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Imus is not a free speech issue

By Doug Thompson
April 12, 2007

Some claim the firing of Don Imus by MSNBC is a free speech issue.

It’s not. Free speech has nothing to do with whether or not Imus lost his job with the cable news channel and it will have nothing to with the final CBS Radio decision on his future.

Free speech is a right that a government can or cannot grant.

Free speech is not about the right of a highly-paid shock jock can go on the air on someone else’s dime and say whatever he pleases without having to worry about risks.

Don Imus is an employee of a broadcast network – a commercial property that expects its on-air personalities to make money for his employer. When that employee’s actions threaten the income or the reputation of his employer he should expect to be disciplined and perhaps fired.

The white haired man who looks like your grandfather and greets people at the local Wal-Mart isn’t there to tell people they should shop at Target. If he did, he’d be out of a job.

Likewise, the sales clerk at Macys wouldn’t stay in her job for long if she called customers “idiots” or “fat slobs.”

Imus knew the limits. He ignored them on more than one occasion. When MSNBC told him of their decision to take him off the air immediately he said he expected the decision. His friends say he expects CBS to fire him as well.

Whether you agree with the decision to take Imus off the air or not it is a decision that his employers have every right to make. In 24 hours, his show lost a half-dozen major advertisers. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann went to his boss and said Imus had to go. At NBC, the Today Show’s Al Roker said the same thing. So, apparently, did dozens of other employees of the networks.

When employees get into trouble, their fellow employees can either go to bat for them or help them out the door. Some of Imus’s fellow employees at MSNBC lost respect for him long before his racial and sexist slurs of the Rutger’s woman’s basketball team. This latest incident just gave them more ammunition.

Employees have the right to complain to their bosses about a problem in their midst. Listeners and viewers have the right to not only complain but also to boycott the advertisers who support someone they believe crosses the line. The right to protest is an exercise of free speech.

The government did not order MSNBC to take Imus off their air. The Federal Communications Commission did not threaten the network with sanctions if they didn’t get rid of him. If they had, that might have qualified as censorship.

On the flip side, had MSNBC decided it was worth the risk to ratings, reputation and ad revenue to keep Imus on the air, they had the right to do so as well. To employ or not to employ Imus is an exercise the network’s right of free speech.

As Americans, we have the right to watch or not watch MSNBC based on their choices in programming and the news personalities they employ. That’s our choice in a free society.

I wasn’t a regular listener or viewer of Don Imus. I wrote earlier this week that he might deserve a second chance because he appeared contrite and seemed to recognize the gravity of his mistakes. But as I watched his broadcasts for the first three days of the week, I found his groveling contrived, his multiple apologies increasingly unconvincing and his rationalizations arrogantly shrill.

As others documented his past use of racist, sexist and homophobic terms, I realized he has had one chance too many to repent. When the MSNBC came down Wednesday, I felt the network had taken the right step.

Had MSNBC decided to keep Imus, it would have been my right to stop watching the network because I didn’t care for its choice in on-air personalities.

That’s called freedom of choice. Like freedom of speech, it’s a right we enjoy in this country.

40 Responses to Imus is not a free speech issue

  1. Brian

    April 12, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    Yes, he has a soft heart for kids with cancer, and GI’s (they still use that term, don’t they) and he doesn’t care for insincere politicians who care only for votes and not constituents…But he is still a racist and a bigot. I agree with Doug, there was NO evidence of remorse and sincerity in any of his “confessionals.” He is no different than Stern or Tracht. I suspect Imus will end up on Sat also. This will also force MSNBC to makw an attempt to put a real news show up against the grossly incompetent CNN. And no, I do not consider FOX Friends a news program.

  2. Biggs

    April 12, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    Has anyone heard yet what the date and time will be when Rev. Sharpton meets with the Duke lacrosse players to apologize for the hateful and inappropriate comments he made (and made, and made) about them?

    No? Hmmmmmmmmm.

  3. Boots

    April 12, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    Well, if all “those” people say Imus must go then it must be so! How about the FCC? Maybe they are the problem here, eh? Of couse if you all want “those” people dictating to you, be my guest.

    The problem with America is America. We have a mob mentality, rush to judgement, don’t let the facts get in the way of anything, burn ‘em at the stake, riot in the streets. Yup, we’re quite a country.

    Who cares what Imus says, turn off the dial. That’s what I do. I don’t like Fox or Limbaugh, Stearns, etc., so I don’t listen to them. Sometimes I enjoy watching the Imus show, when things get too stupid, I switch the station. Evidentially racists like Jackson and Sharpton, etc. don’t have the mental capacity to consider the source. Their only goal in life is to get whitey. Well, what goes around comes around. I for one am going to love it when their turn comes up, and it will.

    Three little words, “nappy-headed hos,” and everybody acts like the world is coming to an end. Well timing is everything isn’t it? Imus goes down just when the verdict comes in for the Duke team that the media and the school condemned for raping a “nappy-headed ho,” who lied about “whitey.” Another Tawana Brawley type scandal. Now let’s watch and see if the nice little girls involved get charged with filing false police reports or perjury. I know the team boys will probably sue the hell out of everyone involved. Hope they get a bundle of cash.

