious fight to reclaim our civil society.

by anothergreenbus 2007-04-10 07:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

You'd think bloggers, of all people, would have a higher opinion of the right of free speech, including the right to offend.

If Imus were on AAR and saying equivalent things about Dick Cheney or Ann Coulter where would you come down on his right of free speech?

What Imus said was offensive.  He's allowed to be offensive.  This is America.  If enough people are offended, they'll stop listening, and he'll lose his job.

by rich kolker 2007-04-10 08:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

I have a real libertarian streak when it comes to free speech and while I find Imus, Howard Stern, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, etc offensive and don't listen to any of them, my reaction is if you don't like what they are saying change the channel.  I am not any more interested in having progressives policing the airways, even if I agree with their point of view, than I am conservative Christians.  

Like the ACLU defending the right of neo-Nazi's to march in Skokie, IL in the late 1970s, I may not like what you have to say but I will defend your right to say it.  Part of having free speech means sometimes you will be offended.  Having seen the actions of Bush's FCC over the last 6 years, it is a choice I am willing to make even if I wish the Don Imus's of the world would go away.

by John Mills 2007-04-10 08:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

I am absolutely in favor of free speech but I am sick to death of equivocation about what constitutes a civil society. We must use OUR FREE SPEECH to hold the destructive forces in society at bay. If we don't use our freedom of speech now to push back against these people then we will give our country over to racism and fascism. We are losing that freedom as we speak--or have we already given it up by self-censoring or apathy?

by anothergreenbus 2007-04-10 08:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

Here is the problem I see - who is the arbiter of what constitutes a civil society?  It gets pretty difficult to decide and what you may think is okay is offensive to someone else.  Example - I love Monty Python's Life Of Brian but people with strong religious beliefs find it offensive b/c it mocks Jesus's life.  Another example - The Passion of the Christ which many found anti-semitic.  Should we ban or censor them?  Who decides?  I think the people need to vote by deciding whether or not they want to watch it.

Don't get me wrong - I'd love to see Don Imus, Howard Stern, etc disappear from the airwaves.  I can't stand either of them but I want them gone b/c people stop listening not because people with certain political beliefs put pressure on the networks to fire them.  I see this as the flip side of what the right wing does when it stirs up its boycotts and it bothers me just as much.  As I said before, if you don't like Don Imus change the channel.

by John Mills 2007-04-10 09:36AM | 0 recs
Not the same thing

You are equating censorship with political action--boycotts. They are not the same. The rightwing has every right to pressure the media to be responsive to their agenda and they do a good job of it. The left should learn to apply political pressure as effectively and use it for good. And yes, we decide as a society what constitutes the "social good."  That's where our freedom of speech comes in. You have to speak to be heard.

by anothergreenbus 2007-04-10 10:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives

I cant help but wonder what'd had happened if instead of "nappy headed hoes," Imus would have said the same words about jews and/or Gays and Imus would have been fired on the spot.

by AnthonyMason2k6 2007-04-10 09:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

Gwen Ifill nailed it in her NYT op-ed today:  "...For all their grit, hard work and courage, [the team] got branded "nappy-headed ho's" -- a shockingly concise sexual and racial insult, tossed out in a volley of male camaraderie by a group of amused, middle-aged white men. The "joke" -- as delivered and later recanted -- by the radio and television personality Don Imus failed one big test: it was not funny.

The serial apologies of Mr. Imus, who was suspended yesterday by both NBC News and CBS Radio for his remarks, have failed another test. The sincerity seems forced and suspect because he's done some version of this several times before...."

if this had been the first time, fine.  if Imus was hired purely as an entertainer and was satisfying some puerile market segment, fine.  someone who consistently hits all women, men of color, & other less privileged demographic groups with his below-the-belt unfunny diatribes on a mainstream show?  no.  

time for CBS and MSNBC to stop equivocating on this jerk--where do they stand on calling young African-American college students "nappy-headed hos"?   if they aren't in favor of it, they'd better damn well stop hiring Imus to do it.  

by chiefscribe 2007-04-10 11:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

Exactly!

by anothergreenbus 2007-04-10 12:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Imus Receives Two Week Suspension

Why is it that bigotry (Imus) is such a big money maker?

I was very proud of how well the student athletes of Rutgers presented themselves.

The manner in which they made their comments made Imus look like a knave and a fool.

Their comments showed that student-athletes are both students and athletes. Rutgers and the women's basketball team are to be commended for the way in which they conducted their news conference.

by Hempy 2007-04-10 07:02PM | 0 recs

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