Imus apologizes04/09/07 Mitch E.Perry
With his career possibly on the line, nationally syndicated radio and cable morning show host Don Imus spent much of the time on his 4 ½ hour program apologizing for racially offensive comments he made last week.
When discussing the Rutgers’womens basketball team last week, Imus referred to the players as “Knappy headed Ho’s”, following a similar remark made by producer Bernard McGuark.
But after a weekend of calls from black leaders and others for his firing, the 66 year old Imus took to the airwaves today to issue an apology (roll tape#1 o.q.”and that will change”)
This is not the first time Imus or his show has been accused of racist behavior. Back in the 1990’s , his cracks about basketball Player Patrick Ewing and others, grew so bad that Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page went on the air with Imus back in 2000 to take a pledge to refrain from such racist comments (roll tape#2 o.q.”laughing”)
Black activists are calling for Imus to lose his job.
The Reverend Jesse Jackson (roll tape#3 o.q.”extremely degrading”)
Eric Deggans is the television critic for the St. Petersburg Times, and also the chair of the media monitoring committee for the National Association of Black Journalists, another group calling for Imus’ firing. In the past the group has asked journalists scheduled to appear on Imus’ show not to lend their name to his program, called companies which advertise on the show to stop supporting.
As anybody following Don Imus career knows, such racial remarks are nothing new. WMNF asked Deggans why a critical mass of outrage has now formed against such hateful remarks ? (roll tape#1 o.q.”goin on”)
In recent days, some of Imus’s greatest hits, if you will, have been reprised in print and broadcast stories. Included among them is the quote that PBS Gwen Ifill, the host of Washington Week in Review, as ‘ a cleaning woman” and Barack Obama as”that colored fellow”.
Today, Imus denied those remarks, saying he never said them. But in fact, as St. Pete they were said by members of his on air staff, such as this recent take on poet Mya Angelou (roll tape#4 o.q.”laughter”)
Again, Eric Deggans (roll tape#5 o.q.”Gwen Ifill’s the cleaning lady”)
Not only have black activists and journalists criticized Imus for his latest comments. In a joint statement, the President of Rutgers University and the head of college sports, NCAA president Myles Brand said in defending the members of the Rutgers womens basketball team, who fell to Tennessee in the NCAA Finals last week,
“It is unconscionable that anyone would use the airways to utter such disregard for the dignity of human beigns who who have accomplished much, and deserve great credit.”
But not criticizing Imus today were Newsweek magazine writers Howard Fineman and Evan Thomas, as well as Boston Globe syndicated columnist Tom Oliphant, who all appeared as previously scheduled as guests on the program.
Leading politicians, like John Kerry, John McCain, and Bill Richardson, regularly appear on Imus show, as well as media pundits like the aforementioned writers. The St. Petersburg Times Eric Deggans says those pundits need to check themselves soon
(roll tape#5 o.q.”they would challenge him”)