    And how about those wonderful politicians, they can’t say enough bad things about Imus, yet hey all cave in to the Bush Regime like a bunch of folding chairs. They have no honor, no one has honor in this country except a few. There’s always that small exception to the rule.

  4. Kalesy

    April 12, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    I absolutely agree that the employers of Imus had every right to fire – or not fire – Imus for what he said.

    What people seem to be losing sight of is the unlevel playing field this country continues to propogate in this debate.

    Is it more, less, or equally racist for Imus to say what he did than for any number of other radio/tv personalities, musicians, actors, or artists? Why do we not hear such a public outcry every time a musician sings about b!tches or a comedian talks about towelheads or a radio host talks about leftist commies?

    This situation calls for all of us to examine what we each personally allow as acceptable – and why. And what we’re willing to do or not do to enforce that belief.

    I personally think this is an example of a terrible joke gone hugely wrong. That said, I also think Imus is a dolt and I haven’t listened to him for years. But I think it’s time we gave credence to the cliche that “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” And vice versa.

  5. Jim H.

    April 12, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    This is nothing, of course, compared to political shock radio — one thinks of Savage, particularly, Boortz, and the granddaddy, Limbaugh. I realize that political speech, even something as degraded as we have in America today, deserves the maximum in protection, but some of the rants these guys go on are really ugly. What they’ve done is graft shock radio onto political campaigns, and it’s a noxious combination.

    Sure, political speech deserves the highest of protection; but you’ve got to wonder about a political movement that nourishes itself on Savage’s disgusting rants about Muslims and gays and– and Boortz’s outright racism, and on and on.

  6. ron kay

    April 12, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    …you’re right that it’s not a free speech issue per se………….it’s a choice issue…..you don’t like the Don Imus Schtick…..turn off the damn radio.

    It’s satire…..it’s hyperbole…..it’s a joke, boneheads……….

    you want hate speech, you’ve got all kinds of Fox people, Rusch, and other hateful, genuine racist assholes to pick from on any “right wing” forum”….including our administration.

    Back off Imus you “holier than thou duplicitious morons”.

  7. C. Nemo

    April 12, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    Doug, superbly well said…! Your explanation concerning violation of free speech and also freedom of choice is probably the finest I’ve read in my 62 years. Thanks for nailing it down… :) Carl Nemo

  8. Ross

    April 12, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    I want to point out that Al Sharpton has seen it necessary to repeat Imus’s comments over and over again, several times on every appearance he makes. I wonder if those poor basketball players, whose achievements mean nothing to the country and have been made into a complete spectacle by now, get just as offended everytime they hear the reverend speak.

    You know what? If the media, and so-called black leaders (the ones who truly influence are the scum rappers, and their white corporate masters), had just kept their mouths shut, I wonder if those girls would ever have known about what Imus said, and thus may have been spared the offense it has caused them. If they heard it on their own, would they have turned to Al Sharpton for help? Or is he just brokering for power, constantly repeating the same comments they condemn, so I have heard him call the girls that many more times than Imus.

    People do not seem to understand this country at all. As Doug and others have said, this whole issue is about MSNBC, and their decisions. They hired Imus, they kept him on for 20 some years, and now they have fired him.

    NBC has the money to buy free speech. That is how our capitalist system works. You can say what you want in your own home. You can buy a telephone and call someone, saying it in their home. You can write a letter, and so on. But you need the big bucks to speak to millions. This isn’t about free speech or racism, it is about capitalism.

    If our corporate masters had wanted the likes of Imus to stay, he would stay. And there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. Don’t like it? Then your problem lies with our corporate ownership of everything.

    Marx was an idiot sociologist (although, to be fair, there was no such field in his day), but he was dead on about capitalism. He was proven right in the depression when the system collapsed on itself, he was just wrong about the cure, communism. Eventually, corporations will own everything, and, greedily pursuing their profit motive, will destroy the bottom of the pyramid, and they will collapse. FDRs solution, which has been expanded through the decades, is to add bits of government controls here and there, so the collapse won’t repeat.

    The problem is, we love capitalism, so much, and we also want the government to take care of us, so we don’t care that corporations have bought and own free speech, and we don’t care that our other rights are being taken away, this one by the corporation, that one by the government, and before you know it, Democracy is dead. Oh, wait, corporations already own our elections, so….

    And what is this system called? National Socialism.

    So have fun, Nazis.

  9. Ross

    April 12, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    Doug is right. We have no control over what MSNBC does. It’s their network. They own it. Bought and paid for.

    However, I do have to wonder what the police, or other government body would do if, say, someone put up a “I hate n—–s” sign in their front yards.

    My theory is that, if we are not a racist society(laugh!), people will ostracize this kind of behavior, and perpetrators will be marginalized in society. The truth is that people do like people like Rush, Coulter, Boortz, etc. and they agree with their idiotic racism.

    That is the real problem, and I don’t see a solution to it. I don’t think you can cure stupid, it must be prevented in the first place. If someone’s brought up being racist, you can’t teach it out of them, it’s like Boots above, who seems to think black people are OVERDUE for persecution after the white man has endured it for so very long.

