Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A quick thought on the whole Imus fiasco (these are my own thoughts, and don't necessarily represents the thoughts of cliffschecter.com and all herein. Thank you for your patronage).

Imus is basically a jackass. I know folks who listen to him and find him funny, but I never have. What he said is deplorable, and not necessarily any different than other things he has said over the years. He deserves all the condemnation he is receiving. And yes, he does look like the illegitimate 50 year old love child of Keith Richards and Kathy Bates after 6 months in rehab.

On the other hand, it bothers me when left-leaning folks call for him to be taken off the air. Imus is free to say what he wants, and other people are free to listen to it. If you find him offensive, organize a boycott. Go after his sponsors, use the capitalist system we have. If you cut down on his advertisers, he will disappear.

But banishing someone because you don't like what they say is an infringement of the First Amendment. We say some harsh things here at Cliffschecter.com. We will continue to do so, especially regarding the putrid piece of vomitous manflesh named Karl Rove.

It is likely that some will find our tone offensive. But that doesn't mean they have the right to stop us from saying what we believe.

Our capitalist democracy is an amazing achievement. It is a brilliant amalgam of ideas, leading to one of the freest societies man has ever known. We need to be careful of extinguishing even the slightest bit of those freedoms, even with the best intentions.

I look forward to hearing comments on why I am wrong

29 Comments:

At 2:08 PM, Blogger BC said...

So, am I an idiot or what?

 
At 2:18 PM, Blogger Paddy said...

Ooooh, FLAME WAR!!!

I guess as the "token" estrogen vessel, I shall be forced to defend my fellow females.

Erm, maybe not.

I'm just pissed they are treating this as if it's as important as the ANS Baby Daddy Drama.

Now THERE is something worth millions of dollars of expensive televion time!!

 
At 2:21 PM, Anonymous Evorgleb said...

Wow, the Imus thing is just crazy. I personally have mixed feelings about it. If any of you care to read it, one of our writers over at Highbrid Nation worked with Imus over at WFAN for several years and recently chimed in on the whole situation. He also reveals some details that the media is failing to report on in regards to the suspension

 
At 2:25 PM, Anonymous John Aravosis' Neighbor Barbara said...

I only listened to him while waiting for the Stephanie Miller Show to come on at 9 am. Imus was on just before her show. The "Progressive Talk" radio station he was on got rid of him soon after they starting programming Air America and other progressive talk shows. Too many people complained about him not being a progressive and the station management agreed. I believe his show moved elsewhere on the radio dial, but I certainly don't want to listen wherever he washed up.

It is amazing to me that he thought he could just say this stuff and not have to answer for it. His arrogance knows no bounds and I am supremely disappointed in Tom Oliphant and his cohorts for defending this chump.

 
At 3:17 PM, Anonymous Mary Ellen said...

BC

I have no qualms about asking that Imus be fired from his job. Getting fired from a radio station isn't keeping him from his free speech, it's keeping the air waves clear of racist, inflammatory speech. This is supposed to be the job of the management of this tv station that carries his show. Not only do I think that Imus should be fired (for this and the numerous other shows where he laughed at racist humor and used it himself), but I also think that the producer and director of this show should be fired.

When free speech tramples on the rights of other American citizens, it should not be allowed on the public air waves. If he wants to make racist remarks off the air, he can do it all he wants...he has that right under the laws of free speech. But, the FCC should not allow this.

The sad thing about this is the girls basketball team, who will not be remembered for their hard work and effort in basketball, but will forever be remembered as the team that was called the "nappy haired ho's" by Imus. I don't know about you, but if I were the mother of one of those girls, I would be calling to have Imus, the director, and producer of that show to be fired.

I love free speech, but along with that comes responsibility. There was no responsibility on the part of Imus or his crew. They should all be fired.

 
At 3:23 PM, Blogger BC said...

But we've all seen Cliff on the air. Isn't what he does "inflammatory" as well. Couldn't it stand to reason that other people, offended by Cliff's commentary, could ask for him to be censored as well.

I have real qualms about asking the government, in the form of the FCC, to officiate what should and should not be said (except if someone is advocating violence, the whole "fire in the theater" thing).

