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Friday, April 13, 2007

OM on Imus

My take on Imus's racist comments:

He had every right to make the racist comments that he did from a First Amendment perspective. That said, people such as Imus, who rely on others for their livelihood would be wise to toe some sort of line when it comes to propriety. I'm not sure why people are complaining so vociferously over his firing at the hands of CBS and MSNBC. Clearly they did so after hearing some sort of consensus from their advertisers. In any event, they have just as much right to fire him if they feel his latest rantings have compromised their advertising prospects as Imus did to rant in the first place. Those who are so irate over his firing should feel free to vote with their radio dial when Imus is picked up by XM Satellite radio.

Some say he shouldn't be fired because he's made similarly anti-Semitic comments in the past. I say that shouldn't really make a difference. If his employers feel he crossed the line - whether due to the response from their listeners, advertisers, network executives' own personal distaste for his most recent comments, or because this was the final straw - then they should feel free to fire him for this offense.

Some say that firing someone for saying the wrong thing flies in the face of our democratic culture of free speech. I disagree with that as well. I think the outcome might have been different had Imus chosen to make these comments during his private time while not on the air, but that is not the case. Instead, here a man chose to make objectionable comments while on the job. Similarly, while a company would probably come under criticism for firing an employee who makes comments deemed objectionable while at home or on vacation, I highly doubt that a company would garner much in the way of criticism for firing an employee who spouts racist comments in the boardroom.

So why is this in any way different?

30 Comments:

Blogger Alexis said...

So, because they weren't smart enough to fire him before, they shouldn't do it now?

Free speech applies to the government. It doesn't mean a company has to give you a paid platform for your views.

3:51 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

So, because they weren't smart enough to fire him before, they shouldn't do it now?


Free speech applies to the government. It doesn't mean a company has to give you a paid platform for your views.


Right. I agree with you. That's what I said in my post.

3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The topic of why a guy who has made a career out of making insensitive and biased comments would suddenly get into trouble with them now came up in my office among a group of colleagues of varying ethnic and religious backgrounds (including African American, the whole gamut of Jewish from Atheist to Reform to Ortho) and a couple of interesting points were made.

One guy pointed out that if you are funny and in touch you can get away with more in society at large -he felt that other radio personalities are able to make remarks whcih are insulting to some groups (e.g. Jersey Guys, Howard Stern) and its viewed as funny with no hurt intended (though indeed the targets may feel angered and hurt), but Imus is older, out of touch and the remark was not funny.

Another colleague thought that Imus got into trouble because of the empathetic nature subjects of his statement -young women (basically still kids) who worked hard to succeed and did a pretty good job of it in their basketball endeavor, and who otherwise seem to be determined and succeeding in making syuccesses of themeselves -in other words he picked on the wrong people.

4:01 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Right. I agree with you. That's what I said in my post.
Sorry--that wasn't directed at you, I was just giving my 2¢ on the criticisms you mentioned.

4:34 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Sorry--that wasn't directed at you, I was just giving my 2¢ on the criticisms you mentioned.

Hey - no apologies necessary. I didn't know if you were directing your comments at me.

4:37 PM  
Blogger DovBear said...

That isn't really what I said, OM.

4:53 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...


DovBear said...

That isn't really what I said, OM.


That wasn't the main thrust of your post, correct. But I thought you'd prefer to have the link than not, since you did mention the anti-semitic past comments. I can take the link out if you'd like.

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no problem with IMUS being fired. He hurt CBS and NBC business.

"Fat Al" Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, should be forced to apologize to those boys at Duke, and all of the others they have maligned, before they should stand in judgement.

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Orthomom..get a life you Hag!

9:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Free speech and First Amendment right should be upheld. Imus made fun of lots of religions and lots of people. On to satellite Imus!!!

Al Sharpton and Jesse "hymie town" Jackson are the racists. They should be working overtime on those rappers, hip hop artists, music videographers and drug pushers.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has the addage "sticks and stones" been completely forgotten?

8:28 PM  
Blogger mother in israel said...

Great analysis, OM.

But words fail me regarding the anonymous post above.

8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 5 towns used to be a great place until you slime moved in.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 5 towns used to be a great place until you slime moved in.

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In any event, they have just as much right to fire him if they feel his latest rantings have compromised their advertising prospects as Imus did to rant in the first place."

Would you say the same if a private company fired an employee for being black, because customers would rather deal with a white person.

8:57 PM  
Blogger mother in israel said...

OM wisely deleted the anon comment I was referring to.

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