The Talking Dog

April 9, 2007, Amazing grace

In a bizarre career saving move, the Rev. Al Sharpton helped manage to stave off the imminent (and well-deserved) end of the career of right-wing-radio shill Don Imus, by calling for his firing on Sharpton's radio program, which Imus appeared on. As a result of Sharpton's intervention, Imus was only given a two-week suspension, instead of what would have been a (more than well deserved) pink slip.

You will recall that the context of this is Imus's unprovoked remarks calling members of the national runner-up Rutgers' women basketball team "Nappy headed hos". Honestly... what in God's name brought that up? These young ladies played way, way over their heads just to reach the championship game... and as Imus is based in the New York area, nearby Rutgers was a local favorite. So... just... WTF?

I'm reminded of the fact that Sharpton refused to endorse Presidential candidate Barack Obama... and I guess the same question gets to be asked... how much did Obama's people pay Sharpton not to endorse him, and was it more or less than Imus's people paid Sharpton to call for Imus to be fired?

Imus pointed out that he has done a fair amount of charity work over the years, and indeed, is doing a telethon this very week that his corporate overlords didn't want to step on, so the two-week suspension will be served next week and the week after... still, Sharpton has promised to lead a boycott of sponsors, but frankly, if Imus manages to keep his job (and thanks to Sharpton, that's looking more likely than if Imus simply had to twist in the wind just on the outrageous remarks themselves) his career will go on more or less intact. [The fact is, Imus's paleo-racist remarks were arguably so far over the top that they might well have cost his employers money... well, no matter... two weeks it is.]

All in all, a remarkable showing that in right wing radio, anything really does go. And if, once in a while, just when there finally might be consequences for something truly outrageous... one of the great right-wing-helpers steps up... And let's face it: Al Sharpton has a political career that might make even Ralph Nader jealous. In his day, Sharpton has managed to help elect such luminaries as Alfonse D'Amato, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Bloomberg, and George W. Bush... just to name a few.

And now, the Rev. Al appears to have helped Don Imus stay on the air. I suppose, all in all, it's a living.

UPDATE: Let the corporate forgiveness continue! We can all be absolutely certain that the facts that Imus's flagship station is owned by CBS and that CBS is the television broadcaster for the college basketball championships have absolutely nothing to do with the announcement that members of the Rutgers women's basketball team will personally meet Imus to receive autographed books and basketballs, hear his plea for forgiveness, and permit him to continue making money that will flow to Blackrock.

While I have no idea what Imus will say exactly, the sentiment will be something like "Nothing personal, ladies. Just business." America-- where the only unforgivable sin is not making enough money. Hallelujah. Amen.


Al Sharpton should get a life! We need to have free speech today. Many things offend all of us, especially when we can't say what we want to. Blacks are getting too pushy and demanding, FOR WHAT????? cause someone said something funny???? Blacks do that all the time!

Posted by Irene at April 10, 2007 9:44 AM

I'll write one thing about Al Sharpton, he got us to take interest in some thing that we haven't been interested about in years - Don Imus.

Also, shouldn't we ban the "nappy" word?
We couldn't call it the "n word", for obvious reasons. Would we call it the "nap word"?

Posted by Ban The Nap Word at April 10, 2007 11:40 AM

I hope you don't mind an off-topic comment, but I think this is important:

Re: the Iraq war in general

(also see this post)

Ever since the months prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, there have been a few reports in the newspapers that the Central Intelligence Agency was casting aspersions on the intelligence the White House was relying on to justify the war. The CIA has never given a position on whether the war is needed or justified or said that Bush is wrong to go to war. But doesn't it seem much more likely that the CIA is an extremely right wing organization than a left wing one? After all, even if the people working for them and at least a lot of the leadership really wanted a war for their own reasons, there are a lot of reasons for them to not want to tie their credibility to what they know is faulty information. They and their personnel, present and former, could use other means of promoting the Iraq war, and still be motivated to make the statements in the media. If the CIA got behind faulty information, they would have to make a choice between whether they would be involved in scamming the American people and the world once the military had invaded Iraq and no weapons were found- so: 1) Imagine the incredible difficulties involved in pulling off a hoax that weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. Imagine all the people you would have to be able to show the weapons to- the inspectors from the UN / the international community, the American press, statesmen, etc. Then imagine the difficulties of substantiating that story to people who would examine it- the lack of witnesses to a production plant that made the weapons or to transportation operations or storage of the weapons during Hussein's regime of them. 2) If the story fell apart upon inspection or the CIA tried not to hoax it at all, imagine the loss of credibility they would suffer. The CIA, it is safe to bet, does not want to be known to the American people as a group that lies to them to send them to war. Even within the CIA there could be disagreement among people about how involved they should be in promoting the war or the neo-con agenda more broadly, so the CIA would have to worry about lying to and managing its own people after trying so hard to get them to trust their superiors in the agency, and perhaps there simply might be too many people in the agency who knew enough about what was going on in Iraq to know if someone was deceiving people to promote this war.

So there is a lot of reason to be cautious against being seen as endorsing what they knew was false intelligence even if they were very strong supporters of going to war.

Posted by Swan at April 10, 2007 1:16 PM

PS Your blog looks funny.

Posted by Swan at April 10, 2007 1:17 PM

I mean that as a compliment.

Posted by Swan at April 10, 2007 1:17 PM

See a tongue-in-cheek visual of Imus and his newfound buddy, Michael Richards, hanging out and counting

Posted by Daniel DiRito at April 10, 2007 1:54 PM

Hey TD. I would also like to point out, that the issue of sexism from these comments was totally overlooked in the quote un quote media analysis of this issue. In addition to that what was really suprising, was that none of the major networks invited a black female analyst to talk about this issue yesterday.

If Imus would have called the mens team some Nappy Headed Niggers, I am sure that the Gwen Ifil, would not have been the first person to be called for analysis on this issue.

I found that repulsive.

Posted by Dale J. Thomas at April 10, 2007 6:57 PM

Love the analysis!


Posted by Mixter at April 10, 2007 8:39 PM