Again, if you find him offensive, use the power of the purse to drive him from the air. But using the government to do so sets a dangerous precedent.

 
At 3:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a difference between your disagreement with people of another political persuasion, and Imus derogatory comments on people because of their race, disability or ethnicity. Furthermore, rap artistes who use the same kind of language don't have the kind of forum or power that Imus had.

 
At 4:01 PM, Anonymous Mary Ellen said...

BC

There is a huge difference between what Cliff says on the air, which is discussion of politics. To call a bunch of young girls "nappy haired ho's" is a big difference. What did those girls ever do to deserve that? I don't recall Cliff ever saying anything that was racist in when he is on tv or while on the blog.

There is no room for racism, IMO. When we allow racist speech on tv or on the radio, I think we are no better than the KKK walking around in their white sheets, or Hitler spouting about the "dirty Jews". That's not the America I want to live in.

Not to mention the fact, we do have free speech, but we also have laws about inciting violence. If we allow this type of hatred and racism to be accepted again in the US, we will be right back to square one with the civil rights movements. I was hoping to move forward, not backward.

 
At 4:08 PM, Anonymous Mary Ellen said...

we will be right back to square one with the civil rights movements.

That was poorly written. I meant to say that we would be right back to before the civil rights movement, when blacks were called niggers and they were treated as second class citizens.

Also, regarding the "power of the purse", it doesn't work. There are big corporations that fund these shows. It won't make a difference if I don't watch the show or write to their sponsors. That's been done so much that it doesn't make a difference anymore. The advertisers wil just say that the two week suspension was good enough for them.

Personally, I'm hoping that Imus resigns. But I don't think he has that much class...which was obvious by all the racist statements he's made in the past.

 
At 4:31 PM, Blogger BC said...

I've seen Cliff say some things about folks being closeted gays, which can be taken as being homphobic (In fact, a certain former Marine suggested that Cliff was a homophobe), so it's not that far of a stretch.

Second, I couldn't disagree more about the power of the purse. As you pointed out, these are corporations. They only do things based on money. If having Imus on the air hurts their pocketbook, he will be let go. They will not do anything out of the goodness of their hearts, because corporations don't have hearts. You can only change their minds through financial means.

And again, where do we stop? You mentioned anti-semitism. Didn't Rev. jackson use the term "Hymietown?" Should he also be banned from the public airwaves? It is a dangerous slope, and one I do not want to venture upon, rgardless of the purity of motives

 
At 4:34 PM, Blogger gimmeabreak said...

I think the suspension is enough. I agree intellectually that he should keep his job. Emotionally, not so much. But if we insist on Imus' firing or Rosie's firing we can't say a word when Annie C. or Billy O say what they say.

Imus isn't sorry about those girls - he's sorry for his suspension; he's sorry for the press and political sychophants that may or may not come on his show anymore.

On Sharpton's show yesterday the defensiveness was insane. When an editor from Ebony tossed back to him that Ebony and Jet had been fighting for sickle cell anemia research while Don was still pitching used car ads (he had made the claim that he was the ONLY one to fight for sickle cell) he freaked out. He can dish it out, but he can't take it. In fact, without Charles and the odious Bernard (who ABSOLUTELY should be fired and along with the oft-fired Rosenberg) around he is nothing.

So, I may or may not watch again. He won't lose much market share or advertisers - blacks probably don't watch or listen to him much.

 
At 7:01 PM, Anonymous Mary Ellen said...

BC


And again, where do we stop? You mentioned anti-semitism. Didn't Rev. jackson use the term "Hymietown?" Should he also be banned from the public airwaves? It is a dangerous slope, and one I do not want to venture upon, rgardless of the purity of motives


I've seen this same argument on the right wing blogs. This is where I stand on that. Jessie Jackson is a public figure, that is true. His remarks were wrong and offensive, I agree. But he wasn't working for a radio station when he said it was he? He didn't have an "employer" who owns a radio station or tv station that could take a stand and say, "that was offensive and racist, you're out." I wouldn't vote for Jackson for dog catcher, and would never go to see him in any of his speeches. That, I will do. But comparing his position and the position of a radio talk jock who's job it is to represent the radio station that he works for, say something racist, put him and said radio station and tv program in a position of responsibility.

