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The Don Imus Firing

I would like to start by saying that I am not racist. I believe that all people, no matter the color of skin or background, are equal.

CBS brought a weeklong confrontation over a racial and sexual insult by the radio host Don Imus to an end yesterday when it canceled the “Imus in the Morning” program, effective immediately.

The move came a day after the cable television network MSNBC, a General Electric unit that has simulcast Mr. Imus’s radio program for the last 10 years, removed the show from its morning lineup. The two moves, taken together, mean that Mr. Imus, who has been broadcasting the program for more than 30 years, no longer has a home on either national radio or television.

It is possible, though, that he could re-emerge on satellite radio.

Mr. Imus received the news at home in a telephone call. Many of his listeners learned of it during the afternoon radio show “Mike and the Mad Dog,” which announced it on WFAN, the CBS-owned New York station that also carried Mr. Imus’s program.

The CBS chief executive, Leslie Moonves, met yesterday afternoon with the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, leaders in what became a national movement to remove Mr. Imus from the air in the wake of his comments disparaging members of the Rutgers women’s basketball team. On April 4, Mr. Imus referred on the air to the Rutgers athletes as “nappy-headed hos.”

Both CBS and MSNBC had been under pressure from black leaders and women’s groups, then advertisers began abandoning the Imus program and its networks this week, pulling out the financial underpinnings from the show.

In a statement, Mr. Moonves said: “Those who have spoken with us the last few days represent people of good will from all segments of our society — all races, economic groups, men and women alike. In our meetings with concerned groups, there has been much discussion of the effect language like this has on our young people, particularly young women of color trying to make their way in this society.”

He went on to say, “That consideration has weighed most heavily on our minds as we made our decision, as have the many e-mails, phone calls and personal discussions we have had with our colleagues across the CBS Corporation and our many other constituencies.”

The CBS decision came hours before Mr. Imus and the Rutgers basketball team met at the New Jersey governor’s mansion in Princeton. The Rutgers group at the meeting included some parents, university adminstrators, and the Rev. DeForest Soaries of the First Baptist Church in Somerset, N.J., where the Rutgers head coach, C. Vivian Stringer, is a parishioner.

At 10:50 p.m., after three hours, Mr. Imus left without commenting. The Rutgers group stayed about an hour longer. Ms. Stringer spoke for the group before leaving.

“It was a very productive meeting,” she said. “Players, coaches, parents, administrators, the pastor, and Mr. Imus were able to really dialogue. I’m extremely proud of our 10 young basketball players.”

Asked if Mr. Imus apologized, Ms. Stringer declined to answer. “We’ve said as much as we can say tonight.”

Gov. Jon S. Corzine, who had offered the mansion as a meeting site, was injured in an traffic accident and did not take part.

Neither of Mr. Imus’s employers, however, was willing to wait to see if the meeting would produce anything like a rapprochement.

CBS and NBC originally announced a two-week suspension for Mr. Imus that was to begin on Monday, but the protests increased as the week went on. They gained momentum first from a news conference by the Rutgers team and then by the recounting of previous episodes when Mr. Imus and his supporting cast engaged in racially charged banter.

Executives at NBC said the discomfort of staff members and concerns about the network’s reputation had influenced the decision to cut ties with Mr. Imus. But it was paying only a license fee to carry the show. CBS Radio and WFAN produced the show and contracted with Mr. Imus as its star.

CBS also manages Westwood One, the syndicator that has sold the Imus show to other stations around the country. Mr. Imus, 66, was among the most recognizable voices on radio, and commanded a salary estimated at $10 million a year.

With his longtime base gone, Mr. Imus may well try to turn to satellite radio. But before he can entertain such a possibility, he would presumably have to reach some accommodation with CBS. He recently signed a five-year contract extension.

