One positive result of the Don Imus imbroglio is a renewed focus on degrading, obscene, sexist, violence-endorsing rap music. Brent Bozell's entertainment columns offer a road map for anyone seeking a refresher course on nasty rap-music controversies over the last four years. Don't miss how media people (like, oops, NBC's Matt Lauer) make excuses for rappers:
In raising her two daughters, [Washington Post writer Lonnae O'Neal] Parker had one very definitive image in mind capturing what’s wrong with today’s dominant trend in hip hop. At the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, rappers Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent added pomp to the song "P.I.M.P." by featuring black women on leashes being walked onstage. This past August, she added, MTV-2 aired an episode of the cartoon "Where My Dogs At," which had Snoop Dogg again leading two black bikini-clad women around on leashes. She explained: "They squatted on their hands and knees, scratched themselves and defecated. The president of the network, a black woman, defended this as satire."
On Thursday’s “Good Morning America,” reporter Kate Snow hosted a segment on whether the Duke lacrosse players will be able to get their reputations back. In so doing, she discussed Reverend Al Sharpton’s role in falsely accusing New York prosecutor Steven Pagones of raping then 15-year-old Tawana Brawley in 1987.
Though this segment was not specifically related to the unfolding Don Imus story, GMA has thus far been the only network morning show to interview Pagones and, by implication, seriously question Sharpton’s role as moral arbiter in the Imus case. (In fairness, “Today” has mentioned the Tawana Brawley case in general as has MSNBC.) After discussing the Duke case, Snow segued into other high profile, false accusations:
Kate Snow: "Steven Pagones knows exactly how that is. 20 years ago, he was very publicly accused of raping 15-year-old Tawana Brawley."
Al Sharpton [file footage of Sharpton]: "Six white men, one named Steve Pagones. I repeat it again! The assistant district attorney of Dutchess County, were among those that attacked her."
On April 12, for the third straight day "The View" co-hosts discussed the Imus controversy. Most noteworthy, though, they also discussed the lack of moral authority from Imus’ most visible critic, Reverend Al Sharpton. Guest co-host Rose McGowan read verbatim Sharpton’s most inflammatory, anti-semitic remarks including the Tawana Brawley hoax and labelling Jews "diamond merchants." Co-host Joy Behar editorialized on the key remarks. Co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck called Sharpton’s comments "hatred" and McGowan called them "complete bigotry." Rosie O’Donnell was unusually quiet. The entire transcript is below.
BEHAR: Because this Imus thing is not, you should pardon the pun, black and white issue. It’s not. It's a gray issue.
Thursday's New York Times was the only major newspaper to lead with the big news out of North Carolina -- the state's attorney general is dropping all charges against the three former Duke University lacrosse players falsely accused of the sexual assault of a stripper at an off-campus house.
The story by Duff Wilson and David Barstow, "Duke Prosecutor Throws Out Case Against Players," noted:
"North Carolina’s attorney general declared three former Duke University lacrosse players accused of sexually assaulting a stripper innocent of all charges on Wednesday, ending a prosecution that provoked bitter debate over race, class and the tactics of the Durham County district attorney."
I write these words in the wake of the news that MSNBC has dropped Don Imus from its lineup. I fully expect that by the time you read these words, CBS Radio will have fired him as well.
The raging media controversy over the stupid racial insult Imus threw at the Rutgers women’s basketball team – “nappy-headed hos” – has led the usual cast of professional victims, like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and the NAACP, to deplore the racist underbelly of the broader American culture.
But where were these people when the subject was gangsta rap? With these arrogant and profane multi-millionaires routinely insulting and deriding people, especially black women, with language one hundred-fold more offensive than anything that ever came out of the I-Man’s mouth?
The co-hosts of "The View" offered their input on news of the dismissal of all charges against the three indicted Duke lacrosse players. After discussing Imus again, co-host Joy Behar labeled the innocent players as "a little white boy’s club" that is "in effect" at Duke.
"It's interesting that it comes at the time of the Duke rape case. The boys are off because the girl lied and she didn’t- wasn’t raped. However, it’s interesting to me that a little white boy's club was in effect in the Duke University situation too. You have a bunch of white boys sitting around with black girls, coming in and stripping. Alright, they didn't rape them, but-"
Guest co-host Rose McGowan likewise stated that they are the rich white boys she grew up resenting and "really hoped" they were guilty because they should "stand for all of them."After pleading with them not to sue her, Rose smeared the players claiming they "possibly" had "a long history of really inappropriate things"
That didn't take long at all. A few days after Don Imus' racially-charged remarks about the Rutgers women's basketball team, CNN set its sights on Rush Limbaugh and other conservative talk radio hosts. On Tuesday's "Paula Zahn Now," host Paula Zahn teased an upcoming segment by noting, "If you think some of the things Don Imus says are insulting, you haven't heard anything yet." She then played Rush Limbaugh's criticism of embryonic stem cell advocate Michael J. Fox from last fall.
Later, in the segment itself, Zahn juxtaposed Don Imus's words with controversial remarks by Limbaugh, Neal Boortz, Michael Savage, and Randi Rhodes -- three conservative/libertarian hosts to one ultra left-wing host. Then on his Wednesday evening program, CNN host Larry King gave former Air America radio host and Senate candidate Al Franken (D-Minn.) a platform to attack conservative talkers.
