The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

15 April 2007

Imus Fired, Gwen Ifill, Tim Russert, David Brooks, 'Cleaning Lady'


Liberal Imus Suck-Ups Taken To Task

For years, they stood by and watched Don Imus make mean- spirited attacks on people who didn't deserve it. At the same time, they were more than happy to benefit from the career- boosting publicity brought by appearances on his show.

Now, for their strange silence during the Imus affair, mainstream media elitists such as Tim Russert and David Brooks are being taken to task. The heat isn't coming from the right, however. Instead, it's PBS host Gwen Ifill doing the grilling.

If it's an uncomfortable position for these two, it's hard to find much sympathy. After all, these infamous Imus suck- ups have painted themselves into a corner.

From Editor & Publisher:

Today she criticized Russert and Brooks -- frequent guests on the Imus show -- for saying little this week about the controversy. Many other print journalists also appeared often on the program.

Brooks explained today, "Well, you know, I did the show about a half a dozen times, and Gwen and I have talked about this. But I, I, I have the lamest excuse for why I did it, which is I didn’t know what he said. And when I did the show, it was like C-SPAN. You’d go on, you’d talk about Iraq. And I confess, I didn’t listen to the show except for the five minutes before when I went on, I’d hear it over the phone."

Russert said that on the show Imus poked fun at him being Irish and "husky." While he agreed that Imus's remarks about the Rutgers basketball team were distasteful, he added, "I also feel sadness for Don Imus and his wife and his family. I think he said a terrible thing. I think he regrets it. She’s a former college athlete. They’ve done a lot of good things for a lot of good people. And I think the discussion was not whether or not he said something terrible or offensive, but what should be the magnitude of his punishment, which I think is a fair discussion to have."

Ifill's comment follows:

You know, it’s interesting to me. This has been an interesting week. The people who have spoken, the people who issued statements and the people who haven’t. There has been radio silence from a lot of people who have done this program who could have spoken up and said, I find this offensive or I didn’t know. These people didn’t speak up.

Tim, we didn’t hear that much from you. David, we didn’t hear from you. What was missing in this debate was someone saying, you know, I understand that this is offensive.

You know, I have a 7-year-old god daughter. Yesterday she went out shopping with her mom for high-top basketball shoes so she can play basketball. The offense, the slur that Imus directed at me happened more than 10 years ago. I would like to think that 10 years from now, that Asia isn’t going to be deciding that she wants to get recruited for the college basketball team or be a tennis pro or go to medical school and that she is still vulnerable to those kinds of casual slurs and insults that I got 10 years ago, and that people will say, I didn’t know, or people will say, I wasn’t listening.

A lot of people did know and a lot of people were listening and they just decided it was okay. They decided this culture of meanness was fine — until they got caught.

My concern about Mr. Imus and a lot of people and a lot of the debate in this society is not that people are sorry that they say these things, they are sorry that someone catches them. When Don Imus said this about me when I worked here at NBC, when I found out about it, his producer called because Don said he wants to apologize. Well, now he says he never said it. What was he apologizing for? He was apologizing for getting caught, not apologizing for having said it in the first place.

Oddly enough, Editor & Publisher failed to mention what Imus had once called Ifill, so we found it elsewhere:

I'm sorry, but there is something entirely too precious about all this, particularly the expressions of shock and disappointment by Mr. Imus' media friends and his corporate partners. To put it another way: What did Mr. Imus do last week that he has not done repeatedly? We're talking about a man who has built a career on verbal diarrhea. He has slurred women and gays and blacks and Jews. He once referred to Gwen Ifill as "the cleaning lady."

That's right, Imus once referred to a major PBS news personality as the cleaning lady. And that was ten years ago! How did he get away with this kind of behavior for so long?

Russert, Brooks and the other Imus suck- ups were willing to overlook Imus' hate- filled rants because it was good for business.

As a result, how are they able to maintain mainstream media credibility? Your Radio Equalizer finds the Brooks excuse particularly pathetic. How could he be unaware of the I-Man's reputation?

While these mainstream media insiders may be able to ignore criticism from the right, when it comes from Gwen Ifill, it has got to sting a bit.

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  • David Brooks is a self-described and generally acknowledged conservative.

    This creates the impression in me either that you do not know this and do not care to check facts or that you are trying to mislead.

    By Blogger John, at 15 April, 2007 19:02  

  • "While these mainstream media insiders may be able to ignore criticism from the right, when it comes from Gwen Ifill, it has got to sting a bit...."

    why would it sting imus, any more than it would sting any other racist rightard reject host, who gets off on making hateful, snarky remarks and getting away with it?

    the question is not why imus got away with it for so long

    the question is why all the other vicious radio racists on the right think they should remain above reproach as well

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 15 April, 2007 19:05  

  • Metro,
    Yes Maloney is intentionally misleading again just as he did with Imus. Since David Brooks writes for the New York Times and because he doesn't allow the RNC dictate his opinion pieces, he is not an acceptable conservative in Maloney's world.

    You are a slimy lying weasel Maloney.

    By Blogger elmonica, at 15 April, 2007 20:33  

  • I have never listened to shock jock shows because I considered them basically crude. I didn't hear Imus's remarks and when I saw them in print it took me a while to realize what he was saying. I just haven't kept up with the rockers distortions of the English language. Now if we could get rid of the guy that went on satelite, I would be delighted.

    By Blogger Rodneydon, at 15 April, 2007 21:31  

  • Hash,

    Ifill was criticizing Russert, a liberal, and I never heard of the other guy, but I don't read the NYSlimes.

    I don't listen to Ifill as she is the epitome of a biased Media elitist. She thinks the press runs the government.

    By Blogger PCD, at 16 April, 2007 09:56  

  • PCD

    might want to try that reading stuff sometime, you brain dead ditto head.

    I don't read, I listen to Rush

    bu bu bu NY slimes

    cons are mindless they don't read a newpaper Rush told them is liberal

    Can I just smash PCD's face in ?

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 16 April, 2007 10:33  

  • No I do not think you could.

    By Blogger pf1, at 17 April, 2007 05:54  

  • MoPoop,

    How about I shove your head in a toilet and flush?

    By Blogger PCD, at 17 April, 2007 12:10  

  • Hash,
    It stings Russert, Howard Fineman, David Brooks, et. al. because they are not a part of the Right Wing Radio/TV establishment. They are straight news reporters and members of the Main Stream Media. The fact that they appeared on a shock jock show that was known for criticizing Republicans (if you need examples I can give them) and favoring Democrats while spouting racist inuendo is the worst thing an MSMer can be associated with. The fact that it took so long for them to speak out against Imus is telling since they never give Rush or Sean Hannity the benefit of the doubt.

    By Blogger Bubbler2222, at 11 May, 2007 13:05  

  • By Blogger Chus, at 01 October, 2008 15:42  

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