Look at Rush Limbaugh...wasn't he fired when he made a racist statement in his very short-lived career as a sports commentator? Do you think that our country and our free speech was hurt by his firing? No!

The term "slippery slope" is often applied too often. It's common sense, BC, to expect someone who is a jockey on a radio or tv program to act with dignity and responsibility. If the owner of his show, whichever corporation it is, want to associate themselves with a racist and a bigot, that's up to them and they will pay the consequences for their actions. But if it were I...I'd fire his sorry ass and anyone else who would use the air waves to spew such vulgar hatred.

Germany is not a democracy, but after what they went through with Hitler and the Nazi era, they have laws that prohibit the display of a Nazi flag or any speech that spews the hatred of the Nazi regime. And ya know what? The German people don't think they are losing out on free speech. They are proud that their Government show the world that hatred will no longer be tolerated to that degree again. They are proud of that and I admire them for that. Not much to be admired in our country when some worn out piece of shit like Imus is protected by his rights of "free speech" to call a bunch of young, successful girls a bunch of "nappy haired ho's". Shameful.

If I worked in sales, and I called a customer such a thing, I would be fired on the spot. Free speech won't help my argument, because I was representing the company I work for when I did it.

This isn't about free speech, BC, it's about common decency.

 
At 7:55 PM, Blogger BC said...

I'm not sure I buy your explanation on Jackson. The Democratic Party has had Jesse Jackson run for President and speak at major functions. Bill CLinton had Jackson minister to him at the White House. If we're racist for not wanting to fire Imus, does that mean Clinton is anti-semitic for dealing with Jackson?

And Imus, regardless of whether he is saying something offensive, never acts with dignity and responsibility. He's a goofball, and that's part of his schtick. He definitely went too far this time, but we're not talking about Edward R. Murrow here.

As for Limbaugh, he was fired by ESPN, but he still broadcasts his show on radio. And the reason for that is simple, he represented ratings disaster for ESPN, which would hurt them financially. But radio wise, his remarks did not hurt the company financially. It is all about money.

Ultimately, I disagree that it is not about free speech. You cannot have free speech and have the government intervene at the same time. It's incompatible, and eventually, it will come back to haunt you. Over the past few years, Americans have been too quick to let go of their fundamental rights, sometimes even with the best intentions. I think it is wrong to ban a flag, even one I hate, just as I think it is wrong to ban burning a flag, even one I love.

I am even more saddened by the fact that conservatives seem to get this, but not the Left. Right now, conservatives are up in arms over Rosie O'Donnell and her statements about 9/11 and Iran on the View. But they haven't asked ABC to fire her. Instead, they set up a boycott of all the product sponsors of her show.

 
At 8:56 PM, Anonymous Mary Ellen said...

BC

I'm sorry BC, but I think you are missing the point. If a pedophile decides to write a blog about his escapades with molesting young children, his blog would be shut down because it is offensive and he would be arrested. Free speech? Should he be protected?

If we as a country can't use good common sense to know the difference between free speech and hateful racist speech, then we are in deep trouble. No society can sustain hatred,bigotry, and racism and continue to function as a free society. When someone uses racist speech against a person or group of people, they are taking away the rights of that group of people and their freedom to live a life of liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It's Imus who was stipping Americans of their rights, not the other way around.

I also think you have to see that it isn't the FCC that is firing Imus or even fining him, it's the corporation and owner of the stations who are doing this. So what's your problem with this? He wasn't jailed for his remarks, how is he losing the freedom of speech. He's been on how many talk shows in the last two days? Where is his loss of speech?

 
At 9:00 PM, Anonymous Mary Ellen said...

I am even more saddened by the fact that conservatives seem to get this, but not the Left. Right now, conservatives are up in arms over Rosie O'Donnell and her statements about 9/11 and Iran on the View. But they haven't asked ABC to fire her. Instead, they set up a boycott of all the product sponsors of her show.

Setting up a boycott isn't asking ABC to fire her? What is the point of the boycott? It's to get the station to fire her!

 
At 10:30 PM, Blogger BC said...

Sorry Mary Ellen, but I think there is a world of difference between Imus' statement about the Rutgers basketball team and a pedophile describing abuse of children.

