Multi-racial Media Critique Coming Together on Imus
by Matt Stoller, Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 09:23:05 AM EDT
The National Association of Black Journalists is spear-heading a campaign against MSNBC and Imus for his racist comment and his legacy of racism, backed by Essence's Editor in Chief, Angela Burt-Murray. Now, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are pushing aggressively, with Imus going on Sharpton's show today to reiterate his apology. It's not enough.
Sharpton insisted that equal opportunity offensiveness doesn't matter: "This is not some unemployed comic like Michael Richards," Sharpton said, referring to the "Seinfeld" actor who used the N-word and referred to lynching in a rant last year. "This is an established figure, allowed to use the airwaves for sexist and racist remarks."
According to the AP, NABJ President Bryan Monroe asked Thursday if Imus had "lost his mind" Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer was also incensed by the comments about her team. "I am deeply saddened and angered by Mr. Imus' statements,""To serve as a joke of Mr. Imus in such an insensitive manner creates a wedge and makes light of these classy individuals, both as women and as women of color."
The progressive left is pushing as well. Media Matters put out a press release listing Imus's outrages spoken by either Imus or his producer: Obama has a "Jew-hating name", Obama is a "young colored fellah", [Hillary Clinton] will have cornrows and gold teeth before this fight with [Sen. Barack] Obama [D-IL] is over,""Bitch is gonna be wearing cornrows", [Clinton] will be "giving Crips signs during speeches", CBS's "Jewish management" are "money-grubbing bastards".
Think Progress points out that Imus's producer said Jill Carroll wears"terrorist headgear", "carrying Zarqawi's baby", and is known as "Taliban Jill." And then as Atrios pointed earlier today, Imus just isn't actually sorry for what he said, he's only sorry that it's not acceptable to be publicly racist anymore.
The NAJB immediately called for an apology. Jack and Jill Politics discusses Imus in the context of attitudes towards race, and Tennessee Guerilla Woman point to the National Organization for Women petition asking for Imus to go. The blogosphere is aflame.
Meanwhile, MSNBC is pretending that Imus doesn't work for them. I don't link to the National Review very often, but they are spot-on here.
That's ridiculous. Not only does MSNBC give Imus his own page on MSNBC.com, but the Imus show is a regular destination for NBC's top correspondents. If MSNBC is really so offended, maybe they should forbid NBC employees from appearing on the show as some sort of punishment.
Alternet has the backstory. This is a multi-racial, multi-ideological pressure campaign against a sordid media figure. MSNBC is making a lot of money on Imus, and they are trying to have it both ways. This is fairly typical for General Electric, which owns a lot of our media properties.
After the Fox News, Nevada Democratic Party and CBC Institute situation, it's nice to see this one take off as well. I know there is a small number of boomer white liberalish types who believe that this is censorship or that Imus isn't that bad, but they are wrong and most progressives believe they are wrong. It's going to be harder for these racist jerks to keep doing what they do without pressure. Let's also be clear, the antisemitism is as core as the racism, since it's all part of a cultural argument that those dirty hippy Jew black gay muslim city people don't deserve power in our country.
Fox News is pathetic, but in one sense, they at least have a strategy of attracting a racist conservative audience. MSNBC, by hiding behind it's 'Imus doesn't represent us, he just makes us money' continues to be a joke.
UPDATE: Cal Ripken is boycotting. AdamB asks, "If Cal Ripken can boycott Imus, why can't Democratic politicians?" Good question.