    Also, free speech only applies to those with the money, say, NBC.

  10. Americanfirst

    April 12, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    No white person alive owned slaves.
    No black person alive was a slave.

    I dated a black girl (guess what, she didn’t mind being called black, and I didn’t mind being called white by her).
    A lovely female, regardless of skin color, it didn’t matter she could have been green, who cares? (as long as she wasn’t too green ha ha)
    We actually BOTH laughed about that one!
    She said the same about me…so what?
    We were BOTH good with it, so you can be too OK.

    Getting to the point….I have NEVER experienced such racism as I did while dating her, while being out in public around other black people.
    This made us BOTH uncomfortable.
    It doesn’t mean I began to hate black people.
    So…..
    Think white people are the only racists?

    Black people can be proud of being black.
    There shouldn’t be a problem with this right?
    HOWEVER……
    shouldn’t white people also be allowed to be proud of being white?

    The MEDIA would have you believe white people who are OK with being white and don’t feel guilt for slavery are all white supremacists…evil Nazi skinheads, or KKK.
    Ridiculously unacceptable. Ludicrous!

    If blacks can be “good” with their skin color, and heritage, shouldn’t white people also be able to be “good” with their skin color and heritage?

    Can we not both get along and both remain “proud” or “good” with our differing heritage, and backgrounds? Sure, IF…….

    The mayor claimed he wanted New Orleans to be a “chocolate city” remember?
    Where was the outcry? There was none.
    This was partially due to due to submissive white conditioning through the media.

    Will Al Sharpton/Jessie Jackson apologize to the white Duke LaCross team for their remarks?
    When?
    NEVER I’m sure. Will there be an outcry? Probably not. Why? Submissive white conditioning via the media.

    Imus DID apologize to the offended party.
    Why?
    Submissive white conditioning thanks to the media.

    What if a white person said they wanted an all “vanilla” city?
    You’d see racism cried out in minutes, plastered ALL OVER the meida, internet, TV, and weeks of magazine articles, maybe even a TV movie!

    It would be publicized and perpetuated by the same “media” that guilts whites into accepting their submissive public position, (guilt) while promoting blacks to be “proud” of theirs.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>But this isn’t even the real problem, or point I’m trying to make.<<<<<<<<<<<<<

    This ISN’T about whites being cheated, rather blacks AND whites being USED!
    The hatred is incited for PROFIT!
    Ask yourselves WHO profits from blacks and whites against each other? The media yes, but go deeper.

    We need to ask ourselves and pay close attention…
    Who really prepetuates the “racism” problem?

    BOTH black and white people are pawns in a bigger picture that BOTH (blacks and whites) fail to see.

    Like the Wizard of OZ, we are BOTH missing the man behind the curtain, who keeps us hating each other through media antagonism!

    Here’s, a little known fact, the NAACP was NOT started by an African American.
    The first NAACP president was NOT even black.
    Look it up to see for yourselves.

    Look it up if you don’t believe me.
    It’s a fact.

    In a free country, this should not be a problem to point this out, and if it is offensive, then the offended parties should be examined more closely as to why they wish to keep this hidden and beyond discussion.

    In summation….ask yourselves, then research:

    WHO owns the record labels the offensive artists are signed to, and profit from this?

    WHO are the lawyers who represented the Record Labels, and the offensive artists, and profit from this?

    WHO runs the media channels that support the distribution of these offensive recording artists and actors (movies/films), and profit from this?

    WHO owns the companies who make violent movies/music and profit from this?

    WHO runs the porno industry in the USA, and profits more from porno sales than ALL of the other media combined?

    WHO produces Jerry Springer, Howard Stern, Maury Povich and other highly offensive and inciteful TV shows, and also profits from this?

    Find names……not companies…names.

    Be informed, and educated!

    THEN you’ll see the “ones” behind the curtain, playing both whites and blacks against each other while making money off of BOTH of us!
    They get richer, as blacks and whites continue to hate each other.

    Time to pay attention to the fine details America, and see the “ones” behind the curtain.

    THEN and only then can we begin to see who’s continuing this media sponsored/incited hatred between our races.

    Then and only then can we begin to heal.

  11. Sandy Price

    April 12, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    I have a terrible opinion of television. I did not own one until 1982 and kept it off most of the time. Once in a blue moon I will find a person or a show that catches my attention and Imus in the Morning was that show. I despise street talk and abhor country music but there was an element of intellectual debate between the I-man and his co-host Charles McCord. Politics, music, books, theater were all subjects that I wanted to listen to. His fund-raising projects were wonderful and his political inteviews were 100% better than Oprah, King or anyone on Fox news. Hell yes, I was offended with take offs on rappers and his contant insults of women and fat people. But turned those off to wait for the subjects that were worth the wait.

    He pissed off Bush and it triggered a reaction at Fox News and Keith Olberman added to the mess by taking on Bill O’Reilly. So when Imus got caught using a racial slur it triggered the firing. When this is done, the usual thing is to put a heavy fine on the host of the show. But NBC wanted the top ratings for the 3 networks and the firing of Imus did it for them. Until the firing, ABC had taken the top ratings for the evening news and NBC was beginning to fall even further behind. The politics involved in the planning of these shows can be brutal when a news host dies or gets fired and all the networks panic to take the top ratings.

