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April 12, 2007

Imus fired from CBS

CBS cans Don Imus for calling the Rutgers women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos."

Good riddance. I can't believe the fatuous free speech arguments that are being trotted out in the wake of Imus's dismissal.

Firing Imus for hurling racist insults at college students does not impinge upon his right to freed speech. CBS and MSNBC are private corporations that hired Imus to host a radio program. They had every right to fire him for tarnishing their brands and alienating their listeners.

Nobody is impinging on Imus's right to free speech. He can start a blog, or get a soapbox and air his retrograde views in the local park. It's a free country.


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Bingo. the question is not whether Imus can say what he wants, the question is whether he deserves the great big megaphone to say it. When you are hateful and irresponsible with the great big megaphone, you no longer deserve it.

Right; CBS and NBC have the right to terminate Imus' employment now that he has become a liability just as Senator Perdy would have had the right to dismiss Amanda and her understudy had he chosen to do so.

I don't like to see zero tolerance applied to anyone. Punishments should be proporational.

Don Imus apologized; firing him was too harsh.

The two-week suspension was a reasonable response to the controversy by CBS.

I've never been a fan of Don Imus. I won't miss his show. I'm glad that MSNBC will have something else (assuming it's something better.)

But I'm still against this zero-tolerance firing.

"proporational" should be "proportional."

Obviously not a "zero-tolerance" firing. Obviously a long-overdue 10th-warning firing.

Not that there's anything wrong with objecting to "zero-tolerance" firings in principle.

As to the First Amendment non-issue, it is just astounding how well Movement Conservatives have learned the lessons of the Civil Rights era, and are now using them to systematically dismantle Civil Rights in this country. A true abomination, but a great lesson in political organization and effectiveness.

Yeah, that zero tolerance thing might fly if Imus didn't have a history of making racist comments, apologizing, then making more. That's not zero tolerance, that's being played for chumps.

Yes, employers have every right to fire people for opposing hate (me and Melissa) as being hateful. Thank god that Sen. Edwards did not require, as Donohue and Robert want, that every Democrat make sure their entire staff be vetted to make sure that we agree that women and gay men are pieces of shit. If only we could get the media to agree.

Is it true about rappers calling women "ho's"? I thought gangsta rap was passé, like, 15 years ago. I don't even listen to that much hip hop, which is why I phrased this as a question. I'm really not sure.

Not that I'm going to learn anything about hip hop culture from any of the people CNN will invite on TV to talk about this.

Chris O. -

What are his previous offensive remarks?

This isn't zero tolerance. Imus has been benefiting from tolerance, nay">">nay indulgence, for years.

I think this was good move. MSNBC is my favorite cable news channel, now I'll only enjoy it more. I was watching it last night and the pro-Imus arguments weren't so much about free speech but that he insults a lot of people anyways. Which is just silly. I am not sure if a "blog" is good "idea" though ;-)

He'll have a soft landing in private media.

There is a nonfatuous free speech argument to be made. Imus's employer firing him because his remarks became a liability isn't akin to government censorship, but it does create a climate where people on TV have to stifle their opinions because even one wrong remark can result in the end of a career. It's akin to ABC cancelling Bill Maher because he said the 9/11 hijackers weren't cowards. Leave aside the content of what they said and whether you agree with it or are offended by it. Both firings have a chilling effect. Maybe you think it's good to have a chilling effect on hate mongers. I think some nonhatemongers might get caught up in it too.

(I know that Bill Maher isn't the best example. The Bushistas were howling for his dismissal, but also, his ratings weren't that good.)

Imus has a long history of this sort of remark, so he probably deserves to be fired this time around. But for the most part I'd rather someone like him just stayed on the air until his audience is finally too embarrassed to listen to him, and his employer fires him for lack of ratings.

Lindsay Beyerstein -

Do you want Howard Stern to be fired, too?

What are his previous offensive remarks?

Eric, here's one small sample.

If Sirius Radio wanted to fire Howard Stern, I wouldn't shed any tears.

Yes, you have to be careful what you say when millions of people are listening. Imagine that. Imus admitted that he made a catastrophic mistake. He's not claiming that he's some kind of free speech martyr. He admits that he fucked up, bigtime. Bosses and audiences are unforgiving of fuckups, especially serial fuckups like Imus.

Thank god that Sen. Edwards did not require, as Donohue and Robert want, that every Democrat make sure their entire staff be vetted to make sure that we agree that women and gay men are pieces of shit. If only we could get the media to agree.

Actually, I was hoping Senator Handsome would retain you as an employee.


The Senator has a name, you know. John Edwards. You aren't one of his parents, so you don't get to name him.


You misunderstand me; they are terms of endearment. Senator Ambulance-Chaser is perhaps the least repellent of the Democratic candidates (with Vilsack having quit the race).

Here's term of endearment for you, Robert: you're a two-bit troll with painfully unfunny delusions of wit. How do like them endearments?

Ah, I love it when other people answer my questions for me.

Didn't mean to step on your toes, Chris O.

Let me explain why this is zero-tolerance by way of analogy.

Suppose a student brings Sudafed to school everyday for his allergies. The principal knows about it for six months, but never says or does anything.

Then the principal announces that he's expelling the student for violating the school's drug policies, which prohibit bringing any kind of drug to school without a doctor's note. He says the student is being punished for doing something not once, but for months.

The above is zero-tolerance, because the principal never gave a lesser punishment or warning for something he knew was going on.

Similarly with Don Imus, CBS knew the content of his show for years, which included racial humor (or racial attempts-at-humor, depending on whether one is a fan. I'm not an Imus fan.)

But no one has proven to me that Imus was suspended by CBS before the recent controversy, or even given a warning by CBS.

Eric, Imus has been roundly criticized for his racist and sexist rants before. We don't know what kind of warnings CBS or MSNBC gave him in the past. Would it change your opinion of Imus' fate if you knew that he had been privately warned not to use racial slurs on the air?

You shouldn't have to warn national radio personalities not to use racial slurs on the air. That should simply go without saying, alongside such pearls of broadcasting wisdom as: i) Don't kick your guests in the shins under the table and 2) Don't pour coffee into the microphone.

This seems to me to be total hypocrisy. CBS tolerated all his outrageous comments as long as they made money. The only reason Imus is being fired is not because of public outcry which only feeds the PR machine, but because advertisers started to bail. If the advertisers had held on, he would never have been fired.

Michael L

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