Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Imus's Racist History Means He's Not to be Believed

Given the fact that Imus made blatantly racist comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team last year, why should we believe his claim that the following exchange on his WABC radio show yesterday was not racist:

Warner Wolf about "Pacman" Jones: "arrested six times since he was drafted by Tennessee in 2005"

Imus: "What color is he?"

Wolf: "He's African-American."

Imus: "Well, there you go. Now we know."

You can hear this exchange with your own ears, as well as Imus's explanation today that what he was saying about Jones was that, of course he was arrested six times, African-Americans are subject to unfair treatment by police, in the video below.

I don't believe it. Imus has a record of racist comments going back long before his labeling the Rutgers women's basketball team last year "nappy-headed ho's" - including calling African-American broadcast journalist Gwen Ifill a "cleaning lady". What he said yesterday was clearly just more of the same, and unacceptable.

As I indicated last year, this is not a question of First Amendment rights - no government agency is fining Imus or his radio station. But neither does Imus have a right to be paid millions of dollars to spew his racist garbage - Citadel, the owner of WABC Radio, has every right to fire him.

Frankly, Citadel should not have put Imus back on the air in the first place. They ought to do the right thing now, and put Imus out of his racist citadel. Otherwise, Citadel will be regarded as as racist as Imus. But I'm not holding my breath.

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