    I may be booted again for my statements about the value of “Imus in the Morning.” But I needed to say something as a very valuable program is gone and the host has been unnecessarily destroyed when he was simply one of hundreds who do take offs of rappers music.

    If CHB becomes politically incorrect we will end up in the condition. I listened to Imus on WFAN this morning on the radio and he did not grovel, he did not whine, he simply ran a charity for Children’s issues that did support SIDs and Sickle Cell Anemia. The man has more character than anyone who was just fired for ridiculous reasons. But we all need cause to take our minds off the terrible war. I never in my life struck down anyone who was being treated like a bad man when in fact he was the victim. When so many from NBC turned on him non-stop all night and all day, I cried in sympathy for the man who continued to work for sick kids.

    CHB is bigger than hitting a man when he is down. I will not add to it.

  12. Wayne K Dolik

    April 12, 2007 at 2:56 pm

    I have a whole lot of mixed feelings about the firing of Don Imus. Has this last few days of the Imus attack been cover for Speedy Gone-Zalez? Or perhaps this all was cover for a few botched wars? Perhaps the Main Stream Media along with it’s Spenders has taken to eating it’s own. This firing was all about Corporate Nappy Headed Hoe’s! and not about any notion what so ever about right and wrong. So, seeing that crying little CEO of MSNBC last night just did not pass my smell test. This was all about money.

    Anyway I have had it with the adhominim attacks non-stop on Imus. Kiss free speech goodbye. Oh, well we have lost most of our freedoms anyway. I haven’t heard much real news lately, have you?

    P.S. Sandy, I fully agree with you.

  13. Jay Chapman

    April 12, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    Shame on Imus. His “twist of the tongue” was not funny, lacked a point to rate as a joke, and has been in trouble before. The root behind his statement – questionable?

    What is questionable is our American free speech pastime of vast audiances who are entertained daily by the negativity sprewing from talking hosts. Most notable are Rush Limbaugh, the gang at Fox, Ann Coulter, Imus, others and more; even the Swiftboaters have made their mark. Bending the truth is part of the patter, used to sway opinion, disparaging, hurtful, hateful. Audiances have been eating this stuff up for years.

    It’s good business and someone is paying the tag: corporate media, advertisers, the buying public.

    Imus most recent remark, without question, was a real no-no. His really ‘big no-no’ has been previous remarks concerning the administration that caught up with him.

    Perhaps this ‘pastime’ has finally won some attention.

  14. Ross

    April 12, 2007 at 4:29 pm

    No living white man has owned a slave (I guess sex slaves don’t count), and no living black man has been a slave.

    What you didn’t point out is that living white men have oppressed living black people terribly. I agree that the revenge attitude of many minorities will not help. People are people and need to get over it. This includes minorities, who live in a majority white country, and women, who could scarcely get by without men any better than we could without them. I didn’t choose to live here any more than you, and I often wish I had been born in Europe (in fact, the world would be better off if no white, black, or asian people had been born in the western hemisphere-a different topic). Although we are still a very bigoted society, racism is declining, and the process is only slowed if minorities want to fight instead of cooperate. My experience, though, is that most white people truly are racist, and many don’t even know it.

    On the plus side, people that are overtly racist, like some who have posted today, are definitely in the minority. There is nothing white people can do to undue the damages of the past. The best we can do is move on. That doesn’t mean forget, but forgive.

    And also don’t forget that we have a common enemy, blacks and whites, men and women, and all kinds of people. Just because white men control this country doesn’t mean that I control this country, and a black or woman president won’t make a damn bit of difference for you. You are persecuted for being different. That’s true whether you look different, think differently, or act differently.

    Just look at post-Apartheid S. Africa. The black men from the majority who act like corrupt businessmen do exceptionally well, but conditions for average blacks has stayed much the same over the past decade and a half.

    If we are to stop this evil corporate empire, in which the United States is nothing but a neglected province now, from destroying the world, we will need to cooperate to come up with a better system.

  15. Heinrich Moltke

    April 12, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    Doug’s post on its own isn’t a problem. The Wal-mart employee analogy is right on the money. The problem with Doug’s post, though, is that it doesn’t reflect the whole picture.

    In this country, a country which has been very nearly completely corporatized, the exercise of free speech is an increasingly anonymous affair. Any place that you can think of that might serve as a venue for free speech is controlled by some private interest. Whether it be the city newspapers, the coffee shop where you give a speech, the storefront where you hand out flyers — any spot where you might encounter the public or even a single solitary individual to communicate with — these are all controlled in one way or another by a private interest.

    Now, this has always been the case. But what is subtly missing in Doug’s account is that, at one time, there might have been a little leeway in our thinking. Any private enterprise was understood in the final analysis to be subsumed within the fact of civic participation. I might be a radio talk show host. I might air vulgar opinions, and though I am the employee of a private company, it should not be incomprehensible that I voice my opinions within that venue as a free man, a citizen. Any participation in a private venture is done against the backdrop of participation in the American Republic.

