April 11, 2007

Questioning Imus and Us as Listeners Part Two

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Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer described his words as, “deplorable, despicable, and abominable and unconscionable.”

The Democratic National Committee released a statement yesterday saying, “Divisive, discriminatory and derogatory language, including the recent comments made by Don Imus, have no place in our nation’s discourse or on our nation’s airwaves.”

And yet, for all of his past and present faults, Imus’ punishment has been set for a two week suspension off the air, effective next Monday. He terms his punishment as, “an appropriate,” decision. But for many, this is simply not enough. Continuing protests from the National Association of Black Journalist, women’s rights activists and even Tennessee basketball head coach Pat Summit have all cited their displeasure with the decision.

And yet, I don’t know if I can fully agree with them.

Don’t get it confused, I will be more than satisfied if he is let go. But, I don’t want know if I want to do it this way. I don’t want Imus to leave the air because of the outrage he has produced amongst women, minorities and people across the nation. I don’t want his removal to take place simply due to nation’s growing discontent towards his remarks.

I want his removal to be based on the fact, that we, as listeners, have developed a better taste in radio, television and – better yet – all media.

In a way, I am somewhat excited for Imus to come back. I want him to return to the microphone with hopes of rejuvenating his broadcasting status.

When he does pick up that microphone – after two weeks of his well deserved suspension – I don’t want us, as an audience to listen.

And just like Staples, Proctor & Gamble Co. and Bigelow did yesterday, I want his sponsors to disassociate themselves with Don Imus and his in-studio cohorts.

Following in Cal Ripken Jr.’s footsteps, I want more and more political figures, journalists, authors and athletes to decline the opportunity to appear on his “Imus in the Morning” show. (Unlike comic Bill Maher, CBS News political analyst Jeff Greenfield and former Carter administration official Hamilton Jordan, all of whom appeared on the Imus’ show Tuesday).

I want these things to happen, not just because we are angered by what he has said, but because we know there are better quality programs broadcasted through the airwaves.

I hope, that as listeners, we will find and tune our ears to those disk jockeys that feel more obligated to provide news and entertainment, without littering it with insensitive jokes.

Maybe, that is just me wanting to add insult to injury. Or maybe that is just me hoping that us, as a society, will grow up and prove a point that even though people like Imus can be heard, we simply just don’t want to listen.

As one of my readers suggested, “let him say what he wants … let the marketplace push him out.” Hopefully, it will discourage Imus – and all his followers – from trying to repeat his footsteps.

I just hope I am not asking for too much.