No Perfect Example

I wanted to write something about the Imus case, but after reading my own words, realized they were just too inflammatory. It is a volatile topic – there’s no way around that.

My question is, should the treatment of Imus become the standard for all public misogynists and racists?

Back when I was hosting PM Magazine, I quickly learned, you can never find the perfect example for your story – never. Is the Imus case the perfect example of how punishment should be meted? Is Imus the perfect example of the new value of apologies?

There are already people using Imus as an example to call for the heads of such diverse figures as Rush Limbaugh and Jesse Jackson. Could there be two more dissimilar people?

Is Imus’ expulsion from the airwaves the beginning of the healing or the beginning of a bitter battle?

6 thoughts on “No Perfect Example”

  1. Dave –

    I have note been able to find anyone citing your Matt Lauer quote. Please substantiate it or I will have to pull your comment.

    Any independent citation from a news or web source will be fine. It doesn’t need to be a direct transcript.

    All the best,

    Geoff Fox

  2. Thanks for finding it Charlie. Sorry I was slightly off on the quotation Geoff. Please feel free to edit it.



  3. I find it odd that as the media expresses outrage at Imus’s statement, they all seem to find it necessary to quote it frequently throughout their discussion. Is it right because they are only reporting what Imus said?

  4. The real tragedy of the media coverage of both the Imus and the Duke cases is that the very real horrors of the conditions of Black people in this nation, and the long festering and as-yet-not-dealt-with legacy of slavery, is so easily subsumed in the public consciousness by a side show of self-promoting carnival clowns, charlatans, and buffoons.

  5. I don’t think this is a black/white thing, at least not in this particular case.

    The amount of freedom of speech that a broadcasting organization gives to one of its performers is directly related to how much money that performer pulls in. If you earn as much for your bosses as, say, Michael Savage, you can say all kinds of outrageous things; consider that when Savage got booted off MSNBC for berating a caller, his radio career was unaffected. But if, like Don Imus, your career is on its downward arc, you reach the point where you say something offensive and suddenly find that your asset/liability balance has tipped into the red. And out the door you go. Believe me, if Imus was producing revenues even a quarter as high as Rush Limbaugh’s, CBS would have found a way to accept his various acts of contrition and keep him on the air.

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