Host’s firing is symbolic

It’s been a while since America has experienced such a controversial uproar.

Everyone has an opinion about Don Imus’ talk show comments, what should’ve happened to him and what it means for society. We’ve heard him touted as racist, Satan, hero, drunk hillbilly.

A number of discussions, questions and outrage have stemmed from his comments about Rutger’s women’s basketball team: What constitutes racism and sexism? Should he have been fired? Should he have apologized? How can such bigotry stop? Why isn’t the NAACP angry about shows that say worse things?


While none of these questions is easy to answer, the discussions they generate on society’s view of blacks and, specifically, black women, are important. But we have another one to ponder – What exactly is Don Imus’s job?

Among one of the nicer things Imus has been called recently is a “journalist.”

What? This man was strictly an entertainer.

By radio industry standards, Imus is a little fish among whales such as Rush Limbaugh. The little reporting Imus does do is so disgustingly biased it can’t be called anything but entertainment.

And for good revenue. Controversy equals ratings equals money – a lot of money.

The radio industry’s total revenue has increased by more than 10 percent a year within the past decade. Major radio companies are making 40 percent, according to The Atlantic Monthly.

Imus’ remarks were made not for ideology, but for profit, resulting in the ultimate hurt – demeaning someone for a thousand dollars worth of advertisement. Talk about selling your soul.

Following the same reasoning, CBS handing Imus a pink slip was not a violation of the First Amendment. It was a strategical business move. Proctor and Gamble pulled out from CBS, and therefore, so did CBS from Imus. If the company had kept him, they could have potentially lost millions of advertising revenue.

And don’t feel bad for Imus. He is most likely already loaded for years worth of demeaning “jokes” like the one he’s in hot water for. Even more unfortunate, he will always have an audience, especially after this (albeit negative) publicity.

We hope the Imus example shows the radio talk show industry that these jokes aren’t funny; they hurt. Just because they have become the norm in comedic shows and talk radio dialogue, doesn’t make it right that they should continue.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.