Wednesday, April 11, 2007

In the Matter of USA v. Don Imus

Note: Today this blogger broadens his usual hyper-local focus to address an issue of grave national concern, one that has divided the people and preoccupied the news media for the past three days. Thanks for your indulgence. – Hidalgo Hidalgo, executive editor and former Texas flyweight champion

Our first thought upon hearing that MSNBC had tossed Imus from its early morning broadcast was Where now can we turn when we’re in the mood to see Billy Joe Shaver live while we butter our toast?

Perhaps we’ll return to listening to NPR regularly. Or spend more quality time with the family.

For this development was must thank Al Sharpton (while wondering when he’ll get around to apologizing for the Tawana Brawley witch-hunt, which actually damaged lives), and of course MSNBC for bowing to the dictates of the market, but mostly we must thank Don Imus for managing to shoot himself in the head while aiming for his foot.

We were not among the TV audience for the “nappy-headed ’ho’s” comment, but we were somewhat surprised that it was the one that brought Imus down because we had heard similar or worse from Imus and his Boys’ Club regulars over the years (Slate compiled a lengthy bill of particulars; nothing like kicking a corpse when it’s stiff).

We still watched, although we can’t really say we “watched,” as we usually flipped on the TV a couple or mornings a week and then went about our routine---scanning the newspaper, brewing our pot of Community, screaming at the kids to wake up---while occasionally looking up to see if anything worthwhile was transpiring on the TV.

Most times there wasn’t, unless you found entertaining the tiresome in-jokes about Imus’s crankiness or his wife’s frequent expounding of her learned theories on the causes of autism and disease or the Clinton impersonator with the same stale lines, etc.

But … every so often Imus and his guests produced some real intelligence that worked its way to the foreground through the winking and nudging, like his recent unfeigned outrage over the conditions at Water Reed (something really deserving of outrage) and the way he vigorously pushed the Washington Post’s revelations about the army hospital in the faces of regular guest-pals like McCain and Lieberman. You don’t see that sort of thing too often on TV, with its denatured personalities so eager to bend down and spit-shine the shoes of anyone with even the faint aura of money, power or authority (and Keith Olbermann trying to wedge himself into Edward R. Murrow’s wingtips doesn’t count, ’cause the act’s as phony as his show his long).

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