    Nowadays, as reflected by Doug’s post, it’s understood that civic participation really has no tangible substance — the only power or weight out there belongs to the moneyed interests that set all the concrete terms of day-to-day life. Today there is no patience for or tolerance of free speech. Free speech has itself never been about the right of a person to say what he or she wants but the *illegality* of any institution or power to prevent that speech. But we don’t really care about that anymore. We’ve delivered ourselves into the hands of the institutions of power because there is no longer any civic thread of American life that holds us together and defines us by contrast. We’re too weary since 9/11 and before for this American experiment which, by granting Man his freedom, is supposed to bring about and prove his better nature.

    So, as a result, free speech is permissible within the general confusion unless it is either strong enough — or unfortunate enough — to raise out of the confusion the ire of an organized group. America, which once leaned in favor of brash and iconoclastic speech, now leans against it whenever it pops its head up high enough. America cuts it down.

    So free speech is subject to mob rule. Only it’s not in effect often enough to cause alarm. The culture is so degenerate and so rapidly changing that you can’t paint a negative face on anything long enough to derive a lesson from it. The campaign to bring Imus down really emanates from this mob rule. People have no patience for this throwback to the shock-jock era, when small egocentric in broadcast booths tried to be the quintessential American bad-ass. Instead, we all instinctively want everyone else to tow the line — to cut down on the chaos. Of course, this just happens to be against the spirit of the Republic as it was conceived.

    As the American Republic fades and goes the way of the British Empire, from whom it borrows so many of its institutions, we’ll see less and less thinking that is faithful to the complexity and subtlety of the American Idea at its best. We’ll see more and more ad hoc power grabs and impositions of power, and more and more old conventions subverted, and it will be impossible for anybody to conceive of limiting his own power for the sake of the whole, though this principle is at the heart of American democracy. We’ll hear no mention of the fact Imus’ hyperbole is greeted with hyperbole just as great on the other side, that his persecutors (Sharpton, et al) are hypocrites, that his corporate masters are cowards — cowards for never firing him before, cowards for firing him now — that the current blitz is all about the need for a scapegoat in the national context of the failed Iraq situation.

    And without faithfulness to the total truth, the situation will get worse.

  16. mewman

    April 12, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    free speech is not the right to be on radio or tv.if this can be the start of ridding our socioty of the plague of pure meaness,then let it begin.but let’s remember the real problem-the fact that folks listen to downright nasty liars like Rush and his right wing clones.the fact that enough folks buy really nasty music that humiliates people.the fact that folks like watching american idol in the early shows to see folks humiliate themselves.if the market for this stuff isn’t there,it will go deep underground where few of us see it.the idea that garbage gets ratings,sells books and music is the problem.in other words,the problem is those of us who do not turn off the station,who still buy the books and the music-the problem is us.MSNBC is my 24 hours news channel of choice,even though i thought Imus was a lowlife(and didn’t watch or listen to him),but now with this,the fact that they fired him will allow me to keep them as the place i go for news…

  17. Laura

    April 12, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    I totally agree with you — this was never about free speech.

    What has always bothered me are the closet rasists (i.e., Michael Richards, Mel Gibson) who spew their hateful remarks then think by apologizing it will all go away.

    It’s about time they learned there is a price for their stupidity and arrogance, and society (intelligent, anyway) will no longer tolerate their behavior.

  18. C. Nemo

    April 12, 2007 at 6:14 pm

    I’ve referred to Americans and their “tabloid brains” on occasion in my CHB commentaries and also the fact they have the attention span of a chickens, maybe less. I’ve been watching the hit counter associated with this site concerning how many folks have read material associated with the Imus debacle. It’s pushing 10,000 viewers, possibly a record! Even I have contributed two written posts to this “tempest in a teapot”.
    So the fact that some shock jock screws up on the job and stupidly oversteps himself on the airwaves causes incredible national tittilation. All the while eight thousand miles away from our coast-to-coast Disneyland; i.e., the U.S., our young men are being splattered by roadside munitions, sniped from overpasses etc. The military guys refer to the U.S. as the “Big BX” ; i.e., meaning it’s nothing but a big base exchange, shopping mall, endless entertainment, but very far removed from realities of third world warzone experience.

    During the Nam era they referred to this economic phenomenon as Johnson’s “Guns and Butter” economy or the “Welfare Warfare” state. We were waging a war we could ill afford, triggering Johnson to start dipping into the Social Security Trust Fund to bring up the bottom line, slapping a ten percent surtax on income etc. Meanwhile back home there was no rationing and life went on as usual. If it weren’t for a bunch of pot-smoking, LSD tripping hippies along with other anti-establishment types protesting, picketing, and even rioting on occasion we might still be in Nam trying to stave off the “domino effect” of world-wide communism…?! :)) Nam was the first war post Korea that did nothing but line the pockets of the MIC guys and the “oil patch”. In fact we there to protect the known oil reserves of SE Asia from a Communist grab, nothing more, nothing less for the benefit of Exxon, Mobile, and Royal Dutch. The public was told the same old crap as we are now about establishing democracy in these far flung regions of the world. All “feel-good” pap for the un-washed masses!

