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The Unintended Consequences of Rutgers and Imus

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Message Frank Vyan Walton

This certainly has been an interesting week for college sports scandals, where we've had the defrocking of radio legend Don Imus as well as the complete punking of DA Nifong.

But exactly what have we learned from all this?

Has a serious message been sent that callous attacks for the purposes of bad humor won't be tolerated on the public airwaves, and that a prosecutor should have a credible witness actual evidence before making defamatory pronouncements of a defendants guilt?

Quite a few interesting comments have been made on this subject , even on Real Time with Bill Maher last night.

Dana Carvey: What he said was ridiculous.

Scott McClennan: Where was the joke there? There was no joke.

Maher: Imus broke two major rules of comendy. It wasn't true and he picked on not the powerful, but the weak. Everything I got in trouble for was true

We have to remember that Maher has been directly in Imus' shoes after ABC pulled his show "Politically Incorrect" off the air in the weeks following Sept 11th.

"I do not relinquish - nor should any of you - the right to criticize, even as we support, our government," Maher said. "This is still a democracy and they're still politicians, so we need to let our government know that we can't afford a lot of things that we used to be able to afford. Like a missile shield that will never work for an enemy that doesn't exist. We can't afford to be fighting wrong and silly wars. The cold war. The drug war. The culture war."

What Maher said later in the show, however, is what made headlines. Panelist Dinesh D'Souza mentioned that he didn't think the terrorists were "cowards," as George Bush had described them. Maher replied: "We have been the cowards. Lobbing cruise missiles from two thousand miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building. Say what you want about it. Not cowardly. You're right."

At that time both Limbaugh and O'Reily supported what Maher said, arguing that he wasn't insulting our troops, but was instead criticizing President Clinton.

Unfortunately the reality is that Clinton wasn't the one who was "cowardly", he had requested special forces be sent into Afghanistan after Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda and it was the joint chief's who had cold feet as has been documented by Richard Clarke's Against All Enemies - Clinton told then Joint Chief's Chairman Gen Shelton...

"Hugh, what i think would scare the sh*t outof these al Qaeda guys more than any cruise missle... would be the sight of U.S. commandos, Ninja guys in black suits, jumping out of helicopters into their camps, spraying machine guns. Even if we don't get the big guys, it will have a good effect."

But Shelton wasn't down with that.

Shelton looked pained. He explained that the camps were a long way away from anywhere we could launch a helicopter raid. Nonetheless, America's top military oficer agreed to "look into it".

And "look into it" is all they ever did - until after 9/11. Since that time D'Souza has come forward to make the ridiculous claim that The Left was responsible for 9/11 - but where is the backlash to that?

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Born and Bred in South Central LA. I spent 12 years working in the IT Dept. for federal contractor Northrop-Grumman on classified and high security projects such as the B2 Bomber. After Northrop I became an IT consultant with the state of California in Sacramento and worked on projects with the Dept of Consumer Affairs and (more...)
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