What's All This Then?

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Thursday, April 12, 2007
(I’m sure Imus won’t think he’s being dissed)….

I looked all over the place yesterday to find the statements from Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. I zapped through cable channels and all the network news and discussion programs. I paused at Larry King’s slot on CNN. I watched Wolf Blitzer for a while. I even checked in on (gulp) Bill O’Reilly But I couldn’t find anything anywhere. I must have just missed their combination of apologies and condemnations as I moved from one channel to another - but I’m sure they made them.

I wouldn’t want to compare them to Don Imus - but when an alleged racist like Imus can apologize for spreading his racial hatred over the public airways - you know that saintly figures like the Jackson /Sharpton team of fighters against racial injustice would be front and center in apologizing to those young , white, Duke University college students whose heads they demanded on a platter after they were accused of gang rape by a black girl. Without any evidence of course. Who needs evidence when you’re defending a young black girl against a racially motivated assault?

And now that the girl’s accusations have been found to be baseless and the district attorney’s behavior having more to do with pandering to black votes than to the pursuit of justice, I fully expect that the dynamic duo will be calling for both to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. After all, while I sympathize with those members of the Rutgers basketball team who believe that their lives have been "scarred for life" by what Imus said about them - the Duke University kids really had their lives turned upside down. Losing out on opportunities that you had worked for all of your young life and having that substituted with the possibility of spending the rest of your life in jail, is I think a little more "scarring" than being called an insulting name by some shock-jock who was trying to be funny.

Maybe Jesse and Al can make their joint apology/condemnation statement on the Oprah Winfrey show. Maybe Oprah can combine that with what I assume is a program in the planning stage to interview the vindicated LaCrosse players and their coach. No, wait a minute - the coach was fired. He’s no longer at Duke University. Come to think of it, it’s amazing that Duke University is still involved with these exonerated students or the sport of LaCrosse. As I recall what happened after the false, totally unsupported accusation of rape was made and even before it was gleefully pounced upon by a prosecutor who was seeking re-election in an area heavily populated by African Americans, the powers that be at Duke joined in the Jackson/Sharpton rush to judgment. They suspended the LaCrosse program and fired the LaCrosse coach. Maybe Duke should be issuing apologies while some shining knight of racial equality condemns the hell out of Duke president Richard H. Brodhead. Maybe Oprah can take on that task. With the coach no longer at Duke, she might not be able to get him and those three kids together - but blasting Brodhead would give her a role in the case. With the Rutgers girls appearing on her show today, I’m sure Oprah will do what is necessary to make it clear that she’s an equal opportunity opponent of racial injustice.

O.K. What I’m doing here is comparing insults and assaults - one with black college kids on the receiving end and one with white college kids on the receiving end - and I’m comparing the brouhaha over the two incidents and which of the two has an overloaded bandwagon of people and corporations shouting "off with his head."

One corporation that jumped on the bandwagon this morning - or at least this morning is when I learned about it via e-mail - is the Jewish Daily Forward - an American newspaper dealing with Jewish affairs. They sent out this story of what they term "anti-Semitic vitriol" by Imus. I don’t find it terribly vitriolic myself, but what’s interesting about the story is that Imus is defending the appearance on his show of a group of blind, black gospel singers against the reservations of the "Jewish management" of his station. He also called them "money grubbing bastards" - the managers, not the blind gospel singers.

The point here is that Imus seems to be an equal opportunity defender and insulter - admittedly defending and insulting with a loose tongue. I’m just wondering if the Jackson/Sharpton team can make the same claim.

Update Just heard the news that CBS has indeed canned Imus. His current show is over. CBS put out one of those "we’re doing it for the noblest of reasons" statements - similar to that issued by MSNBC when they canned the simulcast of the radio show. Call me a cynic but I wonder if those actions and those statements would have been issued if no sponsor had pulled out. It’ll be interesting to see who comes back to advertise on whatever or whoever CBS comes up with to replace Imus.