    Gulf I was a shakedown by Pappy Bush for his benefactors in the MIC and the “oil patch” as is Gulf War II when junior pulled their evil strawman, Saddam out of the closet, dusted him off and the rest is history. The MIC gets an average annual budget stipend of 400,000 million dollars per annum in addition to the 500,000 million that’s been pissed down a rathole in Iraq during this current debacle. I believe Gulf War I came at a bargain price of 40,000 million bucks, not including the money spent to put out the oil fires etc.
    Although Gulf War I was 16 years ago, I’ll provide a link to the transcript between April Glaspie then our ambassador to Iraq. Saddam asked her if there would be consequences to him re-patriating Kuwait which was once part of the greater Iraq. She “green-lighted” Saddam based on feedback from James Baker that it would none of our concern?! Saddam invaded and then Bush 41 involved us in our first of the Iraq series of phony wars, both courtesy of the Bush clan. Here’s the link
    http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/ARTICLE5/april.html

    Now we have our involvement in Operation Iraqi Freedom (truly oxymoronic); i.e., Gulf War II and we’ve known for some time now that this war was started based on cooked, engineered intelligence courtesy of the Feith/Cheney rogue intelligence operation. So the Bush family has managed to shakedown the American taxpayer to the tune of almost 600,000 million dollars of “debt-money” that can never be repaid and will insure this nation is in debt until the last stars fall from heaven…!

    Wake-up America, we are in harms way with these mattoids in control. I advise people do something useful with their time and contact their elected reps regardless of party affiliation and put an end to this treasury-draining, life-extinguishing debacle asap. http://www.conservativeusa.org/megalink.htm

    Yes folks…Don Imus is really hot, front-burner news…?! :|

  19. AustinRanter

    April 12, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    Doug,

    Thanks for this article.

    The other day I posted my thoughts and opinions in another thread that you wrote and at the end I said, “Think the First Amendment applies to this website? Ask Doug Thompson if Freedom of Speech is a given Reader Right on CHB? I think not.”

    A number of times I’ve seen you explain what you did in this article. I so agree with your policies, standards, and the right to create and enforce them.

    I think that my statement above should have included what your opinion and policy is in my posting after I made the comment above…because you did come back and described what Freedom of Speech mean in its truest context. I think you might have misunderstood my intent to post what I said, but I was poorly attempting to say what you’ve said on Freedom of Speech for sometime in ReaderRant postings.

    If one of your columnist said what Imus said, whether it was Phil, Hal, Sandy…etc, THEY WOULD NEVER write a column again on Capital Hill Blue…and rightfully so.

    Just for the record, I’ve watched the Imus program many morning for years. I hate that it’s all come down to this, I really do. Im sad about it…because most of MSNBC’s programming is so safe and bland I just don’t watch. Not even Chris Matthews really plays “Hardball”. Obermann is the only other program I watch with reasonable regularity.

    I have not been a supporter of keeping Imus on the air, despite my being a fairly regular viewer of the program. For many reasons my opinions in this matter is not something that I can’t articulate in a paragraph.

    But what my point in this posting is…If we, as Americans let this issue die, I think it would be a terrible mistake. I think that Imus’ firing, which by the way at the time of this posting, CBS just fired Imus…if this dies with Imus a terrible injustice will have just happened.

    Sadly…at 9:38 this morning, Imus made the following comment: On meeting with the Rutgers basketball players: “I can’t go through the rest of my life — nor can they — without us having this conversation and me telling them how I feel and, more importantly, them telling me how they feel.” That is the closest to contrite that I think I’ve heard him say….

    Doug, I dig what you say most of the time, however, there are times I don’t agree with you, but I want to thank you for having the integrity, and standards that you maintain in Capital Hill Blue…those values have been important for us all. I appreciate them.

  20. Bones

    April 12, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    What’s a “Hymietown”?

    Why are Southerners Redneck drunks that kill black people?

    I really want to know why, and who said those words.

    And where can we boycott these people?

  21. C. Nemo

    April 12, 2007 at 8:39 pm

    My apologies for the double post. I sent the first then had to take a package delivery before I confirmed it as being sent. I then came back to my computer thinking it hadn’t posted, so I resent it. Many Americans may have a tabloid brain, but I evidently don’t even have a brain… :))
    Carl Nemo

  22. Izzy Ort

    April 12, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    If I was an AMERICAN INDIAN I would be on the
    floor laughing my head off after reading all
    of the ludicrus comments being made about IMUS
    By the way, exactly what is an African American?
    “Just another buzz word promulgated by one
    Jesse Jackson
    Ever hear of an Afro.Englishman?
    Or an Afro-Canadian?

    HoHo!!

  23. Caroline Browne

    April 13, 2007 at 2:09 am

    Remember a couple of years ago, when shockjock Neil Rogers (560 WQAM in Miami) played this song parody a number of times on his show?

    Excerpt of “Condoleezza”
    (sung to Nat King Cole’s “Mona Lisa” by “Boca Brian,” a regular on the Neil Rogers show):

    “Condoleezza, Condoleezza, what you be doin’?
    That neo-facist black-haired token schwartza dog.
    Is you there ’cause you a high-toned public Negro?
    Is you their black-haired answer-mammy who be smart?

