Is Imus Gone?

Reply Wed 11 Apr, 2007 11:25 pm
Imus's last outrage?

By Joan Vennochi, Globe Columnist | April 12, 2007

MONEY TALKS, and in the case of Don Imus, it is saying: "You're history."

Prominent advertisers are distancing themselves from the legendary broadcaster. Staples, the office supply chain, asked MSNBC to remove its advertising from the television simulcast of Imus's radio program. Procter & Gamble withdrew all its advertising from MSNBC's daytime schedule. American Express Co. and General Motors Corp. also pulled advertisements from the show, which is broadcast on CBS Radio and MSNBC television. The simulcast was later canceled.

These sponsors understood what Imus's star-powered stable of pundits and politicos did not: When you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. They showed more courage than anyone in the Imus crowd.

But look what it took for Imus to finally shock them.

He called the Rutgers women's basketball team "nappy-headed ho's," a line that is arguably no worse than many others offered up over his long career.

The I-Man routinely insults women, Jews, Catholics, politicians of all ideologies, and anyone else he chooses to label as a "lying weasel." This time, he picked the wrong target, idly going after young, black female athletes. It was Goliath going after Cinderella. The racially tinged subplot generated outrage, mostly from African-Americans.

In an op-ed published in The New York Times, broadcast journalist Gwen Ifill wrote about learning that Imus once referred to her as "the cleaning lady." Given the history of racist cracks on his show, she asked: "Why do my journalistic colleagues appear on Mr. Imus's program?"

The answer is clear. Over the years, Imus invested mightily in the white media and political elite, and the investment paid off.

No one wants to give up the air time or book plugs, no matter what Imus says on the air. He forgives them their transgressions, be it plagiarism or drunken moments caught on tape, and they forgive him his.

Yesterday, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois became the first presidential candidate to call for Imus to be fired. In doing so, Obama one-upped Senator Hillary Clinton of New York who blasted Imus on her website and asked supporters to send messages of support to the Rutgers students.

All the presidential candidates decried the Imus remarks, but some, like Senator John McCain of Arizona and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, said they would still appear on the show.

The pro-Imus argument goes like this: He donates millions to charity and runs a camp for young cancer patients; some of the cancer patients are black. Therefore, he is a self-described "good person " and cannot be racist.

Well, a man can beat his wife and still give away money to women's causes. It makes him a generous wife-beater. The same logic applies to Imus.

The national media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting recycled numerous examples of racist, sexist, and generally bigoted commentary from the Imus show over the years. Besides the "cleaning lady" crack about Ifill, Imus called New York Times sports reporter Bill Rhoden a "quota hire." He once called Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz a "beanie-wearing Jewboy." He called the New York Knicks "chest-thumping pimps." More recently, according to Media Matters for America, Imus sidekick Bernard McGuirk, performing as his character Cardinal Egan, said on March 16 that the "whole nation is talking about" reports of a "young colored fellah pretty much deckin' the old bag from New York and takin' away some of her money." Added McGuirk: "I'm speaking, of course, about Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton." On March 6, McGuirk said Clinton "will have cornrows and gold teeth before this fight with Obama is over."

Imus apologized for his latest remark and was suspended for two weeks. But this time, his job could be on the line, said John DePetro, a radio talk show host who was fired by WRKO after calling gubernatorial candidate Grace Ross a "fat lesbian."

"As much as mine was mean-spirited, it was factually accurate," said DePetro, who now works at WPRO in Providence. The problem with the Imus comment, he said, is "there's no way to defend it. These girls are not whores. They are not prostitutes. "

Letting DePetro go was partly market-driven. In the end, the market will decide Imus's fate, too.

The bottom line: no sponsors, no Imus.

Boston Globe
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Debra Law
Reply Thu 3 May, 2007 11:22 am
Imus is not gone. He is suing CBS for breach of contract. According to a CNN news report, there was a clause in Imus's contract that specifically provided that CBS desired Imus to make controversial statements on the air. He was fired for doing exactly what CBS hired him to do--stir up controversy. CBS owes Imus $40 million dollars.
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Reply Thu 3 May, 2007 11:45 am
Who cares
Who cares!
Imus and his lawyers will have a field day. More money circulate in the economy... and media will feast of his (lame radio/tv show's) dead carcass.
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Debra Law
Reply Thu 3 May, 2007 11:46 am
Contract term:

"Company [CBS Radio] acknowledges its familiarity with the program Conducted by Artist [Imus] on the station [WFAN] prior to company's ownership thereof and it, and its familiarity with the reviews and comments, both favorable and unfavorable concerning Artist and his material by critics, reviewers and writers of the various media both in New York and nationally. Company acknowledges that Artist's services to be rendered hereunder are of a unique, extraordinary, irreverent, intellectual, topical, controversial and personal character and that programs of the same general type and nature containing these components are desired by Company and are consistent with Company rules and policies."

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Reply Thu 3 May, 2007 11:54 am
CBS owes Imus $40 million dollars

That's the balance of his contract.
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Debra Law
Reply Thu 3 May, 2007 12:26 pm
Imus attorney: We'll sue CBS for full contract


NEW YORK -- Disgraced radio host Don Imus, fired for racist and sexist comments barely three months into a five-year, $40 million contract, plans a lawsuit against CBS Radio to collect the huge unpaid portion of his salary, his attorney said Thursday.

"We expect to file a complaint by the end of next week alleging breach of contract," said Martin Garbus, the noted First Amendment attorney whose past clients include comedian Lenny Bruce, the rap group Public Enemy and filmmaker Spike Lee.

But Garbus said the suit involved simple contract law rather than any First Amendment issues. He cited a clause in the 66-year-old Imus' contact with CBS where the company acknowledged the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame inductee's services were "unique, extraordinary, irreverent, intellectual, topical, controversial."

The clause said Imus's programming was "desired by company and ... consistent with company rules and policy," according to Garbus.

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Reply Thu 3 May, 2007 01:36 pm
And he ought to get every penny of that 40 mil. As glad as I was to see his dusty ass sacked, at the same time, it does appear that he was doing exactly what CBS was paying him to do, with no limits.
Hopefully, he'll continue to do good with his money. And keep his stupid mouth shut.
0 Replies
Reply Thu 3 May, 2007 01:39 pm
About the only interest this clown still has for me is a vague curiosity about whether or not the door hit him in the @ss.
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Reply Thu 3 May, 2007 10:07 pm
I've mild interest in that I took Moonves' take on Imus' (last) offensive show to be hypocritical to zee max.
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Reply Thu 3 May, 2007 10:12 pm
I'd like to see him get that money. The only part that sucks is that CBS doesn't get to take any of the shame or blame for what he said. They're the assh*les who wanted this kind of **** on the radio in the first place.
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