Thursday, April 12, 2007

Idiot Imus, Idiot CBS and More Idiot Hypocrisy

Don Imus was fired from CBS Radio this afternoon. This came the day after MSNBC cancelled the simulcast of his radio program. While I personally won't miss Imus, and I would never defend the ugly comments he made about the Rutgers women's basketball team, I am a bit uncomfortable about his dismissal.

First, Les Moonves allegedly made the "final decision" about Imus' fate. Of course, when his boss, Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone, said in an interview earlier in the day that he expected Moonves to "do the right thing," there was no chance that Moonves would have continued to support Imus. Moonves has a host of his own problems. The daytime schedule is losing viewers, the morning news show is mired in third place, and if Jerry Bruckheimer wasn't producing half his prime time schedule, they would barely be ahead of the CW. In addition, the CBS prime time audience is old, and not particularly attractive to advertisers.

But, the biggest problem Moonves has is that the evening news has been a major bust. He hired Katie Couric from NBC's "The Today Show" to boost the CBS Evening News ratings (at a price of $15 million per year). At the time he lured her to the CBS team, the CBS evening news with anchor Bob Schieffer had increased viewership by nearly a million viewers. After an initial bump in the ratings with Couric's debut (mostly out of curiosity), CBS slid back into third place, even losing some of the viewers Schieffer had picked up.

Adding to the ratings slide has been an embarassing plagiarism incident involving Couric. Last week, Couric did a one-minute commentary last week on the "joys of getting her first library card," but it turns out that the piece was pretty much lifted from a Wall Street Journal column by Jeffrey Zaslow. Couric's commentaries, labelled "Katie's Notebook", are distributed to CBS TV and radio stations, and also posted on the CBS News website.

After being notified by the Journal about the plagiarism, CBS News apologized and fired the producer who wrote the commentary (Couric doesn't write the commentaries, just voices them, and personalizes them -- "I still remember when I got my first library card, browsing through the stacks for my favorite books"). Aside from being embarassed, Couric was not punished for the incident, despite the fact that the commentaries are attributed to her.

So, with all hell breaking loose at CBS, the last thing Moonves was going to get into was a fight with his boss.

Another thing that bothers me is that some African American leaders calling for Imus' dismissal have their own apologizing to do, and have not made any moves to do so. Both Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton helped pile on the three Duke lacrosse players when they were charged with rape.

For example, Jesse Jackson wrote a column for the Tribune Media Services that described the Duke case as follows: "Black women; white men. A stripper; a team blowout. The wealthy white athletes -- many from prep schools -- of Duke; and the working class woman from historically black North Carolina Central. Race and class and sex ...The history of white men and black women - the special fantasies and realities of exploitation - goes back to the nation's beginning and the arrival of slaves from Africa. The patterns associated with this history arouse fears and evoke too many bad memories." He also promised that the alleged victim, even if her allegations were not proven in court, would be provided with a scholarship for her education so that "so she will never again, in an act of desperation, have to expose her body. She should never again have to stoop that low to survive. That happens to all too many women."

In addition, Al Sharpton, in an interview with Bill O'Reilly, claimed: "He [Nifong] would not have proceeded if he did not feel that he could convict. So it tells me that all of what you said is either not true or he has convincing evidence that would certainly knock that out and no one is not letting him proceed."

Almost lost in the media blitz over Imus this week is that the North Carolina attorney general not only dropped the charges against the Duke lacrosse players, but declared them "innocent" of all charges.

While it was certainly appropriate for Sharpton and Jackson to call on Don Imus to apologize for his racist and sexist slurs against the Rutgers team, it is also appropriate that they be called on to apologize to the three Duke lacrosse players. If they fail to do so, then I think it is fair to call them hypocrites.

In the meantime, so long Don Imus. But, I'm sure it won't be for long. I am confident that satellite radio is in your future.

1 Comments:

Blogger Addison said...

Hey, I recently added a news widget from www.widgetmate.com to my blog. It shows the latest news, and just took a copy and paste to implement. Might interest you too.

12:43 AM  

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