    Does they like how you shine their shoes, Condoleezza?
    Or the way you wash and park the whitey’s cars.
    Georgie junior says he trusts you, Condoleezza. Who said our (unintelligible) off the greedy oil woes.

    But then he make you clean all the White House bathrooms. The public sink, the toilet and let’s you scrub the floors…”
    —–
    Then, when a reporter finally caught up with him, Neil Rogers said: “”She’s the house Negro… It’s a fact, it’s my opinion. Am I entitled to my opinion?”

    In light of Imus’s firing, I guess it’s only fair that we all finally get around to expressing equal outrage over Neil Rogers’s remarks to the radio station’s owner and CEO, George Beasley (Beasley Broadcast Group) and demand that Neil Rogers be taken off the air immediately. Especially since his website continues to feature downloadable mp3’s of Neil’s favorite audio clips, including “That Damned Faggot, I Can’t Stand Him,” “”Why Don’t You Go Back To Canada, You Jew Bastard?” “”Why Don’t You Go Back To Cuba, You Spic Bastard?” and “”Why Don’t You Go Back To New York, You WOP Bastard?”

    CEO George Beasley can be reached at:
    Beasley Broadcast Group
    3033 RIVIERA DRIVE
    SUITE 200
    NAPLES FL 34103
    (239) 263-5000

    email@bbgi.com

  24. Bruce Stockwell

    April 13, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    “Free speech is a right that a government can or cannot grant.”

    I stopped reading after that bit of wisdom.


    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

  25. Bones

    April 14, 2007 at 4:28 am

    “The government did not order MSNBC to take Imus off their air.” I’m willing to bet that Rove “deleted” that email by mistake too.

  26. Bones

    April 14, 2007 at 4:31 am

    Thank you Bruce! You beat me to it by a few secs… ;)

  27. Ray

    April 12, 2007 at 9:31 am

    Well stated and defined Doug. The man got what he deserves. His slurs have been excused before but this time he went too far. If Oberman says he should go, he should go.

  28. Ann

    April 12, 2007 at 10:42 am

    I have not been an Imus fan and at first I thought it was good take him off for two weeks then I got to thinking enough is enough I watching him crying and going on and on and I watched the girls of the team. They are a lot bigger than him but lets get it right radio has got out of hand.
    I am offended every time I go to the store or any where the rap is always loud on someone’s radio. It is ashame and a disgrace that we have to be just going to the store and have to listen to this junk, and I might add dirty and profame language.
    I am sick and tired of the news and the yelling and always putting some one down.
    We as a country need to get this out of our lives and I think this is a start so everyone better watch out.
    The FCC is not there any more and every one of them should be fired. Speach is free but dirty, crude is not. I can remember and this goes years back when the song “Wake up Little Suzie” was banned we have gone for from that.
    So let us have something good come out of this and change what isn’t good for us or the kids we have had TV for a long time and the radio longer than that so lets get the FCC doing their job and get this hatered out of the air waves.

  29. M

    April 12, 2007 at 9:53 am

    Along with his producer who called the Rutgers girls “jig@#boos”, Imus has a demonstrated many-years history as a serial offender-apologizer. It’s time to stop that dance. Three strikes and you’re out for Gd’s sakes.

  30. Paolo

    April 12, 2007 at 9:54 am

    Well said, Doug.

    Of course a private corporation has the right to hire or fire whomever they want.

    The Imus situation, however, brings up other issues. What is wrong with our society that crass, coarse, bigoted, foul-mouthed blowhards are given instant celebrity?

    I think one reason Keith Olbermann is popular is that his earnest, frank (but not foul-mouthed or insulting) commentary is refreshing in today’s oozing swamp of low-class blowhards.

    I think Americans are taught to be stupid. Who’s to blame? The worst culprit is the public school system, where reading is deliberately taught in the worst possible manner–look-say and its many offshoots–leading to our unbelievably shallow, anti-intellectual citizenry, ready to be led by the nose why whoever appeals to their basest instincts.

    In public schools, students are always encouraged to “express their opinion” about issues they know nothing about, because they can’t read and can’t reason. The “opinions” you get in such public school classrooms are about on a par with what you get on Imus’ shows: shallow, emotional, and immature.

  31. Teresa

    April 12, 2007 at 10:21 am

    Imus has crossed the line many times before, with impunity. His producer, and anyone else who joined in with him in this crass, stupid, shallow behavior should be fired.

    I haven’t listened to him in years. I found him to be obnoxious.

  32. Patriot

    April 12, 2007 at 10:26 am

    Yes, Imus is an employee of a broadcast network. And, as such, he REFLECTS the policies of that network.

    For far too long, Imus was ALLOWED by MSNBC and its’ parent NBC to be a shock jock. As long as no one challenged that premise and the ratings were good-to-strong, both networks were perfectly happy to allow the litany of verbal abuses Don Imus spewed forth with. To me, that says far more ill about the [lack of] character of the network poobahs than of Imus.

