Ben and I agree on one thing here: the “reverends” Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are little more than sickening hypocrits who have hijacked both the civil rights movement and Christianity for their own purposes. I seem to remember hearing about a time when both of those causes were represented by a man with dignity, respect, and compassion: the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. It is a sad sign that these men are the ones who now represent the Christian Left and the black community in America.However, it is entirely absurd to suggest that MSNBC had no right to fire Don Imus. He is a shock jock in the same breed as Howard Stern. He may be doing wonderful things for cancer research, but he’s no stranger to controversy and intolerance. He went as far as attacking a women’s college basketball team, singling them out with sexist and racist remarks. It would be bad enough if he attacked an entire demographic or a political figure with these types of insults. It is entirely uncalled for when a radio personality verbally assaults a group of student athletes at a single school. Imus was looking for some fast controversy to shoot up the ratings. Shockingly, given the current attitude towards indecency in the media, it backfired.
If the government had pulled the plug on Imus, this post would be a very different one, ranting against censorship by the FCC. For a private employer to choose to terminate an employee for violating media ethics regarding decency, civility, tolerance, and even hate speech, however, is entirely their perogative.
I agree that there is too much of a double standard in our society. The industry needs to also crack down on hip hop artists, right-wing commentators, and even left-wing reverends who violate the basic tenets of civility and decency. Although a hand of forgiveness should be extended to these people, especially live commentators who must be willing to take risks, chronic offenders need to realize that they will be punished.
It’s high time we stopped tolerating intolerance.