Thursday, April 12, 2007

MSNBC drops Don Imus

Many of you have heard about the latest Don Imus incident: he called the Rutgers Women's Basketball team "nappy-headed hos." For international readers, "nappy-headed" is a slur against African-Americans in reference to their hair, and "ho" is prostitute.

From an AP press release: "Bruce Gordon, former head of the NAACP and a director of CBS Corp.(CBS,CBSA), said Wednesday the broadcasting company needs a "zero tolerance policy" on racism and hopes talk-show host Don Imus is fired for his demeaning remarks about the mostly black Rutgers women's basketball team. Imus has a long record of such slurs; he called Arab-Americans "towel-heads," for example.

Earlier this morning, it seemed odd to me that the only CBS executive who had publicly called for Imus to be fired was an African-American man who was once the director of the NAACP. From an AP interview:

""He's crossed the line, he's violated our community," Gordon said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "He needs to face the consequence of that violation."

"Gordon, a longtime telecommunications executive, stepped down in March after 19 months as head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, one of the foremost U.S. civil rights organizations.

"He said he had spoken with CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves and hoped the company, after reviewing the situation, would "make the smart decision" by firing Imus rather than letting him return to the air at the end of a two-week suspension that was announced Tuesday."

However, it seems that MSNBC has dropped Imus entirely. From the Dow Jones article linked above:

"The pressure is mounting against shock jock Don Imus, as cable television network MSNBC said it would stop simulcasting his morning radio show following his racially insensitive remarks about the Rutgers women's basketball team.

"MSNBC, which along with CBS Radio had previously put Imus on a two-week suspension slated to start next Monday, said late Wednesday that it would no longer simulcast "Imus In the Morning."

"In a statement, NBC News said MSNBC took into account "many conversations" with its own employees. "What matters to us most is that the men and women of NBC Universal have confidence in the values we have set for this company," MSNBC said. " This is the only decision that makes that possible. Once again, we apologize to the women of the Rutgers basketball team and to our viewers. We deeply regret the pain this incident has caused."

""Meanwhile, CBS Radio, which distributes Imus's show from New York station WFAN, says it "will continue to speak with all concerned parties and monitor the situation closely."

"On Wednesday, key advertisers such as Procter & Gamble (PG) , General Motors (GM) , Sprint Nextel (US-S) and Staples Inc. (SPLS) withdrew their support for Imus's program.

"On his April 4 "Imus in the Morning" radio show, simulcast on CBS Radio and MSNBC, Imus referred to the predominantly African-American Rutgers team as "nappy-headed ho's."

"Following protests from the Rev. Al Sharpton, the National Association of Black Journalists and others, who called for Imus' firing, Imus apologized for his remarks.

"Imus has made numerous racially charged comments over the years, referring to PBS journalist Gwen Ifill as a "cleaning lady" and to William Rhoden of the New York Times as a "quota hire.""

My only question is, why didn't they fire his moron earlier? CBS should not tolerate his history of racist slurs. If they do, that tells me their only bottom line is money.

Interestingly enough, Andy Baker, an analyst with Cathay Financial, thinks that they could very well make more money by dumping Imus. Yes, if they dump him, they will also lose advertisers. But they've already lost advertisers, there's a public outcry, and they stand to lose more if they keep him. Plus, they could simply hire someone younger. Hopefully this person would not at least keep his or her racism to his or her self.

No comments: