Now that the decaying carcas of Don Imus has been tossed on the racist-speech heap next to the graves of Jimmy the Greek and Al Campanis, it will be interesting to see who the next target is to join him. Imus was in a unique position, as he was trying to mix shock jock comedy, while interviewing Washington insiders. Kind of like second-rate Ali G., but with the guests being in on the joke. It was a tightrope that Imus wasn't bright enough to manuever any longer.
Some have stated that Imus should just slide over to Satellite radio. My guess is this won't happen, as with the current merger efforts between the 2 companies under review by the FCC, XM and Sirius won't want to take on anything too radioactive. (Which makes Imus, radio-inactive. Clever wordplay, huh?) Also, Howard Stern, who is the most important talent in Satellite radio, hates Imus and I'm sure would do everything in his power to keep him from joining either company.
Imus is basically done, anyway, as his whole schtick was being irreverent with Capitol Hill honchos. After groveling the past week (rightfully so as it may have been), he has lost any of the "bad boy" attitude that his audience tuned in for. Plus, now most of his regular guests are as likely to return his call, as they would hit the links with O.J. Simpson.
I stated in Part 1 that I was never a fan of Imus. Well, the more I learn about him, the less impressed I am. My biggest concern about his ouster was the power that Pastors Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were wielding after Imus stuck his cowboy boot in his Polygripped-mouth. Sharpton has spent his life being on the wrong side of most causes he trumpeted. Jackson has accomplished some impressive things during his career, but he also has has made as many missteps, including this one that he should answer to. I have always been vocal about how I don't want the Bible-thumping Donald Wildmon's and James Dobson's dictate what I can and cannot listen to. Well, I feel just as uncomfortable having the left-wing versions of them doing the same, even if their politics are more in tune with mine.
Listening to Jesse Jackson's talk show on XM this weekend was a really scary thing. Jackson's cronies were trotted out for one big self-congratulatory lovefest. Good enough, I don't mind you putting Imus' cowboy hatted skull on your pitchforks, as he was an a-hole who probably deserved what he got. I'm more concerned about the talk this group had about this only being the start in getting "hateful" speech off the airwaves.
My favorite hypocritical statement from the Imus ouster group was presented by Tony Dungy who said that "there is teaching lesson here for all Americans. We need to move forward to a more civil society." Of course, civil unions aren't part of a civil society, are they Tony? Pretty ballsy coming from Coach "I need to butt my nose into the Gay Marriage Debate, as I'm against it" Dungy. I can't wait for Bill Belichick to weigh in on the sanctity of marriage next week.
SO WHO IS THE NEXT TARGET
The morning show that is on many of the previous stations Howard Stern used to be on is The Opie and Anthony Show. Last week was a resurgance for the show, as the whole Imus fiasco brought energy back into the hosts, as they had a cause to fire them up. Anthony Cumia does a brilliant Don Imus impression, which they used to poke fun at everyone involved in the case. Both of them believe they are next on the hit list. Considering they do a lot of racial and sexist humor and work for CBS radio, it would seem like they have a good reason to feel like they are the new bulls-eye.
Gangsta rap has been a target of Jackson and Sharpton, as well. I'm not about to defend it anymore than I would Imus, but having ministers and professors determining what should be released and what shouldn't is not my idea of what this country is all about. In this current climate, Barack Obama (with Ludacris) and Hilary Clinton (with Timbaland) meeting with rappers with spotty records creates a problem, considering the statements they have made in inferring Imus' should be let go. Oh and don't get me started on BET founder Robert Johnson condemming Imus. No one has exploited women more for profit than BET's late-night video shows. Here is another Robert Johnson who sold his soul to the Devil, but he didn't even have to go to the Crossroads to do it.
The dream scenario for many who have led the march against Imus is the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine. This doctrine would purportedly level the playing field to where Hannity, Limbaugh, Savage. etc. wouldn't be the only voices you heard on political talk radio. As much as I think these conservative radio talkshow hosts are distortion machines spouting out half-truths about most everything they discuss, I don't believe that their voices should be clipped through some Congressional law.
I was a big fan of Air America radio when it came on the scene and was hopeful it would take off and give a different perspective to the American public. It hasn't worked. Left-leaning people just aren't designed to want to listen to propoganda from their side, as they would rather get a more unbiased view from NPR or better yet, rock out to their Ipods. I'm not a free-market guy, as I don't always believe the marketplace is the answer, but in the case of political talk radio, Lberals or Moderates have not shown they have much interest in the format. I don't see a lot of "Fairness" in this Doctrine.
If Democrats manage to rid the nation of shock jocks, gansta rappers, and conservative talk hosts, it will be a very short-term win. Currently the Republican party has little to offer out of their propoganda machine. If you go too hard at these groups, you are guaranteeing that males under 50, especially white ones, will become an even stronger demographic in voting for the GOP. Sure the Democrats who push hard on this will have the high moral ground, but in politics this type of ground is very slippery, with a slope that falls fast for its victims. With the dismal governing the Republicans have done since Bush took office, why give them something that can be a rallying cry to shift the debate from the issues that are most important?
So Good Riddance to Imus. His time was past. Those that are joyous of his downfall should be really careful about thinking that the next few targets will be as quick and easy, as the backlash will get stronger when they go after the next groups on their list.