April 12, 2007
Finally, there is an exit strategy. No not in Iraq; in the Don Imus debacle. Imus had made stupid comments, for which he apologized profusely, and today he was fired; capping a whirlwind week of media coverage which continues to reveal the utter uselessness of media today.
For the record, I am not a Don Imus fan. Just a matter of personal preference really. People like Don Imus and Howard Stern have always taken the easy way out in their humor. Making fun of the defenseless just doesn’t make me laugh I guess; nor does making fun of what is easy to make fun of. That aside, the Don Imus situation reveals the continual enablement of the corporate media structure in modern day America. In a month where our kids continue to die in Iraq, Alberto Gonzalez appears to have lied to Congress, and the middle class continues to slide toward the working poor; the ridiculous media coverage of a knucklehead like Imus, behaving like a knucklehead, is beyond unseemly. It is disgusting.
Don Imus is a “shock-jock”. His job is to be over the top, racy, and often offensive. It is not like Brian Williams referred to the Rutgers women as nappy headed ho’s on the evening news. Every month it seems we have another borderline “news” story that is trumped up into some catalyzing moment in Americana. It is not of course. It is no more a serious news event than the Scott Peterson trial or the missing girl in Aruba. Yet what do we see? We see this self-perpetuated drama get opening to closing coverage on programs such as “Hardball” for this whole week; where various talking heads can come together and discuss the absolute shock that Don Imus, who has said stupid things for a living over the past 30 years, had said something stupid. Psychologists pontificating about the fragile psyche of these female basketball players, who seemed to be the only ones taking this correctly. People like Pat Buchanan being forced to weigh in on Imus-gate. It would be fantastically hysterical, if it was not so sad and speaks to the demise of the media today.
This is not to say that the firing was not deserved. Do not be deceived of course, as this was strictly a business decision. The larger point is why there is a need for wall-to-wall coverage in the media, when there are clearly so much more important matters going on in this world today. Adding to the confusion, is the very same media outlets that are expressing their outrage and over-covering are the same ones that employ people who are not employed in the comedy business, yet say things as noxious as Mr. Imus. So Don Imus has to go, but Ann Coulter is somehow ok? A woman who called John Edwards a f*ggot? A woman who called the widows of 911 “harpies”? She gets to stay unfettered but Don Imus is the lightening rod for poor discourse in this country? What about Rush Limbaugh, who mocked Michael J. Fox, and thus all people with disabilities? What about the disgusting radio heads like Hannity, Levin and Savage; who spread their message of hate across the airwaves every day? Keep in mind that these folks are not doing comedy.
MSNBC, Hardball and corporate media should be ashamed of themselves. Don Imus has been a relative jerk for over 30 years. He will now make his way to satellite radio like Stern before him. There will be another Imus story next month to distract you from what is real news. Last month it was who the father of Anna-Nicole’s child. The month before it was the astronaut women in diapers. This is what passes for news today in America. It is sad in its scope and severity.
For the record, in case you didn’t hear about it, more of our kids died in Iraq today. In fact, 8 people were killed in a bombing at the Iraqi Parliament, within the vaunted “green zone.” These are real people, who had real families who really died today while people in this country who pretend to work for the media regaled you with tales of Don Imus. In other developments, the White House appears to have destroyed the emails in Gonzalez-gate that would have revealed the truth. In real news, President Bush still plans to veto funding for the troops. Apparently the message from the corporate media is that Don Imus, being Don Imus, is more important than the economy, the war, and the rest of the real news in this world.
Months ago I thought the corporate media hit rock bottom with the week-long coverage of John Mark Karr, including what he ate on his plane ride back to the United States. A week worth of coverage for a guy who merely claimed something that in the end was not even true. Oops. At least in that non-story there was some unknown. In this non-story all we have is the corporate media propping up Don Imus to be repeatedly flogged until it might have a sliver of the appearance of news. All the while ignoring the larger picture about their own inherent hypocrisy with the Coulters and Limbaughs of the world. All the while ignoring the real news. More of our children died today in a desert half a world away for lies and all we see is Don Imus. Well, the exit strategy is in and he is now fired. Can we all get our eyes back on the ball now?