Friday, April 6, 2007

No Absolution Received

Here's the terse joint statement just issued this afternoon by the President of the NCAA, Myles Brand, and Rutgers University President Richard McCormick:
"The NCAA and Rutgers University are offended by the insults on MSNBC’s Don Imus program toward the 10 young women on the Rutgers basketball team. It is unconscionable that anyone would use the airways to utter such disregard for the dignity of human beings who have accomplished much and deserve great credit.

“It is appropriate that Mr. Imus and MSNBC have apologized.”

I'm very impressed by the skillful way in which the "apology" of Mr. Imus and his employers was acknowledged without being accepted.

To bring this controversy back to the original narrow focus of this blog, i.e. Rutgers Football, I can't help thinking about these same comments in a slightly different context.

Imagine that instead of reading the transcript of a radio show about a Rutgers-Tennessee basketball game from 2007, we were reading an article about a Rutgers-Princeton football game from 1917. Imagine our retroactive shock at reading a description of the great Paul Robeson of Rutgers as ugly and "nappy-headed" compared to the "cute" Princeton backfield of Mitt Buffington, Peter "Pippi" Longstocking, and P.T. Boatwright the Fourth. Of course we'd label that article a sad remnant of America's shameful racist past.

But what is Don Imus doing playing with the same hateful stereotypes on national radio and television in the 21st century? You don't have to imagine that one of these very dedicated and very young women is your sister or daughter to imagine the pain that this show is causing. There are stupid people everywhere (just look at some of the hundreds of comments generated by this article, "Don Imus Calls Rutgers Women's Team 'Nappy-Headed Hos' "), so Imus doesn't get all the blame; the lion's share of the blame has to belong to the businesspeople who have given him his money and his airtime ( You can reach them here at viewerservices@msnbc.com and Imus@msnbc.com).
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ADDED CONTACT INFORMATION, 6 April 07 @ 8:30 pm: Because MSNBC keeps on disclaiming responsibility for anything broadcast by Imus, here's the contact information for his radio station
WFAN (A CBS Company)
Email: fanmail@wfan.com (use a catchy subject line)
Main Phone Number: 718-706-7690
On-Air hotline to talk with our hosts: 718-937-6666Contest Line: 800-821-6611
Mailing Address:
WFAN-AM
34-12 36th Street
Astoria, NY 11106

So his main enablers are a CBS company and an NBC company? Is this racist somewhere on ABC too?

ADDED CONTACT INFORMATION, 7 April 07 @ 9:30 am:
Here's a list of the 96 radio stations on which he appears around the country (ZERO in the proud state of New Jersey!) in case you want to write to your local Imus outlet.
In the Boston Herald this morning, the response to the local station is noted:

Phil Redo, vice president and market manager for Greater Media Boston, which owns WTKK (96.9 FM), said the Boston station hadn’t received any complaints.
“I can’t defend it because it’s indefensible,” Redo said of the remarks. “I’m glad that he apologized and he should have. It was a stupid comment. It was a terrible thing to say.” [emphasis added]

Even just one email or phone call to these local stations (cc'd to local sponsors) should have some ripples. If you hear a response to any of your complaints, please let me know in the comments.

5 comments:

Beat Visitor said...

The NCAA and Rutgers Presidents gave MSNBC much too much credit when they wrote,“It is appropriate that Mr. Imus and MSNBC have apologized.”

Here's the MSNBC "Apology":
"While simulcast by MSNBC, 'Imus in the Morning' is not a production of the cable network and is produced by WFAN Radio. As Imus makes clear every day, his views are not those of MSNBC. We regret that his remarks were aired on MSNBC and apologize for these offensive comments."

Imus's actually sounds a little more like an apology in print, but it was mumbled before most of his audience was awake, with all the sincerity of any little kid covered with cookie crumbs just going through the motions to avoid a spanking.

It's worked before; he assumes it will work again.

Too bad he decided to tangle with the Scarlet Knights this time.

Have you written your Fire Imus message to fanmail@wfan.com and viewerservices@msnbc.com yet?

Beat Visitor said...

a call for Imus's firing in today's New York Daily News

Desert Beacon said...

"This is hardly the first time Imus has made racially insensitive remarks during a broadcast. In a 1997 interview with "60 Minutes" Imus said he chose one white staffer to tell racial jokes on the show. He once referred to the PBS anchor Gwen Ifill as "a cleaning lady."
http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_5614349

Enough is enough!

Anonymous said...

Why don't you go after black television or radio personalities like Bryant Gumball for all of his racist taunts on and off of television. Is it ok for blacks in television, radio, and in the music industry to call white people crackers, honkeys, white trash, and racist to mention a few? Where is the outrage and comments from all of you when people of color blurt these obscenities. This blog is just another poorly produced hypocritical rag, supported by mindless foot soldiers for the liberal party, lacking critical rational judgment, who now want to be referred to as progressives instead of liberals, which is nothing more then a advertising change in their slogan. Nothing has changed.

True Blue Liberal said...

Dear Anonymous (if that is your real name),
1) I've never heard an African American TV personality attack 10 young women with sexual/racial/lookist stereotypes. I don't think you can find one for me.
2) I'm not a mindless foot soldier; I was on this issue before Reverend Al Sharpton started giving me my marching orders, and no, I'm not afraid to call myself a liberal, look at the name under which all the posts on this blog are written.