Who will be the next to get thrown into the piranha pool?

Sign me up for the Jeff Jarvis amen corner on his assessment of the whole “Imus” thing. I’ve been wondering when Jeff would post on this topic as he was one of Howard Stern’s most articulate defenders from the regulators who were constantly beating down his doors when his show was on “terrestrial” radio. While arguing that Imus should have been fired years ago — because he is boring — Jarvis is alarmed about the piranha pool that forms whenever someone has a “macaca moment,” named for the video clip that eventually sunk George Allen’s hopes of being reelected U.S. Senator, and possibly President one day. Jeff says good riddance to Allen, Lott and Imus — because he’s not a fan of theirs — however, he shares my concern: Is this what we really want?


“Just because someone offends someone, that is not cause to fire them make them resign from a show or a campaign. It means you can disagree with them. In fact, today, you have more means to state that disagreement and be heard than ever before. But we can’t fire everyone somene wants fired; we’ll be left with no more stars and no more politicians. And as tempting as that may sounds, it’s no way to run the world. The reason to fire Don Imus in my book is because he was boring. If you think he’s a racist for what he says today, then he said things in the past that should have told you the same thing. A channel has every right to hire and fire whom it pleases. It should do that for good reason — and racism and stupidity are good reasons — but not because someone somewhere played the offended card and called for a scalp.

I confess: On this blog, I’ve been guilty of calling for people’s scalps. Or, I’m at least guilty of fanning the fires, at times, when other people are picking up rocks for a stoning they’re planning.

In the future, I’ll try my best to keep from being such a fish in a piranha pond.

And in the future, when I see mobs forming after macaca moments, I’ll tag those posts “piranha pool.”

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  • Hudge

    Imus’ comment was everything it has been called, including possibly an extreme example of what can happen in a nation that has made freedom of expression part of its foundation. The corporate powers had no choice but to fire him. But I’m not sure I would have. Having made more than my share of ugly comments, I can squirm with the best of us at lingering and also active prejudices and negative feelings toward any number of individuals and groups. Firing him has made him a scapegoat of sorts, that alleviates the darker side that discomfits us. Leaving him on the air, chastened and reprimanded and embarrassed, reminds us that we are not holier than he.

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  • I agree with all statements above. I have never listened to Imus, so I can’t speak to whether he was boring or not. Certainly his comments were objectionable. Perhaps from a revenue perspective, he deserved to be fired: He made statements that drove advertisers away from his program. Perhaps the network could no longer afford to run his show. Though there is no constitutional right to a radio program, Imus does have a right to say what he wants.

    But Bill, I think you are right in what you say. When Imus gets fired, that lets us all feel better about ourselves. In the long run, it’s more beneficial to examine the sentiments behind the words, and that’s harder work.

  • Wow. I’m kinda surprised CBS fired him too. Howard called that one days ago. He said Imus would never make it back from his two-week suspension…

    (Been in a seminar all day and am just catching up on news via the rexblog. Thanks for filling me in, Rex.)

  • Hudge

    I declare that I am moving to Texas and voting for Kinky Friedman. Any man who can link Imus, Jesus and Wavy Gravy in a coherent thought is smarter than most anyone in or out of the room:

  • Hudge

    “Pravda” is Russian for “truth”