Benched Don Imus gets thrown out of the game

Rutgers_lAfter initially serving him a two-week suspension, CBS has fired Don Imus for his racist and sexist remarks against the Rutgers women’s basketball team (pictured, with junior Matee Ajavon standing). The players appeared on Oprah today, before the news was announced, and said what they really wanted was to meet with Imus face-to-face. "We wanted to see the man behind the mike," said junior Essence Carson. Neither the players or their coach had called for Imus’ firing.

But now, that’s done. As someone who had never listened to Imus’ talk show and never would have, I think this is the right move in terms of acknowledging that times are changing. "Free speech" alone was not reason enough for Imus to get to stick around, having said what he did about innocent teenagers, not to mention all the other offensive things he’s said throughout his career. That’s not free speech; it’s hate speech, and why should it exist on the radio if it doesn’t have to? The guy was old, set in his ways, and assumed he could get away with being a jerk. Happens all the time. Just because he was singled out and got tons of press this week doesn’t mean anyone overreacted here. An important question, then, is: Will Imus be the designated scapegoat for the verbal swamp that is the rest of talk radio, or will broadcasters, sponsors, and potential guests start paying more attention to the murkier regions that probably offend plenty of people every day?

What do you think? Would CBS and MSNBC have made such a drastic move if Imus in the Morning‘s advertisers hadn’t pulled out? Will Imus pop up again elsewhere, or is his career over?  And even if you think CBS overreacted, I really want to know: What would anyone gain from one more bigot staying on the air? It baffles me.

addCredit(“Rutgers: Mike Derer/AP”)

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  • Nancy Walker

    This certainly boils down to money. And of course, the uproar is a factor. There is no doubt in my mind that he is a scapegoat. I do not like the man and will not shed any tears over his firing, but he is just a drop in the bucket. Will his voice be heard once again over the airwaves? It wont surprise me if he is heard from again. This should make all shock jocks think about what they are saying. The saddest part of it is, millions tune in to hear this type of filth. Like pornography which in my opinion, is a plague on society, this type of venom has a market, too bad!

  • mia

    there s no way they would have gotten rid of him if the adveritsers didnt pull out…
    and free speech is free speech
    check out this great column..

  • Maeve

    I think what Imus said was not meant to be intentionally mean and was said in the joking context. However, DUH, he has been on the radio like 30 years and he knows that every word hits millions of people, so he acted very irresponsibly. And what a nasty thing to say about admirable student athletes. Did he deserve to be fired? I don’t know.

  • Victor

    I think Don Imus is UNDEAD!! If we’re not careful, he’ll eat our brains!!

  • Victor

    I think Don Imus is UNDEAD!! If we’re not careful, he’ll eat our brains!!

  • Nancy

    Finally something written about this mess that I agree with. He deserved to be fired. Where is the reasonableness in the public discourse? Of course what he said is unacceptable. The right to say it? Of course. Should hate and ignorance be rewarded? Of course not.

  • Sally

    Imus will move to Satellite radio where he’ll be free to say whatever. And it is about money. If the advertisers hadn’t pulled out he would still be there.

  • Sven

    I suspect people are going to come down on the side of pro-fire, but not me. It was idiotic to fire him, and I am disgusted with both MSNBC and CBS. The original suspension was appropriate, and after his apology to the players, it should have ended.

  • moi

    The problem with shock jocks is they forgot the rules of how to play fair. Their giant egos get the best of them. The Imus’s and Howard Stern’s etc. have to be made accountable for the crap that comes unapologetically out of their arrogant mouths.
    Sponsers are the real bosses here. If there’s no money coming in… there’s no show. Want to put somebody out of business? Complain to the people who air their commercials during these crap programs.
    Bravo! I hope this is a sign of things to come.

  • Ceballos

    Well said, Annie. I especially agree with everything you said about “free speech/hate speech”
    I was one of the people that thought Imus should be fired. However, I based that decision, not just on this one incident (with the Rutgers women’s basketball team), but on decades of hateful (sexist, racist, anti-Semitic) comments and attitude on the air.
    Basically, it was time for this fool to go anyway, though he’ll probably pop up on satellite radio, then again he may not. I agree with Annie’s point that nothing is really gained by keeping this mummified individual on the air.

  • matt

    If Imus worked for me, he would have been fired.

  • Mozz

    I want Annie Barrett cloned, i want an Annie Barrett to run the world, and one to write this column, because she’s totally right on.

  • Concerned

    Rosie O’Donnell said something rather poignant. If this was the 60’s or 70’s, trailblazers like Gloria Steinem would be out in full force in support of women in general. If this episode hadn’t been racially charged, would there be such an uproar? I doubt it. It is so sad- why is there no one willing to stand up and acknowledge the media’s hateful characterization of women? This incident is not isolated, and the women’s movement is steadily regressing.

  • Bully for Imus…

    Fact is, Imus, McGuirk, and Rosenberg came off like a bunch of obnoxious bullies in this. Nobody likes a bully. And, just like the bully caught smacking a kid around, Imus said “Sorry! Won’t do it again!” (McGuirk and Rosenberg have said NOTHING, btw), but you sense he isn’t sincere.
    Imus’ sponsors don’t seem to believe him, either, and thus jumped ship. Once the ad money is gone, any reason for CBS or MSNBC to go to the mat for Imus was also gone. Hence his firing.
    Here’s hoping bomb-throwers like Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, and Cuntler get the message: Hateful, tasteless, vile speech ain’t cool anymore!

  • Richard

    Quote from “The news (of Imus being fired) came down in the middle of Imus’ Radiothon, which has raised more than $40 million since 1990. The Radiothon had raised more than $1.3 million Thursday before Imus learned that he lost his job.”
    I’ve never watched or listened to Don Imus, but I will point out that he did raise money for children’s charities. While a clear victory was scored for political correctness, I think his fundraising efforts will be missed somewhere down the path.

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