Pedophilia is a crime. So is making death threats against the President. Both of those are night and day different than what Imus did. Racism, and racist jokes, are stupid, but they are not criminal offenses. Otherwise Michael Richards would be in jail.

You've now compared a stupid, bigoted remark to Hitler and pedophilia. That's too far of a stretch for me.

As for the FCC, you were the one who originally brought them up, asking them to remove his right to free speech. I object to that, but it was you asking the government to step in, not me.

"But, the FCC should not allow this."

As for boycotting, that's exactly what I was referring to when I said use the power of the purse. The right wingers aren't talking to Disney at all. They have gone about this boycott with an on-line petition and a list of sponsors. By using the power of the purse, they are hoping that ABC will make a business decision and dump Rosie. That's far different than asking the FCC to step in, as you said in your earlier post. It is also different than trying to play on the good conscience of corporate executives. Money talks.

I respect your passion about this issue, and I do think your motives are right. But when you start to judge what is and what is not protected speech, you set dangerous precedents. As I said in a previous post, there are a great many people in this country who see burning the flag as far more problematic (and seditious) than what Imus said. They've repeatedly tried to ban that act. It is wrong for them to censor, and to be intellectually honest, we must also agree that censorship is also wrong on things that we don't like.

 
At 1:09 AM, Anonymous Mary Ellen said...

BC

So, you think that racist speech should be permitted? Fine, when the hate speech turns to violence, tell me that it wasn't the words that hurt or killed someone, it was the action. Just like the old line from the gun lobbies, "Guns don't kill, people do." It's the same thing.

Where is the line that should be drawn, BC? Do you think that the rights of someone to spew racist remarks on radio outweighs the rights of those college students?

You tell me, when this language is directed at your child that it's ok for morons like Imus to keep working. You tell me how firing someone for those remarks takes away your free speech.

There is nothing wrong with firing a person from a job whenthey don't act in the best interest of your company. Calling for someone to be fired when they act irresponsibly and hurt the image of your company is not denying anyones free speech.

The FCC has standards, as far as I know, that must be met. I have the feeling that Imus did not meet those standards of decency. If this is in the FCC rules, they should go after MSNBC or Imus or whoever they feel violated those rules.

Burning a fu**ing flag doesn't hurt a person....calling someone a "nappy headed ho" is defamation of the character of those young women. Imus should be fired and so should his producer and director. If they are not, I think it is at that time that all blacks and all Democrat candidates should boycott his show.

Not permitting racist remarks on air from a person that is working for you is not censoring, it's managing. Telling him that he can't discuss a particular issue within the realm of his show is censoring. You have to realize the difference.

 
At 3:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There you go again, sucking up to Karl. You're too nice.

 
At 7:44 AM, Anonymous Mary Ellen said...

anonymous

I don't think I'll take your comment too seriously since you are too much of a coward to even put up your name. Big shot, eh? :-D

 
At 10:41 AM, Blogger BC said...

One last time for fun, Mary Ellen. I've been pretty clear that what Imus said is wrong, and that if people want him to be removed, they should do it through a boycott, not through government intervention. I'm not sure why you keep going past that, but its really that simple. Imus can be removed, just not through government intervention, which leaves the power of the purse as the most effective route.

Second, I do think its hard to draw the line. So you remove Imus for his statement, but how many rappers and hip-hop artists have used the word "ho" over the past two decades. Do we burn their cd's? Do we revoke the licenses of any station that plays songs with the word "ho" in it, Mary Ellen? If ho is a defamation of character, why do we allow it so often by others? Who decides when its appropriate to use, and when its not? You?


And ask any veteran or veteran's organization if they don't find burning the flag hurtful. You have your opinion of what is hateful, as do others. If we ban what you find hateful, we have to ban what they find hateful (as they've been in power a lot more than the left lately, Mary Ellen) and then what do we have?

 
At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Mary Ellen said...

BC

Since you asked a question, I'll answer it...just for fun.

Regarding the FCC and the regulation of hate radio and music. Former FCC Commissioner Gloria Tristani, who is a life-long Democrat, served as a Commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Commissioner Tristani was nominated by President Clinton on September 15, 1997, confirmed by the Senate on October 28, 1997 and sworn in as Commissioner on November 3, 1997.

