Thursday, April 12, 2007
Things just keep getting worse for radio talk show host Don Imus. After making racially inflammatory comments about the Rutgers University Women’s Basketball Team, Imus was placed on a two-week suspension, MSNBC dropped its simulcast of his show, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are calling for his dismissal, and advertisers are pulling out.
While some would have you believe that this is an issue of free speech, I would disagree. Imus is free to go to any street corner and yell whatever he wants at the top of his lungs. But when it comes to the public airwaves, then things are a little different. While I’m not really bothered by anything that comes out of the mouth of any “shock jock”, I think Imus definitely crossed the line in this particular situation and should be held accountable for his actions.
However, all the chest beating about this incident raises a concern. While there is no doubt that what Imus said on his show is offensive, it really isn’t much worse than anything you would hear on a typical “gangsta rap” record, or in an Eminem song. That type of music is known for glorifying racism, misogyny, and homophobia. So, why is that kind of material okay for the airwaves while Imus is not? Why isn’t Al Sharpton having these people on his show telling them to stop recording such material? Why isn’t Jesse Jackson leading a march calling for an end to such music? Why are we not seeing the same level of mass outrage as we are for Imus?
I honestly don’t know, but it just seems hypocritical to me.
What do you think?