Even then, it seems unlikely that he would match his current salary in a fledgling medium with a fraction of the audience of conventional radio, particularly as the two main satellite companies — Sirius and XM — try to cut costs in pursuit of a merger. Moreover, with Congress and the Federal Communications Commission reviewing that proposed deal, they may be reluctant to take on a tainted figure like Mr. Imus, who would stir controversy among the regulators who must approve the merger.

That said, the chief executive of Sirius, Mel Karmazin, is a longtime friend of Mr. Imus and was for many years his boss at Infinity Broadcasting, which later merged with CBS. A Sirius spokesman did not immediately return a call last night seeking comment. An XM spokesman said he had no comment.

The CBS action on Mr. Imus came on an extraordinary day. For four and a half hours yesterday morning, he turned his radio program into a live fund-raiser for three charities — two benefiting children with cancer, and the other related to sudden infant death syndrome — an endeavor he has undertaken each of the last 18 years.

Among the guests were children and parents who had been beneficiaries of his efforts — particularly the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids With Cancer, a program that the host founded at his New Mexico ranch along with his wife, Deirdre.

Through the broadcast, though, Mr. Imus continually referred to the perilous predicament he was in.

He strongly suggested, for example, that he believed that his long career on conventional radio, at least, was drawing to a close, which gave the broadcast something of a funereal atmosphere.

“This may or not be our final radiothon,” he said, just before 6 a.m. “But let’s say for the sake of being safe that it is.”

At several points, he lashed out at the “hypocrisy” in media coverage of the fallout from his remark.

He also expressed bitterness that MSNBC had “pulled the plug” on televising his program less than 12 hours before the fund-raiser was to begin. “They got their pound of flesh,” he said.

At the same time, Mr. Imus also acknowledged that, ultimately, he alone was to blame for his predicament. “I said a stupid, idiotic thing that hurt these kids,” he said of the Rutgers players. “If I hadn’t have said it, we wouldn’t be here.”

As he left his studio in Secaucus, N.J., at midmorning yesterday, the house band he hired for the fund-raiser, led by Levon Helm, serenaded him with “Hail to the Chief.”

The radiothon, which continued throughout the day and was to conclude at 10 a.m. Friday, had brought pledges in excess of $1.6 million by 6 p.m. yesterday. In a sign that the attention swirling around Mr. Imus might have actually helped the fund-raiser, donations were running substantially higher than at the same point in previous years, WFAN said.

In a memo sent to CBS employees announcing Mr. Imus’s dismissal, Mr. Moonves said: “This is about a lot more than Imus. As has been widely pointed out, Imus has been visited by presidents, senators, important authors and journalists from across the political spectrum. He has flourished in a culture that permits a certain level of objectionable expression that hurts and demeans a wide range of people. In taking him off the air, I believe we take an important and necessary step not just in solving a unique problem, but in changing that culture, which extends far beyond the walls of our company.”

With Mr. Imus now gone from their lineup, CBS Radio and WFAN were under pressure yesterday to find someone to replace him. At least temporarily, WFAN planned to install “Mike and the Mad Dog,” a sports talk show, in the morning hours that Mr. Imus had occupied, according to a company executive.

But the prospect of such added responsibilities did not stop the two hosts — Mike Francesa and Christopher Russo (the “Mad Dog”) — from blistering their employer, CBS Radio, for cutting ties to Mr. Imus in the midst of the fund-raiser.

“They should know better,” Mr. Russo said on the air. “A sophomore in college handles this better.”

My Opinions:

This recent incident has struck a new wave of chaos all over the nation. Black people, such as Presidential candidate-hopeful Barrack Obama, have come together against the "racist" remarks made by radio host Don Imus. They have made demands for the firing of Imus, which has been met, and are now attacking Imus and all "racist" whites on television and radio.

I think this is a bunch of bull. Why should the actions of one man strike up such a wave of attack? So one white man made a racist comment. Big deal. Ever listen to rap? Watch movies made mainly for black people? In each of these, the people attack white people simply because they think they are "suppressed" and "denied rights of the majority". Guess what. White is no longer the majority in America.