She said this in a speech in January of 2000; "But while it’s good to remind ourselves how far we’ve come, we always need to remind ourselves how far we have to go. If you need any help reminding yourself, just turn on the radio or TV.

Let me start with radio, and specifically what I call "hate radio" – radio that targets people for attack because of their race, sex, ethnic background or sexual orientation. It isn’t hard to find. In 1998, a station here in L.A. spent weeks promoting its morning drive show by giving out "black hoes." In Washington D.C., after playing part of a song by Lauryn Hill, a morning DJ remarked "No wonder people drag them behind trucks." A San Francisco station has hosts who advocate the shooting of illegal immigrants as they cross the border."


to that she added: "Now some might suggest, and rightfully so, that our First Amendment protects speech – even when its hateful, racist, bigoted and demeaning. But I would argue that we need to exercise our First Amendment right to speak out against speech that is hateful, racist, bigoted and demeaning to Hispanics. We need to exercise our First Amendment right and speak out against speech that is hateful, racist, bigoted or demeaning to African-Americans. We need to exercise our First Amendment right to speak out against speech that is hateful, racist, bigoted or demeaning to anyone."

So, tell me BC....this isn't from a Republican, this is coming from a Democrat. This isn't about party affiliation, BC.

Nothing good comes from hate speech, BC. Discrimination comes from hate. Crime comes from hate. Racism comes from hate. So, while you want to sit around protecting the rights of idiots like Imus, I'll speak up for those who are the victims of his racist speech. Democrats want to put a stop to this as much as the Republicans, BC. I think you are wrong in assuming that this is a Republican issue.

The FCC has plenty of rules regarding decency on tv and radio. What do you find decent in the remarks from Imus, BC?

As far as the flag burning..give me a break. When was the last time you saw an American burn a flag? It's shown on the news when there are protests against Americans...when do you see Americans doing it? On the other hand...you can listen to the radio everyday and hear the bigots like Imus spewing their shit, it's a lot more common than flag burning.

Keep standing up for the racists, BC...you're doing a heckuvajob.

 
At 1:28 PM, Blogger BC said...

You caught me, Mary Ellen. I was standing up for racists. When I said his remarks were deplorable, called him a jackass, and suggested that people boycot his advertisers in order to get him off the air, clearly I was standing up for him. That's a pretty cheap rhetorical stunt your trying to pull, but I guess it makes you feel better to take that line, so fine. And, of course, it helps you avoid answering anything in regards to censorship

But here's the answer to your question - I find nothing decent about Imus says. But I do not think the government should censor it. And the best way to get him removed from the radio is economic power, not whining.


So now that I've answered your question, answer mine. Do we censor rap albums and stations who play songs with the word "ho" in it? Do we censor the internet, where people can download songs with the word "ho" in it? Who decides what decency is? My guess is Cliff's standard of decency is quite different than that of Pat Robertson, but of course, that doesn't worry you.

So you just keep standing on your soap box Mary Ellen and I'll keep standing up for the Bill of Rights.

 
At 1:57 PM, Blogger BC said...

One last thought on boycotting. Though you may disapprove, that is how Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks got the bus companies to meet their demands, through an economic boycott. I've always thought they knew something about overcoming racism, but what do I know.

 
At 2:29 PM, Anonymous Mary Ellen said...

BC

I never said I didn't believe in boycotting...if you bothered to read my comments, I said that the radio stations should be boycotted if they refuse to fire Imus.

Now, I'll answer your "censorship" question. Rap albums that have racist speech in it should be labeled as such with a warning. If a station is going to play it on their airwaves, they should announce beforehand that the music to be heard will have racist lyrics. That's not censorship, but a warning. If I recall, Tipper Gore wanted to do the same thing...I guess she must be wanting to stomp all over the Bill of Rights, too, eh BC?

If MSNBC wants to keep Imus on their show, they should preface the show with the statement there will be the possibility of racist commentary on the show. If the advertisers want to be a part of that, it's up to them. At the very least, anyone who appears on his show cannot say they didn't know there could be or has been racist remarks in the past. I have the feeling that this will keep some of the politicians who go on that program from wanting to be associated with him or his show. I'm not talking about some small print hidden before the show..either a verbal message or one that is large enough to be seen.

