The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

13 July 2005

Imus Sued By Doctor


With Yet Another Flap, Does Radio Deserve Don Imus?

If the sagging ratings, incoherent dialogue, inconsistent positions and fossil-like delivery aren't enough, Don Imus delivers more: another legal flap involving his New Mexico ranch.

Former Imus Ranch Physician Dr. Howard Pearson has sued him for slander, after the radio host said he "was one of the worst doctors in the world and did not care if children suffered," according to the suit and USA Today.

Ratings have long been declining for Don Imus. MSNBC Photo via USA Today.

We've pounded on the talk dinosaur here before, maybe not hard enough, though. An April piece documented his 20-year ratings decline, with help from the New York Post's John Mainelli.

And we covered the flap over his now-fired slimy sidekick Sid Rosenberg in May, who made fun of singer Kylie Minogue's breast cancer fight.

Not forgotten have been Imus's inconsistent political stances, such as his overt Kerry support last year. Why is he still thought of as a conservative?

And, while he strives to be radio's bad boy, a lot of time is spent kissing up to some of the elitist media establishment's most notorious figures.

Especially annoying is his quest to convince America he's some kind of saint, ready to help sick children at his ranch retreat. The Radio Equalizer can't figure out why he still occupies prime radio and television real estate.

Worst of all: he's boring.

From the USA Today report:

Dr. Howard Allen Pearson, a pediatric cancer and blood specialist, says in court papers that on at least four days last year, the tart-tongued shock jock said Pearson "was one of the worst doctors in the world and did not care if children suffered."

Pearson's lawsuit says Imus apparently became upset because he misunderstood the physician's response to a call that a child at the ranch was in pain.
Pearson left the main house and began the 4 1/2-minute, quarter-mile walk to the infirmary, court papers say.

Because the nurse had said there was no emergency, he declined a ride offered by Imus' wife.
The doctor says he arrived at the infirmary at 7:45 a.m., gave the child pain medicine, and she resumed normal activities.

About 45 minutes later, court papers say, Imus pulled up in his truck, jumped out and began yelling and cursing at Pearson.

Imus, "ashen, shaking and unstable," and armed with a gun and a knife, screamed at Pearson for about 10 minutes, calling him "an arrogant (expletive) doctor who doesn't mind letting a child suffer," court papers say.

Dr. Pearson also alleges that Imus repeated the "slanderous" comments, during four different programs, over the course of several months.

According to Perry Simon of All Access, a radio trade publication:

Contacted by the ASSOCIATED PRESS, IMUS confirmed and repeated the comments and called the lawsuit "disgraceful." IMUS says that "The place was a quarter mile away and he refused to get in the truck. He said he wanted to walk down there. He's about 80 years old, and the way he walks, who knows how long it would take him to get there? I thought it was just the most outrageous and repulsive behavior in a doctor. It's disgraceful."

If this did happen as alleged, is Imus mentally stable enough to continue to function in society, or is it time to visit a mental hospital for an extended stay? Could he harm someone during the next rabid outburst?

There's additional coverage at Newsday, I'll continue to follow it here and provide further developments.

How much longer can MSNBC and his radio station affiliates put up with this?


  • You know, I saw a piece about Imus on TV years and years ago. I've never seen or heard about him since. Does he not have an affiliate in the Pacific Northwest, or am I just really lucky?

    By Blogger Nathan, at 13 July, 2005 12:51  

  • I just now realized that an IMUS isn't a body part. Thank you, Gray's Anatomy.

    By Anonymous Duane, at 13 July, 2005 15:42  

  • Nathan:

    He's no longer in WA that I know of. He ran on KRKO/Everett, north of Seattle, for many years. He was yanked a year or so ago.

    Most of his stations now are in the Northeast, NYC, Boston, etc. It's hard to find him in other parts of the country.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 13 July, 2005 19:19  

  • Many of his stations run brokered programming most of the day and use his show to give them a fig leaf of credibility, and to reel in a few more suckers for the colon cleanser shows...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 14 July, 2005 03:45  

  • MSNBC simulcasts Imus' radio show on our cable we get to watch the faces he makes as he utters his pontifications.

    By Blogger Maggie, at 14 July, 2005 09:07  

  • For those under 50 years old, Imus made his money and reputation on sex drugs and rock and roll. He was a huge influence in the New York market.

    He lived through it and now that he's sober he thinks he's better than everyone else. I still hold him responsible for the casulties. Imus's career has contributed a lot more to the problem than to the solution.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 14 July, 2005 09:26  

  • Imus's suck up Friday, July 15, to the elitist prig Thomas Oliphant of the Boston Globe was almost too much to take.I realize they were talking baseball. But Imus's saccharine overtures didn't make sense to me.

    By Blogger A superfluous man, at 16 July, 2005 21:34  

  • Good...maybe some clear channel stations will switch their morning programming from Imus to Springer.

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 18 July, 2005 17:33  

  • I don't think you should beat on him so hard. Yeah, he's a craggy Hunter Thompson lite. So what. The shtick works. He has very good guests/interviews. And the whole dynamic is that he will try to walk up to the line and stick his toe over. As long as it works for the ratings, why should you care? And it's a lot less boring than hearing one more Rush/Hannity/oreilly.

    Take off the partisan hat when you are doing the industry analysis.

    And I'm further to the right of Attila than you talk about WMAL.


    By Anonymous TCO, at 27 July, 2005 22:07  

  • I watch Imus every morning.The article by Buzz Bissenger did not do Imus justice! Imus is a good and decent man.Cut him some slack..He has a wonderful wife an an adorable son,Wyatt.
    If Imus has a battle to take on...he's not afraid to tackle the bulls by the horn!!!!
    He has very interesting guests and there is NEVER a dull moment/
    For all those that hate Imus...turn the damn channel.Watch CNN,the worst network news station/
    Claire McMamnus

    By Blogger Branagan945, at 24 January, 2006 20:29  

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