Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Return of Imus

   
PRESS RELEASE
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
CONTACT
Karl Frisch (202) 756-4109
 
The Return of Imus?
Progressive Watchdog Organization Credited with First Bringing Imus' Racist and Sexist Rant to Public Attention Responds
 
RELEASE AVAILABLE ONLINE, CLICK HERE
 
Washington, DC – Today, Media Matters for America released the following statement from Managing Director Jamison Foser responding to the news that Don Imus has settled his legal dispute with CBS Radio and that the controversial shock jock may be returning to the airwaves in the near future.
 
Media Matters is the progressive media watchdog organization credited with first bringing Don Imus' racist and sexist remarks aimed at the Rutgers University women's basketball team to public attention.
 
"Don Imus' racist and sexist remarks are no less hurtful or harmful than they were last April -- for his apology to actually mean something, he is going to have to change. Lying low for a few months will accomplish absolutely nothing if he returns only to pick the ugly scab of bigotry once again.
 
"In the wake of his dismissal from MSNBC and CBS Radio, it is important that media outlets considering Imus understand the responsibility they would undertake by airing his program. If he returns to his old ways, it will be on their watch.
 
"Should Imus return to the public's airwaves, Media Matters will be there to monitor his broadcasts, just as we have done for years. And should he choose to employ the same bigoted language that has long clouded his career, we will be there to notify the American people.
 
"Ultimately, however, Don Imus is only a symptom of a much larger problem in today's media. Day in and day out, Media Matters exposes racist, sexist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic comments by media figures like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, and Bill O'Reilly.
 
"The Imus controversy should serve as a much-needed reminder for news organizations that they have a responsibility to elevate the public discourse rather than forcing it down into the gutter."
 
Background: Imus Items from Media Matters
 
Timeline: A week in the life of Imus in the Morning
Thu, Apr 12, 2007 6:00pm ET
 
On April 12, following MSNBC's announcement the previous day that it would no longer air simulcasts of the Imus in the Morning radio show, CBS -- which owns both the show's home radio station and the show's syndicator, Westwood One -- announced it would cease broadcasting Imus in the Morning due to host Don Imus's description of the members of the Rutgers University women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos." In announcing the decision to fire Imus, CBS president and CEO Leslie Moonves, stated: "From the outset, I believe all of us have been deeply upset and revulsed by the statements that were made on our air about the young women who represented Rutgers University in the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship with such class, energy and talent." Moonves added: "Those who have spoken with us the last few days represent people of goodwill from all segments of our society -- all races, economic groups, men and women alike."
 
It's Not Just Imus
Thu, Apr 12, 2007 6:55pm ET
 
On April 11, NBC News announced that it was dropping MSNBC's simulcast of Imus in the Morning in the wake of the controversy that erupted over host Don Imus' reference to the Rutgers University women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos." The following day, CBS president and CEO Leslie Moonves announced that CBS -- which owns both the radio station that broadcast Imus' program and Westwood One, which syndicated the program -- has fired Imus and would cease broadcasting his radio show. But as Media Matters for America has extensively documented, bigotry and hate speech targeting, among other characteristics, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and ethnicity continue to permeate the airwaves through personalities such as Glenn Beck, Neal Boortz, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, Michael Smerconish, and John Gibson.
 
Imus apologized for "nappy-headed hos" remark
Fri, Apr 6, 2007 12:01pm ET
 
After reportedly defending his April 4 description of the Rutgers University women's basketball team, which is comprised of eight African-American and two white players, as "nappy-headed hos," on the April 6 edition of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, host Don Imus apologized for the remark. Imus called his comments "insensitive and ill-conceived," adding that "[i]t was completely inappropriate, and we can understand why people were offended." He further called the comments "thoughtless and stupid." Media Matters for America noted Imus' initial comments at the time.
 
Imus called women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos"
Wed, Apr 4, 2007 6:00pm ET
 
On the April 4 edition of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, host Don Imus referred to the Rutgers University women's basketball team, which is comprised of eight African-American and two white players, as "nappy-headed hos" immediately after the show's executive producer, Bernard McGuirk, called the team "hard-core hos." Later, former Imus sports announcer Sid Rosenberg, who was filling in for sportscaster Chris Carlin, said: "The more I look at Rutgers , they look exactly like the [National Basketball Association's] Toronto Raptors."
 