We are warned when there is "adult" language on some shows...why not a warning for racist language? That's not censorship, it's a warning.

You aren't standing up for the Bill of Rights, kiddo. You're standing up for the right to spread hate and violence. Tell me what there is in the sentence "nappy headed ho's" doesn't scream racism or hate...then tell me that my opinion of what is hate isn't the same as anyone else's....well, except for the KKK.

My opinions don't come from some kind of theological, Pat Robertson America. Many Democrats feel the same way as I do, and if you have bothered to watch the news today, you will see the outrage building. Now, what will you do BC if the Democrat Congress decides to put forth a bill to stop racist hate speech on radio? Common decency, BC, that's all I'm asking. I don't want to keep you from saying what you want to your friends. As far as blogging is concerned, I think there are limits as to what kind of blog you can have. I'm not sure of that, but I seem to remember hearing that some blogs have been removed because of racist content and indecency.

 
At 2:35 PM, Anonymous Mary Ellen said...

Oh...and as far as my "standing on my soapbox", it's a right I have...free speech. Or does that only apply to those who agree with BC's views?

Just because I believe in common decency and wanting to stomp out racism and hate whenever possible, doesn't make me any less an American or a Democrat. We all don't follow lockstep like the Bush crowd.

You are the one who said "
I look forward to hearing comments on why I am wrong."

I did exactly that...if you can't take it, don't ask.

 
At 2:39 PM, Anonymous Mary Ellen said...

Also, BC...as long as you think the government shouldn't censor content...why not have nudity and sex on tv in the afternoon while children are watching tv? If you notice, the FCC does not allow that. They also don't allow advertising for cigarettes or hard alcohol. Censorship? Or..looking out for the best interest of Americans?

 
At 2:45 PM, Blogger BC said...

You need to make up your mind, Mary Ellen, do you want Imus off the air, or do you want him to have a warning before he goes on his show. You've now suggested both options, so pick one, then argue it.

If all you said from the beginning was you wanted a warning on Imus before he went on, we wouldn't have had this disussion. But you didn't. You wanted him removed from the air. So again, which is it?

As for a soapbox, I reread my post, and I never mentioned censoring your opinion. I said "keep standing on your soapbox," not the government should prevent you from standing on your soapbox. I've also asked you all to keep posting. See, that's encouraging debate, not stifling it. There's a difference there. Not sure why you don't see it, but it should clear.

And so far, you've accused me of being like the KKK, promoting Hitlerism, supporting racism and now being lockstep with the Bush Administration. Is that your example of decent, reasoned speech? What good could come of speech like that?

 
At 3:03 PM, Anonymous Mary Ellen said...

BC

When did I accuse YOU of being like the KKK or promoting Hitlerism? I mentioned those as examples of what goes wrong when racism becomes accepted in society as a "right". We need a law for hate crimes because this type of speech is accepted as part of our liberties.

Like I pointed out to you, the FCC does not allow advertisements on tv for cigarettes and nudity. How is that different from not allowing racist slurs? Why does the FCC not allow advertisements on children's shows that show violence or alcohol use? Why is that censorship ok, but not censoring racial slurs?

The rules against racial slurs on radio or tv by the FCC isn't in effect as yet. Since that isn't the case, the compromise I gave you was the only answer for now. That said, I don't think it's good enough. If there were a bill put forth to stop this racial hate speech on tv and radio, I'll be the first one calling my Senator or Congressman to vote yes. Don't be surprised if you see something like that in the very near future.

 
At 3:17 PM, Anonymous Mary Ellen said...

Oh..BC

Before I forgot to answer your question...I don't want Imus on the air and I think he should be fired. If he isn't fired, at the very least, there should be a warning before the show. The reason I think there should be a warning is because I think it would hurt him by limiting the guests who don't want to be seen on a show that allows racial slurs to be used. This, I would hope, would shut the asshole down and he will be forced to limit his crappy show to some yahoo station in Timbuktu....where he belongs. Hopefully this will be the end of his career. I think this is what he deserves.

Of course, if we had laws against this stuff....no one would have been hurt, would they?

 

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