Friday, April 13, 2007
I swore to myself at the end of last week I was not going to devote a post to Imus, but I guess I will.
Reading a bunch of email lists and blogs, a lot of people I respect are pretty upset about what happened to him.
I am not. And I ask myself- why?
Well, to begin with, and of the most importance, I do not view this as a freedom of speech issue. Freedom of speech is threatend when the government takes action against somebody, but in this case they never even peeped. This, by the way, is the same government which decided that, even though they are the "public" airwaves, we did not need the Fairness Doctrine. And after deciding that, they went Uber-Ballisticon over a woman's breast being shown for a quarter-second at the SuperDooperBowl.
So I looked and asked "is the FCC doing anything?" and the answer was "no". OK, so it's not a Freedom of Speech issue.
Or is it? Well, there were plenty of people calling for Imus to be punished. But isn't that their right, as a matter of freedom of speech? Not to make too big a point of it, but isn't freedom of speech the right to say what you think, not matter how hypocritical you are?
Hypocritical? you ask. Well, there is the Jessie "Hymietown" Jackson issue...
Many people I respect made a big deal out of the fact that Jesse "Hymietown" Jackson was amongst the biggest Imus critics. Well, ok, but I'm not a big fan of the "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" doctrine. Hey- Osama Bin Laden didn't think much of Saddam Hussein. What's it all mean?
My thinking is that Imus made a career, and Big Bucks, out of being an asshole. He finally went too far and got burned with his own torch. I'm not sure why I should weep for that. Just because I would defend his *right* to say whatever he wanted against any government claim to the contrary, does *not* mean that I am a defender of what he says. It also does not mean that I will defend him to his advertisers. Hey- I think he's a jerk. If one of his advertisrers asked me -"would you be inclined to avoid a product because it sponsored Imus", I 'd be proud to say "YES".
That is because *I* have a right to freedom of speech also, and because I know that advertisers can pick and choose who they sponsor.
I would not buy a product that sponsored Rush Limbaugh, Anne Coulter, or Don Imus. They are all, in my own mind, sponsors of hate and abuse. And if that affects their respective career paths, that's too damned bad. It's a free country.