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We must decide who stays on air through the power of the purse

By       Message Mary MacElveen     Permalink
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This will be my last writing on this one particular issue in which my last column was not well received for both CBS and MSNBC to put Don Imus back on the air.  I will not write this column based on emotions but pure logic.  Emotions can obfuscate how it will be received by the reader especially if the reader does not share the same emotions.

I still feel that Don Imus was singled out in which there are literally many who have had a long laundry list of bad behavior on television and radio similar to Don Imus.  Yet people like Limbaugh, O’Reilly and Nancy Grace remain on the air.  They may not have used vulgarity such as Imus, but what they said and continue to say does create outrage.  But it is not as intense as the outrage which was brought to bear on Don Imus.  Call it selective prosecution if you will.  In no way am I defending Don Imus’s bad behavior since many of the things he said I did and still do find abhorrent.  Yes, he has done great work for sick children, but in further thinking he muddied the waters.  I hope that he uses this time to focus on their needs by reaching out to people.

In the case of O’Reilly, he said that Shawn Hornbeck who law enforcement and family members believe was sexually abused “enjoyed” his four years in captivity.  He can call for Rosie O’Donnell to be thrown off the air for expressing her opinions, yet he will not hold himself to the same level of scrutiny.  In fact, he has told people to “shut up” who did not agree with him. I did write three columns based on this one case, but the original column is one that was the first of this series.  I take pedophilia pretty seriously since I have been addressing this issue for ten years and you just do not do that to a victim of pedophilia.  Who came to Shawn’s defense and pressured Fox to take him off the air?  No one did.

In the case of Nancy Grace which I wrote of in this column, she literally pummeled a guest on her TV show whose son went missing.  As a result of that show, the woman committed suicide.  I suggest that you read it to educate yourself on the facts of this case.  I believe what Grace did was far more heinous than Imus.  Yet, there she sits still on-air.  Why not the same pressure to take her off the air as was the case with Don Imus?  Who spoke up for the now deceased, Melinda Duckett?  Only a few did. Why weren’t any leaders speaking up for her and placing pressure on CNN to fire Nancy Grace?

If the same level of standards does not apply to all, then how can it apply to just one?  It is one of the reasons why I am against the death penalty since it is not applied equally under the law.  Some get life in prison, and others get the hot-shot.

Before the Imus situation, there was not this intense pressure to pull someone off the air when others were just as guilty.  Yet, Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson interjected their presence in this case.  Why weren’t they there for other victims of these media shock-jocks and television hosts?  I do think that is a valid question.

While this does not pertain to any media personality; where is Sharpton’s and Jackson’s voice in relation to the Duke rape case?  Here you have three fine young men charged with rape by a prosecutor when the evidence proved otherwise.

Another item to address is that not as many people were speaking up in outrage prior to this one event.  You would think this type of chatter on the air would outrage a great majority of the people.  Then again given the many lies told by President Bush which got us into this war; where is the ground swell of outrage coming from society itself?  Both deal with the basic tenets of morality.  More people are speaking of Don Imus’s actions instead of impeachment.  I find that fascinating especially when over 3,200 soldiers have perished and over 600,000 innocent Iraqis perished according to The Lancet.

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I do feel that we have an apathetic society.  I do feel that it is the media who decides what will outrage us or not.  Given the many incidents in which Bush should be impeached, if one dares call for it as Rosie O’Donnell did, other media pundits go ballistic.  Yet given the facts in evidence you do not hear coming from every news organization that President Bush should be impeached.  Another way to prove our apathy is the percentage of registered voters that actually do vote.  In the presidential elections roughly half bother to show up to the polls.  Pathetic!

In our society for better or worse horrific language sells and Rap music brings in millions and millions of dollars annually to the record industry.  My guess is that folks like to listen to it.  I do believe that human psychology what it is that some do have a dark side and this is what they wish to listen to.  That is their right.  So, how does one confront media giants that depend upon these sales revenues to bring decency back?  It is not done by any agency or government official; it has to come from the public.  We have to be the ones to say, we will not purchase these CDs anymore.  The same goes towards movies and what we listen to on the radio as well as what we watch on TV.  You don’t like it, don’t buy it.

During the 1980s, Tipper Gore voiced her outrage of “sexually explicit and violent content of rock music lyrics, a self-styled crusade in the mid-1980's that earned her the enmity of many in the music industry. At the time, Frank Zappa, the musician, branded her as a "cultural terrorist" and dismissed her effort as a "housewife-hobby project." But she defended this strategy and I do believe it at least gives parents a fighting chance when children are confronted with raw music.  Notice how it was received by the music industry?  They did not like anyone attacking the millions they make off of this music.  If you do not like what is coming into your homes via the airwaves and now the Internet; block it.  Do not rely on the government since you may not like the outcome.

While in my first column addressing this issue, in which I did hear from others mirroring my opinion to take off everyone we find objectionable.  One person may not find objectionable what another does.  For better or worse in which I believe the latter, Ann Coulter’s book, “Godless: The Church of Liberalism” was on the NY Times bestseller list.  I cringed at that fact, but she does have her supporters out there. So you see not everyone feels as I do or you do of who should appear on television and get to sell books.  If you do not like Ann’s books, just do not buy them and make sure you write her publisher as well as the bookstores that sell them.

How do we as a society come to a consensus of what we find offensive and hateful being that the country is polarized?  While many believe if you are going to take off Don Imus, then all must go who have used the same form of vulgarity or hate.  Then you will have folks who feel the opposite.  As much as those who do not support this form of language on our public airwaves, there will be others that will fight this move.

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Now we get to the good part, if we believe that government should decide these standards, government is not all that smart.  In the past five years we have seen the erosion of the United States Constitution through both Patriot Acts as well as the Military Commissions Act of 2006; do we want it stripped further?  People were pretty upset with the passage of those bills into law; do we propose a new law to monitor free speech?  That, my friends is the slippery slope right there.  What language will these elected officials see as objectionable?  It may not be to your liking.  Just suppose for a minute that it became illegal to protest your own government which is also a part of free speech.  What about freedom of assembly?

Do not look to government or any agency when it comes to racism in our country, we must look to ourselves to address this issue.

I do believe the answer lies in all of us and not the corporations who are dependent upon this revenue and the government who loves passing law after law and many not to our liking.  If you do not like an entertainer, do not buy their CDs or go to their movies.  If you hate to see Ann Coulter on any show, turn the channel and write the show your reason why.  The same can be said of Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh.  Tell those that advertise on The O’Reilly Factor and Rush Limbaugh’s radio show you will not buy their products.  I bet you bottoms to dollars that those who did not like what Rosie O’Donnell opined on The View did just that.

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I am a writer who currently writes pieces for my own blog I have been published by, and I was a guest on the Jay Diamond Radio Show on WRKO in Boston and have (more...)

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