"Imus was living in two worlds. There was the risqué, sexually offensive, sometimes racially offensive, satire, and then there was this political salon about politics and books. Some of us tuned in to one part and tuned out the other ... Whether I was numb to the humor that offended people or in denial, I don't know."This article seems to be the beginning of the rehabilitation of Don Imus. Consider this, which shows the special power he had to skewer politicians and mainstream journalists, including the ones who couldn't pass up the air time:
Between insults, he gave politicians and journalists... lots of air time to discuss serious issues and plug their books. He asked real questions and then listened to the answers. The show became an influential salon for the politically connected. Powerful people tuned in to hear what other powerful people would say. For a certain segment of status-obsessed journalists, being called names by Imus was better than not being called at all. Imus had a talent for coaxing his guests into saying what they really thought, often in salty language they'd never use on more "respectable" shows....We need to think about why people were so hot to bring him down. Kosova provides the time line:
Imus may have come off as your deranged, half-addled uncle (he kicked booze and drugs years ago), but he also came to the microphone each morning carefully prepared for battle. He read more books and newspapers than most of his guests and was a formidable interrogator who could cut the powerful down to size. On a recent show, Imus badgered Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, a frequent guest, about the deplorable conditions at Walter Reed hospital. Schumer tried to go for the high-and-mighty approach, castigating Republicans for failing the troops. Imus pounced. When was the last time Schumer visited the troops at Walter Reed? Deflated, Schumer haltingly admitted he hadn't been there in years.
[U]nknown to Imus, one of his most loyal listeners in Washington, D.C., was watching, and taping, the show every day.... 26-year-old Ryan Chiachiere wasn't a fan, and he wasn't tuning in to be entertained. Chiachiere is one of a handful of young activists who spend their days wading through hours of radio and cable shows for Media Matters for America, a liberal group whose sole purpose is rooting out and "correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media." Wired on coffee, Chiachiere was watching a recording of Imus's show when he noticed the "hos" remark.That is, Media Matters had been lying in wait for a long time, and finally they got exactly the sound bite they needed, and they played it masterfully. Think about why things fell into place so well and why so many people fell in line and took down this idiosyncratic character, who had been talking on the radio four hours a day, five days a week for so long. Who knows what havoc he might have wreaked in the 2008 campaign? Isn't it convenient to have him out of the way?
It was a big hit at the group's morning meeting....
The group posted a video clip of the exchange on its Web site and put it up on YouTube. It sent e-mails to journalists and civil-rights and women's groups.
The word, and the outrage, spread quickly. A week later, Imus was gone, banished from his multimillion-dollar television and radio show even before he had the chance to complete the all-too-familiar cycle of public penance that high-profile sinners are usually granted.
Or do you support the rehabilitation of Imus?
In an e-mail to NEWSWEEK, Imus said, "I could go to work tomorrow. Bigger deal. More money. TV simulcast ... I've got a summer of kids to cowboy with and then we'll see." He knows what he said was wrong, and that there is much to do. Asked whether his recovery from addiction had given him the strength to cope with the current crisis, he sounded like, well, Imus: "I'm a good and decent person who made a mistake in the context of comedy," he wrote in the e-mail. "My strength comes from not being full of sh— and a coward."Our political world is full cowards and folks who are full of shit. Is Imus really the one you want gone?