Yes, for 200 years the black people were treated as slaves. However, it has been almost another 200 years since they were released. There is no reason they should continue to be treated as a "special race". For years we've put up with their ruthlessness, their complaining, and their constant excuses for their actions against others.

Two certain individuals, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, have utterly attacked Imus. I have pretty much had it with these two constantly excusing their personal racism against the white people simply because their great ancestors were oppressed. They are both rich and powerful. If they weren't they wouldn't have effect over anything and no one would care about their opinions. That is not the fact. They shouldn't be treated any different than others when they can snap their fingers and have someone do a dance for them.

Frankly I'm tired of blacks acting special. If they make fun of whites constantly, no one cares. If one white person says "I hate black people", it starts an uprising. Maybe they're not being racist, they just have a personal opinion against blacks. Some people don't like Asians, or rednecks, or northerners. No one cares, because those people understand that not everyone has to like them. People have their own opinions and don't have to like things if they don't want to. In the same way, a person who says "Southerns are backwards" or "Northern people are stuck up" should be able to say "I don't like black people". What's the big deal?

I would love to hear your opinions on this. If you haven't heard about this, turn on CNN or FOX NEWS. Both are constantly arguing about this.

Slavery in the United States

God bless Wink,
*I am not black*

pampoon what you have to understand is that blacks have not been treated some what fairly till the 1970 after the civil rights movment. I agree with you on jessie jackson al sharpton because they do what they do for money and publicity. I don't know how you can say I hate blacks, people who live up north and so on because that is profiling. I have to say i don't like the new black "culture" the gangs,violence, vandlism, thug atitude, baggy pants. But i have alot of black friends.

pampoon the racist part want geared to you just ev1 in general
[Note: I am also not black. I am also not racist or in any way sexist. I am also just stating my opinions regarding this matter.]

I agree with the idea that this is mostly politics- and publicity-driven.

I would also like to add that Don Imus has been known for his controversial behavior--the guy's been a notorious broadcaster for over 30 years.

According to his Wikipedia entry: wrote:

Imus’ behavior has often drawn the attention of the press. He famously called Rush Limbaugh "a fat, pill-popping loser" and Lesley Stahl a "gutless, lying weasel." His exchange of insults ("fat pig") regarding his show’s former news reader, Contessa Brewer, made news as did Brewer's response ("cantankerous old fool"). When Tucker Carlson brought up Brewer on the program in 2005, Imus hung up on him, calling him "a bowtie-wearing p****y."

Before the Rutgers team came to his show, it is very likely that they have at least a slight idea of Imus' [notorious] personality. The guy has been hurling insults since godknowswhen. I think that this is one of those "at the right place, at the right time" situations where it just so happened that people who had various agendas have jumped in on the action in order to further promote their own hidden/personal agenda.

I remember this Howard Stern interview of Bob Dylan's son Jakob Dylan of the band called the Wallflowers on YouTube back in 2000[here]. Jakob Dylan came to the show, was insulted and made fun of, and was able to finish [survive?] the interview with nothing but pure dignity and calm. Nobody screamed "anti-Semitic!!!" or anything. No public apologies were made. Howard Stern was just doing his job, and is getting paid for it, no matter how "controversial". Don Imus was getting paid for his behaviour, too--until they fired him, of course. Wink

As I've said, this situation is being used by everybody who has a vested interest in it: the "leaders" and various "groups" for self-promotion and politicking, the Media [so that there's something new to talk about], and even CBS. Sad

It's all politics and publicity, mostly. No offense to the Rutgers players--yes, that was definitely insulting--but it just so happened that they were in the wrong place, at the wrong time, around the wrong people.
I teach a college level course, American Political Systems. My students talked about this. One, a woman of color, was upset by it, but also said that in music and videos, black men refer to women in similar or worse terms. Her opinion was that their conduct was just as bad and needs to change as well. She was upset that the community does not address such conduct and felt that there is a double standard.
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