Imus' non-defense: The phrase "nappy-headed hos" "originated in the black community"
Tue, Apr 10, 2007 6:01pm ET
 
While acknowledging that it was not "OK" for him to refer to the Rutgers University women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos," Don Imus asserted on the April 10 edition of his show, MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, and on NBC's Today show that the phrase "originated in the black community." Specifically, he stated: "I may be a white man, but I know that ... young black women all through that society are demeaned and disparaged and disrespected ... by their own black men and that they are called that name." Those comments -- and his assertion, during the same show, that "there's a lot of stuff that we can do, but at some point, I stop playing" -- stand in contrast with the contrition he purported to express the day before. On the April 9 edition of the show, Imus acknowledged that his comments were especially objectionable because he mocked a specific group of young women who he said didn't "deserve it." Imus has a long history of ad hominem slurs that target race, ethnicity, and sex.
 
Imus vow: "[A]t some point, I stop playing"
Tue, Apr 10, 2007 11:14am ET
 
On the April 10 edition of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, host Don Imus, discussing the decision by MSNBC and CBS Radio to suspend the broadcast of his program for two weeks beginning April 16 in light of the controversy surrounding comments he made about the Rutgers University women's basketball team, said that "there's a lot of stuff that we can do, but at some point, I stop playing." Imus added that he doesn't "deserve to be fired" but that he "should be punished." He ended the segment by saying, "I'm not whining, because I don't feel as bad as those kids feel, and I've said that several times. But, I'm not going to play forever."
 
NBC, CBS Radio suspend Imus simulcast for two weeks
Mon, Apr 9, 2007 8:18pm ET
 
In the wake of comments host Don Imus made on the April 4 edition of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning -- in which Imus referred to the Rutgers University women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos" -- NBC News announced that "[b]eginning Monday, April 16, MSNBC will suspend simulcasting the syndicated 'Imus in the Morning' radio program for two weeks," according to a statement posted on the NBC Universal Media Village website. Additionally, CBS Radio announced it will suspend Imus for the same two-week period, according to an April 9 Associated Press report. That report asserted that CBS made the suspension "without comment."
 
Tom Oliphant to Imus on racial slur controversy: "Solidarity forever, pal"
Mon, Apr 9, 2007 3:26pm ET
 
Referring to host Don Imus' April 4 comments on MSNBC's Imus in the Morning -- in which the radio host referred to the Rutgers women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos" -- and the controversy that ensued, former* Boston Globe columnist Tom Oliphant began his appearance on the April 9 edition of Imus in the Morning by stating: "Good morning, Mr. Imus, and solidarity forever, by the way." Oliphant also referred to political pundits like himself who appear on the show as Imus' "constituency."
 
Fineman to pal Imus: Racist comments aren't OK any more like they used to be
Mon, Apr 9, 2007 12:12pm ET
 
Discussing host Don Imus' April 4 comments on MSNBC's Imus in the Morning -- in which Imus referred to the Rutgers women's basketball team as "nappy headed hos" -- and the controversy that ensued, Newsweek editor Howard Fineman, appearing on the April 9 edition of Imus in the Morning, asserted: "[I]t's a different time, Imus ... it's different than it was even a few years ago, politically," and added that "some of the stuff that you used to do, you probably can't do anymore." Fineman continued, "I mean, just looking specifically at the African-American situation. I mean, hello, [Sen.] Barack Obama's [D-IL] got twice the number of contributors as anybody else in the race," and added, "[T]hings have changed. And the kind of -- some of the kind of humor that you used to do you can't do anymore. And that's just the way it is."
 
Imus in the Morning's McGuirk: First they came for me...
Fri, Apr 27, 2007 8:13pm ET
 
On the April 26 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Bernard McGuirk, who was fired by CBS Radio for, according to MSNBC, "his role in the ugly incident" involving Don Imus, asserted, "it's like the oft-quoted anti-Nazi German pastor who said, you know, first, they came for the Communists, but I wasn't a Communist, so I didn't say anything. Then they came for the Jews, but I'm not a Jew, I didn't say anything. Then they came for the Catholics, but I'm a Protestant. Then when they came for me, there was nobody to speak." McGuirk was responding to a question from co-host Alan Colmes, who asked, "And now you've got JV and Elvis, also CBS properties, who are suspended because of a bit that they did. I wonder if you're closely following that and if you have strong feelings about what should happen in that situation."
 
 
FULL IMUS COVERAGE
Media Matters Press Releases, Statements, Etc.
 
###
 
Media Matters for America is a not-for-profit, progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Media Matters for America is the first organization to systematically monitor the media for conservative misinformation every day, in real time.  For more information


  
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