Monday, April 09, 2007

Idiot Disproportionate Reactions

Last Wednesday, on his radio show (also simulcast on MSNBC), Don Imus made some ugly racist comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team. In describing the team, who lost the NCAA women's title game to Tennessee the night before, Imus observed. “That’s some rough girls from Rutgers. Man, they got tattoos ...” At that point, the show’s executive producer, Bernard McGuirk, interrupted: “Some hardcore hos.” Then, rather than chastising McGuirk, Imus continued, “That’s some nappy headed hos there, I’m going to tell you that.”

To quote Jay Leno, Don Imus "What were you thinking?"

I don't know if Don Imus is racist in his heart or not. He supported Harold Ford, Jr. last fall, and he has helped dozens of children of color on his ranch for children with cancer and blood diseases. But "nappy headed hos" has to come from somewhere. Maybe it's bad synapse firings from years of past cocaine abuse. Maybe it's something psychologically deeper, and darker.

Imus apologized on his radio show on Friday, and in a much more in-depth fashion today. He planned to go on Al Sharpton's radio show today, and to meet with the Rutgers women's team to apologize. He's not making any excuses for his behavior. He's not even planning to go into rehab, like others who have made recent racial or ethnic slurs, such as Mel Gibson and Michael Richards.

Still, many in the media, including the president of the Association for Black Journalists, are calling for Imus to be fired.

Just for grins and giggles, I did a Google search for news articles on Imus' comments. There were over 1500!

Yes, what Imus said was ugly, and as a media personality who reaches millions of listeners and viewers each day, he needs to be more responsible for what he has to say. While he can't take back what he said, he is taking responsibility for his actions.

Compare that to a leader who, when he speaks, reaches even more people, largely through news reports. Last week, Dick Cheney, appearing on the Rush Limbaugh radio program, insisted once again that there was a link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda that justified our invasion of Iraq. Cheney made this statement on a day when a government report came out that said definitively that there NO Iraq-Al Qaeda link. To date, over 3000 of our best citizens have been killed over this lie -- 30 just in the past week -- and thousands of others wounded, many maimed for life.

Yet, people are calling to end Imus' career. Yes, Imus' comments are inexcusably racist and ugly. But shouldn't we as a people be much more upset over the man who occupies the second highest office in the land who continues to lie about why we entered a conflict that has wasted so much money and killed so many?


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