Friday, April 13, 2007

The Imus Overreaction

What we have experienced this past week has been the all too familiar tactics of what our media has become. The media apparently was done with tearing down Anna Nicole Smith and Howard K. Stern, and jumped at the opportunity to ruin someone else, i.e. Don Imus. Recently I’ve been watching some of Imus’ MSNBC show if I happened to be awake in the wee hours of the morning. I enjoyed all I saw. I liked the up-to-the-minute news, the political interviews, and the singers, etc. I can’t say I’ve ever been a fan of Imus, but I found the show interesting.

His cancellation by MSNBC and then his radio show firing by CBS was uncalled for and an overreaction. Imus’ comment was offensive and I do not condone his words aimed directly at the Rutgers girl’s college basketball team. He never should have said those words, but he did, and took responsibility and apologized. And that should have ended it. But instead Al Sharpton, Jackson, and others, used it as an opportunity to elevate themselves and their agenda. Were those three words worth a man losing his forty year career? No. After all he is considered a shock jock and his show brought in 25 % of the revenue for the radio company, and 20 million plus, and was the fourth rated talk show. So why the panic from advertisers? Obviously advertisers misread the public as polls are showing that about 75% of people feel he should not have been fired, and today a Fox Poll is showing 76% agree another media company should hire Imus to resume his radio show. This firing was about money: fear and panic, not outrage.

I doubt anyone was complaining about the two weeks off as a consequence except those who were determined to make this such a big issue that he would be fired. Imus has always been a little outrageous, so why now when this kind of language has become so prevalent and apparently acceptable by many in our society? Why is it OK for rappers and comedians to use these terms, or other terms directed at Caucasians? Why is there a double standard?–and reverse discrimination happening? I’ve heard repeatedly on TV that 80% of the disgusting rap music is bought by "white youths." If that is correct, which I tend to doubt, then they have to stop giving the music attention, as do the black youth. The music is degrading toward girls and women, borders on porn, violence, drug use, and worse. Some commentators have compared Imus’ comment to that of the actor, Michael Richards. No comparison there at all. Richard’s outburst was done in anger and rage, was extremely malicious, and was definitely intended to be racist. Imus intended his comment to be humorous but of course it was not.

There is a much bigger issue here and reflects the division we have in this country. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are always looking for an opportunity to jump in and, in most cases, make a situation worse, in the name of "racism." While this was happening, three other athletic students from Duke University were cleared of all rape and abuse charges. A year ago, Sharpton and Jackson turned that event into a racial issue and inflamed the community, ready to hang these students out to dry. There have been numerous times when they have inflamed events. It’s time Sharpton, Jackson and other black leaders, use their positions and influence to make positive changes within the black youth culture, and not focus on exaggerated victimhood issues. We all need to come together and make this country a better place, not a place of division based on the color of skin.

And on the same day that CBS fired Imus, Oprah had a brief interview with the young women’s college team on her show, and she follows that up with learning to dance to hi-hop music, and makes a comment that a "white guy" can’t dance. Seems that is as racist as what Imus said. She then followed that up indicating a man in the audience as the "white guy I’m talking about." According to postings on her message board a lot of people were not happy with her comments and called it "reverse racism."

One of the young women on the team said that Imus had taken away her dream. Each of those girls need to know and believe that their accomplishments are theirs to have and honor and all this media circus will not affect their feeling of pride unless they let it. That is where their power is as women.

And sadly, while the meeting of the Rutgers women students and Imus and his wife was happening at the Governors mansion last night, the Governor of New Jersey, Jon Corzine was critically injured in an automobile accident on the way to the meeting. That shouldn’t have happened either.

The old 19th century proverb, "Sticks and stones will break my bones but words [names] can never hurt me," seems to have lost its value in today’s world of mass media.

~ Linda

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