Imus Reveals Race Prejudice Again: Will NBC Do Anything This Time?
I know I'm not the only one. The crusty DJ has snarked off just about everybody in the business, from Howard Stern to Tavis Smiley, with his unthinking, sexist, racist nonsense.
This time, Imus decided to stick it to Rutgers University's female basketball team, calling them "nappy-headed ho's" on a recent broadcast.
Here's how it was captured on the liberal-oriented Web site Media Matters:
"On the April 4 edition of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, host Don Imus referred to the Rutgers University women's basketball team, which is comprised of eight African-American and two white players, as "nappy-headed hos" immediately after the show's executive producer, Bernard McGuirk, called the team "hard-core hos." Later, former Imus sports announcer Sid Rosenberg, who was filling in for sportscaster Chris Carlin, said: "The more I look at Rutgers, they look exactly like the [National Basketball Association's] Toronto Raptors."
McGuirk referred to the NCAA women's basketball championship game between Rutgers and Tennessee as a "Spike Lee thing," adding, "The Jigaboos vs. The Wannabees -- that movie that he had." McGuirk was presumably referring to Lee's 1988 film, School Daze (Sony Pictures), though co-host Charles McCord misidentified it as "Do the Right Thing" (Criterion, June 1989)."
NBC had to apologize for Imus in 2004, after he called Palestinians "stinking animals" and referred to an Iraqi executed by a U.S. soldier as a "bobby-trapped, raghead cadaver."
Former New York media critic Philip Nobile has made a crusade of documenting Imus' awful racial remarks, including calling the highly-regarded black journalist Gwen Ifill a "cleaning lady" when she was sent to cover the White House for the New York Times.
Nobile also noted Imus admitted to 60 Minutes that producer Bernard McGurk was brought on "to do nigger jokes," called Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz a "boner-nosed Jewboy," called Patrick Ewing "the missing link," Shaquille O'Neal "a car-jacker in shorts," and the Knicks "chest-bumping
It's been easy to ignore his nonsense because I find the show so boring I never watch it. And critics such a Nobile who have taken on Imus have paid a price, as the celebrities and journlists who frequent his show find it easier to disparage the critics than turn away from the book sales and TV ratings Imus fans deliver.
But turning away from this is wrong. Pretending it's all in good fun is wrong. And with Imus show growing in popularity -- the Washington Post noted a 35 percent jump in ratinghs from last year -- it's time to demand this crusty knucklehead join the 21st century.
The National Association of Black Journalists today called on journalists to boycott Imus' show until he sincerely apologizes and cleans up his act.
Hard to believe that, in 2007, you still have to make a case for shunning a guy who slings around slurs about black people and Jews like it's 1957.
UPDATE: My friend Richard Prince reports on his Journal-isms blog that Imus has apologized for the slurs.
Prince writes: "On Friday's "Imus in the Morning," which originates at WFAN in New York, Imus said: "Want to take a moment to apologize for an insensitive and ill-conceived remark we made the other morning regarding the Rutgers women's basketball team.
"It was completely inappropriate, and we can understand why people were offended. Our characterization was thoughtless and stupid, and we are sorry."
MSNBC distanced itself from the comments.
"While simulcast by MSNBC, 'Imus in the Morning' is not a production of the cable network and is produced by WFAN Radio. As Imus makes clear every day, his views are not those of MSNBC. We regret that his remarks were aired on MSNBC and apologize for these offensive comments," spokesman Jeremy Gaines said."
When talk radio firebrand Michael Savage made insulting comments about gay people and AIDS, MSNBC dropped him relatively quickly. What will the cable newschannel do now -- besides distancing themselves with a mealy-mouthed apology -- faced with similarly offensive comments from one of their biggest stars?