Everybody else is doing it, so let's pile on, too.
Don Imus is an idiot.
Oh, his CBS Radio show ("Imus in the Morning," produced by WFAN radio, which is simulcast on MSNBC) sometimes is entertaining; and it occasionally gets politicians to say things they wouldn't say in another venue; and it generates lots of ad dollars. But Imus is an idiot. An increasingly irrelevant idiot.
And his statements and follow-up, instead of ameliorating the problem he caused, seem to be designed to make things worse and worse.
In case you're one of about three people in the industry who don't know what the Imus kerfuffle is about, ...
Insensitive? Surely not
On 04 Apr 07, Imus made derogatory comments -- that is, if you believe calling them "nappy-headed hos" is somehow racist or sexist or offensive -- about the Rutgers University women's basketball team, which just competed in the NCAA national championship game. (Unless you're from Tennessee, you probably don't know who beat the Scarlet Knights.)
Imus has been suspended for two weeks by both networks. Starting next week.
According to the AP's David Brauder, "The trade publication Talkers ranks [Imus] the 14th most influential [radio talk-show host], but his audience is heavy on the political and media elite that advertisers pay a premium to reach." If advertisers desert Imus, his show could be in deep trouble.
First do no harm
This is crisis communications at its most fertile. Who is hurt?
Imus Ranch, a charity Imus and his wife have established for children with cancer
The show's staff, although they had to know Imus was a ticking time bomb
Imus himself; after all, his persona is a multi-million dollar franchise
And, a bit more esoterically, the African-American community in general -- and, possibly, feminists -- as public attention is diverted from more serious issues of racism and sexism by the well-publicized, but, in a practical sense, unimportant rantings of an insignificant loudmouth.
We haven't forgotten the Rutgers women; some of them doubtless are personally hurt and deeply offended. But, in the long run, they, and Rutgers University, may very well benefit from Imus' stupidity, even though they are angry today.
During one interview, Imus mentioned -- bragged? whined? -- that he didn't have any PR people.
Perhaps that's the problem.
If you have a big mouth and no self-control, well, you need someone.