Jessie Jackson, Sr. led a protest against Don Imus yesterday at the NBC building. Imus called members of the Rutgers women’s basketball team “nappy-headed hos,” for which he got a suspension.
According to the Tribune, protesters held signs saying “no apologies, no forgiveness.” This is probably the wrong message to send. If Imus apologizes, should he be forgiven? If he doesn’t, why kick him to the curb for one slip-up when you can do so for a long history of explicit racism and sexism? More appropriate, I think, would be a sign saying something like “can we finally get this freak off the air?”
Some highlights from the invaluable media watchdog site Media Matters and others:
On Hillary Clinton as a “buck-toothed witch”
On PBS’s Gwen Ifill as a “cleaning lady”
FAIR has a long list of Imus’s slurs, including calling an Indian men’s tennis duo “Gunga Din and Sambo” and calling Washington Post media columnist Howard Kurtz a “beanie-headed Jewboy.”
The show’s executive producer, Bernard McGuirk, is even worse; his contribution to the Rutgers discussion was to call the players “jigaboos.” Last year he insinuated that kidnapped Christian Science Monitor reporter Jill Carroll was a terrorist.
Why is Imus still on the air? In one of those weird twists of history, Imus (a New York shock-jock) became a kingmaker in the DC political journalism scene. Everyone from Maureen Dowd to Tim Russert to the sainted David Remnick stops by to kiss Imus’s ass for no other reason than everyone else in their business does in a process James Wolcott calls “appeasing the geezer.”
Could Imus get kicked out of the journalistic frat he presides over for his recent comment? Now that he’s on the front page all over the Internet, perhaps, but it seems like if it takes, it’s more to do with the media Heathers getting bored with him than crossing some line he hasn’t crossed before.