Imus Gets Axed
I suppose the outcome of this Don Imus controversy was about as predictable as a mid-90’s Tyson fight: sooner or later, Imus was gonna go down hard. Everyone suspected that CBS would be seriously considering cutting Imus from its radio network, but with the two week suspension already imposed, no one guessed it would come so soon.
Then again, Tyson was famous for his first-round knockouts…
Though the outcome of this came rather quickly after the story broke, it really took awhile for the story to actually break. After all, the comments were made the week before the Easter holiday. It was overshadowed heavily by weird weather patterns causing snow in parts of the country around the first of April, and, of course, the coincidence of various Easter celebrations around the world. It was only after Imus appeared on Al Sharpton’s radio show that the firestorm started, and his now-infamous three-word phrase caught the attention of the press and public.
Fast-forward almost a week from the day the comments were made and this is what’s happened:
1.) Imus met with Al Sharpton on Sharpton’s own radio show, only to be “torn a new one” by Sharpton and his listeners.
2.) Everyone from the whole of the NAACP and Jessie Jackson to a CBS Corp. Director calls for Imus to either quit in shame, or be fired.
3.) MSNBC pulls the “Imus in the Morning” simulcast after big-name sponsors pull their support from the $20 million a year radio show. Among those newly ex-sponsors are heavy hitters American Express, Sprint NexTel, GM, and Proctor and Gamble.
4.) The Rutgers Women’s Basketball team holds a press conference at which they express their disgust and sadness over Imus’ words
5.) Today Imus gets fired and meets with the women he insulted on a such a personal level and on national TV and radio.
Sounds like a busy week for Don Imus. Now that his show has been canceled, the question of “What will he do next” looms. Many see him following fellow shock jock Howard Stern to satellite radio, but no offers have been made as of yet, and I really don’t expect there to be any. For one, Stern never caused such a huge loss in revenue for his parent company by way of loss of sponsors. Fines are one thing, but when over 4 million people tune in every day to listen, sponsors are willing to forgive quite a lot. It would seem, however, totally pissing off an entire segment of American society is on the other side of that line, and Imus not only toed it, but leaped across it.
This whole fiasco also calls into light the current state of American society. It used to be that one had freedom of speech to say whatever one wanted to say without regards to who may like it or not. Now, it seems people are forcing themselves (and others) to be responsible with that freedom. Sure, Imus can say whatever he pleases with his radio show, and he surely did. He can’t go to jail for it, and it won’t be sued, but it did cost him (and his parent companies) quite a lot of money for three little words.
If the pen is mightier than the sword, then the mouth is a doomsday weapon.