Friday, April 13, 2007

Imus: Now the "liberal media" cares 

The thing I haven't quite understood about this whole Don Imus controversy is why this remark has managed to get him fired.

He's been making worse -- or at least equivalent -- racist, sexist, and anti-Semitic "jokes" for years, and "liberal giants" CBS and NBC were just fine with it. To wit:
When the New York Times hired black reporter Gwen Ifill, Imus said it was nice of the paper to "let the cleaning lady cover the White House."

He called Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post a "boner-nosed, beanie-wearing Jew boy."

And he's referred to the "Jewish management" at CBS as "money-grubbing bastards."
It could just be the proverbial straw-that-broke-the-camel's-back type situation. But there's usually something else at play in addition to the "straw": a change in prevailing attitudes, an aggravating circumstance, etc.

Searching for hypotheses, I found an interesting one on a website called CounterPunch. The author theorizes that it's because this time, Imus picked on athletes. Money quote:
We are relentlessly sold the idea that our games are safe space from this kind of political swill. We are also told that sports are a "field of dreams," a true meritocracy where hard work always meets rewards. But when the playing field is shown to be unlevel, it stings. This sporting reality can wake people up and reveal the hidden inequities in our society that otherwise go unnoticed. When a Rutgers team defies the odds and makes the NCAA finals, and gets called "nappy headed hos" for their trouble, it presses a very all-too-raw nerve.
Maybe. Or maybe it was just time for a scandal -- it hit at the right time in the news cycle. Plenty of theories, I suppose.

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