The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

12 April 2007

Imus In The Morning, FishbowlDC, CBS, MSNBC Cancels


Hey Imus: Lashing Out Won't Help

As was made clear this morning, Imus defenders are going to have a tough time making excuses for his continuing tirades.

If the I-Man had any sense about him, he would shut his mouth and let the backlash against Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson take its course.

But he just can't do it, as evidenced by this FishbowlDC report that was lifted by Drudge earlier today:

Imus Snipping Back At Sharpton?

Barely 12 hours after being fired from MSNBC...

6:12 AM: On Imus' radio program (no longer simulcast on MSNBC) this morning, Chris Carlin, who covers sports for the program, discussed yesterday's dismissal of charges against the Duke lacrosse players.

(rough transcript)

DON IMUS: When will Al Sharpton be apologizing to them?


CARLIN: I'm unaware of such a press conference.

IMUS: I'll be darned...

UPDATE 6:28 AM: After a station break, Imus came back to discuss MSNBC's decision. He said he was recently chatted with "another big time broadcasting executive" who was "complaining that [MSNBC] had cancelle the simulcast twelve hours before we were getting ready to conduct this radio-thon for these three charities."

IMUS: "My position on all of this is not whining about the hideously hypocritical coverage from the newspapers -- from everybody -- or the lack of support, say, from people like Harold Ford, Jr. who I had my life threatened over supporting and all these kind of things. It all began, and it doesn't make any difference -- like [James] Carville said -- stop talking about the context, it doesn't make any difference. If I hadn't have said it I wouldn't be here. So let's stop whining about it...You gotta stop complaining. I said a stupid, idiotic thing that desperately hurt these kids. I'm going to apologize but we gotta move on."

UPDATE 7:37 am. IMUS: "The hypocrisy is absurd...Everybody knows what the deal is. And this is not over. This story does not end here."

Imus also gave a shout-out to Opie & Anthony, who support Imus on this issue.

UPDATE 7:57:

Imus says he spoke with MSNBC Senior VP Phil Griffin and said "some of the stuff that MSNBC has done this morning is frankly unethical and I've asked them to stop doing it."

But also said, "I'm not whining about the coverage. I'm not whining about any aspect of this."

"I've said 100 times: I said it and if I hadn't said it, we wouodn't be sitting here talking about it. And that's the bottom line."

Imus also said that losing television (via MSNBC) isn't as big as losing radio. "The big part of the program is radio. There's millions of people listening to the radio. At best a few hundred thousand are watching television."

On MSNBC's decision: "I understand the pressure they were under. I'm not stupid."

Click the link to see the rest of their transcript.

Here's what it boils down to: by launching into these ill- considered tirades, Imus has blown any goodwill that was generated by the outrageous antics of Jackson and Sharpton.

At the same time, CBS and Westwood One, which syndicates his show, made a very bad call in allowing his radio show to continue until Monday. That gives him a forum to spout off at an especially inappropriate time.

Until today, Imus might have had a small window of opportunity to remain on the radio, but he should have thought twice before lashing out at others, no matter how outrageous their behavior.

BY THE WAY: Don's claims of "millions" of radio listeners seems a bit of a stretch. Outside of New York City and Boston, his show is heard mostly on tiny stations located in the Northeast. Without MSNBC, he's only a bit more important than an Air America host.

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