    Imus was, and still very much is, an overbearing loud mouth. Even his producer [and assorted, and sordid, characters] made many a negative and downright abusive comment on many subjects. The men on that show were NOT men but were little boys taking swipes at anyone and everything that they found could be degraded. And for what? For fun? I think not. Their collective mission had been to foment more of the same negative tripe that this Nation has allowed itself to already be filled to the brim with. And for Imus to continuely fall back on the work his “ranch” does for children with cancer [and other such illnesses] as some justification for his asinine ‘performances’ smacks to the heavens of the lowest hypocrisy.

    And congratulations to all of those people and organizations that chalenged MSNBC on this matter. It’s an absolute SHAME that more AMERICANS aren’t actively doing the same to challenge the insane administration that is ruining our lives.

    GOID Bless and Save This Great Nation!

  33. Sonorous Pest

    April 12, 2007 at 10:26 am

    MSNBC has lost it’s platform for a meaningful dialoque about the very thing Imas is responsible for. I never heard the phrase he used “nappy headed” until my wife told me. This is what the slave owners called their slaves.

    This type of trash talk is in the black community and propogated by the black hip hop jackasses that feel it’s O.K. to disparage their own but let not one white boy say the same thing.

    Double standard, I think so. Yet I don’t hear Jesse and Sharpton get on about their own kind. Let’s lash out at the Hip Hop crowd who advocates killing cops, even Stevie Wonder has “nappy headed boys” in one of his songs.

    It’s time to put a stop to all of the racist and sexist remarks used by Black people and White people. But firing Imus, in my opinion, was a mistake. We’ll never know how this whole eposode will turn out.

  34. Belle Guarino

    April 12, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    I agree almost to a letter what you say. But as you say lets STOP the double standard for people on radio or TV. I have never heard Imus talk nor heard his show, so I cannot judge him from a personal position. BUT… if he has been offensive to blacks, that was not the way to go and I sincerely suggest that ALL public communication channels be a little less self righteous and remove ALL the nasty talking blacks from the comedy channel and anywhere else they appear. They talk far worse about their own race that whites ever do, Take the time to look up Bill Cosbys last speech and learn from that smart man. I am white and not a racist.. but if you look in your heart you KNOW there is a double standard in this country. If I hear one more word about Imus today I will turn on my music channel and let it run enough is enough!!!! and talk about the pot calling the kettle black? I think talking heads went out of their way to find someone in the black world to make matters worse than they already are…. DROP the whole thing and let time heal where it can

  35. Donna

    April 12, 2007 at 10:58 am

    of the lack of civility on the airwaves. Now if we could just get Jabba the Hut Limbaugh and Mann Coulter off the air the same way, we might actually start getting talk shows where people actually talk, and even tell the truth.

  36. Hal Brown

    April 12, 2007 at 11:20 am

    This is from Bob Herbert’s for a fee New York Times OpEd today. Herbert, who is black, was in contact with MSNBC executives before they announced the firing of Imus. He was apparently preparing to write today’s OpEd. He writes today that when he told them he was going to write about a 1998 “60 Minutes” interview with Imus, he wrote that the execs began to act weird and told him they’d be getting back to him.

    In the 1998 interview Mike Wallace told Imus his program was “dirty and sometimes racist.”

    The following a transcript taken from Bob Herbert’s OpEd:

    IMUS “Give me an example. Give me one example of one racist incident.”

    WALLACE “You told Tom Anderson, the producer, in your car, coming home, that Bernard McGuirk is there to do n—-r jokes.”

    IMUS “Well, I’ve nev — I never use that word.”

    WALLACE (to Mr. Anderson, his producer) “Tom,” he said.

    ANDERSON “I’m right here..”

    IMUS “Did I use that word?”

    ANDERSON “I recall you using that word.”

    IMUS: “Oh, O.K. Well, then I used that word. But I mean — of course, that was an off-the-record conversation. But ——”

    WALLACE “The hell it was,” said Mr. Wallace.

    Bob Herbert writes that “the transcript was pure poison. A source very close to Don Imus told me last night,” and “they did not want to wait for your (Herbert’s) piece to come out.”

  37. Jeffers

    April 12, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    Hal,

    This is an interesting story. In 1968 Bernie would be how old? According to some sources, he graduated from college around 1986.

    So how old would he have been when he was hired?

  38. vietnam vet

    April 12, 2007 at 11:20 am

    Sonorous pest, before I read your statement, I was thinking the same thing. Right is Right no matter what the color of your skin is.

  39. Jarrod Lombardo

    April 12, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    The networks had every right to fire Imus because he was taking actions they feel are against their interests as corporations.

    It is your right to not listen to radio you don’t like. It is your right to not shop in stores with music you don’t like. It is NOT your right to impose your morals and opinions of music (a form of speech) on anyone.

    It is very explicitly forbidden for the federal government to regulate speech. The FCC, a federal agency, is largely designed to regulate speech. The FCC should keep regulating which frequencies can be used for which purposes in a fair manner, but it should further distance itself from the business of violating our rights to free speech and press.

  40. dougthompson

    April 12, 2007 at 4:04 pm

    The interview was in 1998.