Don Imus Bounces Back, Dog the Bounty Hunter Curbed
First, bonehead reality star Dog the Bounty Hunter fulfills people of colors' worst fears -- that white folks who appear to be accepting of diversity sling around the n-word when were not looking -- by getting caught on tape denigrating his son's girlfriend using such language.
Ironically, Dog expresses fear that viewers will hear the language he slings around so liberally on this audio clip unearthed by the National Enquirer. Isn't he always telling his "clients," not to do the crime if you can't do the time? (or was that Barreta?). Why, then, sling around a word you know most of your fans would be horrified to see you using?
A sample: ""I'm not taking a chance...not because she's black but because we use the word n----- sometimes here. I'm not going to take any chance ever in life of losing everything I've worked for 30 years because some drunken n----- heard us say n----- and turned us into the Enquirer magazine…I'm not taking that chance at all never in life. Never…"
In a statement widely circulated by employees of Dog's TV home, A&E networks (one employee even emailed it on a listserv for black journalists I frequent), he apologizes and says his words were taken out of context. What, I wonder, would be the proper context for the above paragraph?
And word broke late today that shock jock Don Imus will definitely return to the airwaves Dec. 3, six months after he lost his job for a long history of racist humor on radio. Currently, he's just expected to debut on WABC-AM in New York, though negotiations are underway to secure a TV deal for him and spread him across WABC owner Citadel radio's 22 other stations.
Much as people complain about the protests led by civil rights leaders over issues like this, I continually wonder: Why do station owners let it get to this point?
Hiring back Imus so quickly, without any accountability for what he really did -- build a 30-year career in part on racist jokes -- virtually guarantees that the groups which protested him six months ago will have to reprise their opposition. This could have been handled better -- even Al Sharpton agreed Imus shouldn't be banned from radio for life.
But instead, Citadel is willing to bring him back with no discussion of the problems which led to his initial firing, setting the stage for more conflict, which they probably hope will fuel ratings.
Want to know why we spend so much time agonizing over these issues in the media? Look at the owners.