The Imus standard: You can't say thatRadio talk show host Don Imus called Rutgers' mostly black women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos" and got fired. Al Sharpton falsely accused a white man of rape and incited a race riot that left several dead. Jesse Jackson called Jews "hymies." And yet they still mingle at the highest circles of Democratic Party politics.
Imus' comments were indefensible. Even if the women did have tattoos and look a bit street-tough, as Imus was trying to say, calling them whores was an insult too far. But is it a fireable offense for a "shock jock" who has built his career uttering juvenile comments, including regularly making what he calls "n----- jokes"?
What Imus said was a great deal tamer than what is routinely uttered by rappers who call women "bitches" and boast about using and abusing them. It is tamer than the misogynistic and even racist jokes numerous stand-up comics make a living uttering. How did this offensive but comparatively tame comment get a major radio host pulled from the air? Fellow syndicated radio host Neal Boortz has a theory.
Boortz thinks that the Left has finally figured out how to bring down talk radio: accuse the hosts of racism. Unable to compete with talk radio, the Left has opted to play thought police. Racial prejudice is the last free speech taboo in America. Peg a broadcaster as racist, and you can bring him down.
"Liberals see this whole Imus situation as a way to rid themselves of the problem of talk radio ... they will turn their attention to the rest of us. The tape recorders will be running. There is not one single significant right-of-center radio talk show out there that is not going to come under fire."
Boortz has a point. Calling black women "hos" is not offensive to the cultural Left. If it were, there would be boycotts of rap stars and record labels. But if it presents an opportunity to go after a non-liberal talk radio host, the Left will take it. With one notch on their belt, they'll be sure to seek others.
Meanwhile, the same people who demanded Imus' head on a pike will continue to give platforms to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton as legions of rappers provide the misogynistic background music.
Copyright, Manchester Union Leader, 2007
Thanks to Neal Boortz for the quote.