On the Thursday edition of what would be MSNBC’s "Imus in the Morning" simulcast, NBC reporter David Gregory spent almost 15 minutes of air time discussing the radio host's firing with the Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.
Gregory, who quarreled with Sharpton on the April 10 "Hardball" over his role in the Tawana Brawley false rape charges, did not broach the subject again. He did, however, challenge Jackson over his use of the slur "Hymie Town":
David Gregory: "You referred to New York as ‘Hymie Town’ in the past. You, you apologized for that and you expected and indeed retained your platform in America as a civil rights leader and as an important voice in this country. Why, again, if I may, should Imus be denied that same opportunity for redemption and to retain a platform that potentially could be used for good?"
This is unfortunate timing, no? Deirdre Imus, the wife of ex-MSNBC personality Don Imus, is featured in a symposium on page 92 in this week's Newsweek lecturing to evangelicals that they shouldn't be behind the curve on global warming the way they were on civil rights for blacks in the 1960s:
Environmentalism is the civil-rights issue of the 21st century, and one doesn't have to look too far back to see that evangelicals sat on their hands when it came to civil rights for blacks. I refuse to sit on my hands and allow the evangelical heritage to be sullied again, because the very reputation of the evangelical witness is at stake. It's crucial that we not make the mistake of our fathers.
Give Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira credit. On this morning's "Today," Lauer suggested to his boss's face that in firing Don Imus he had caved to pressure from advertisers and people like Al Sharpton. And Vieira held Al Sharpton's feet to the fire, now that he had Imus' scalp, about going after rappers and others who use similar language every day.
Here's part of the exchange, which came at 7:05 AM EDT, between Lauer and NBC News President Steve Capus:
CAPUS: This one went so far over the line, Matt, that it was time.
LAUER: But the timing, the timing. You really don't have to try too hard to think that NBC News caved to the pressure from advertisers like Proctor & Gamble and GM and others and perhaps caved to pressure from people like Reverend Sharpton, who we'll talk to in just a second.
With Representative Kucinich already talking about reconstituting the Fairness Doctrineas
far back as January, a far from Conservative radio talker may have provided
said Congress with just the opening it seeks. The ultimate prize the liberals in
Congress are after has nothing to do with race, as always, it's about politics
more than anything else.
On his show tonight, Bill O’Reilly asked Al Sharpton if he was going to go after the rap music “stars” who consistently denigrate women and glamorize violence. The Rev told Bill that after “getting rid of Mr. Imus”, his National Action Network will “start looking” at some of the corporations that backed Imus. Sharpton claimed that some of those corporations also own some of the record companies. Sharpton told O’Reilly that this was “just the beginning of a long war” to deal with this type of language and behavior.
But in March 2005 Sharpton defended the content of rap music while condemning the violence surrounding the industry. He made it quite clear that it was “not about the lyrics” but the violence committed by the rap artists. Sharpton even went so far as to invoke the rap artists’ First Amendment rights to rap and sing about violent acts. Here is what Sharpton had to say in his March 9, 2005 interview on CNN...
On the Imus vs. Rappers front, MTV News reports that rap star Snoop Dogg has issued a new "warning" to the public: Don't dare to compare his lyrics — or any other MC's — to Don Imus and his recent racially inflammatory comments. MTV says "the Dogg" found there is no parallel. The Rutgers women Imus ridiculed were a success story, while the women he knocks in his music are "ho's that's in the hood that ain't doing sh--."
MTV transmitted a long, profane self-defense Snoop offered in a phone interview:
"It's a completely different scenario," said Snoop, barking over the phone from a hotel room in L.A. "[Rappers] are not talking about no collegiate basketball girls who have made it to the next level in education and sports. We're talking about ho's that's in the 'hood that ain't doing sh--, that's trying to get a n---a for his money. These are two separate things. First of all, we ain't no old-ass white men that sit up on MSNBC [the cable network home to Imus] going hard on black girls. We are rappers that have these songs coming from our minds and our souls that are relevant to what we feel. I will not let them mutha-----as say we in the same league as him."
The April 11 edition of "The View" again discussed Don Imus’s recent racist and sexist remarks about the Rutgers women’s basketball team. Rosie O’Donnell likewise continued her tirade about Imus’ alleged "free speech." In a statement too bizarre even for Joy Behar, Rosie said the next step is the "thought police" locking everyone up in Guantanamo Bay without a lawyer. Perhaps Rosie is feeling the heat after her own controversial remarks.
JAMIE-LYNN SIGLER: I think people who have a public voice just need to be conscious then of what they’re saying and the effect that it can have and understand that there’s going to be consequences if they say things like that.
After sliming the Duke lacrosse players falsely accused of raping a stripper, Times sports columnist Selena Roberts returned to school on Wednesday with "A First Class Response to a Second-Class Putdown," about the Don Imus-Rutgers University women's basketball team controversy, in which the talk radio host denigrated the team by referring to them as "nappy-headed ho's." Roberts gushed about the Rutgers' players speaking truth to power:
"Of grace and dignity, without a single boob joke for ratings or a raunchy sidekick for on-air laughs, the women wearing Rutgers scarlet managed to capsize society’s power differential yesterday….But possessing the power differential means bullying someone your own size. With the ear of a national audience, Imus denigrated women who have revealed the courage to play a sport in its pure, fundamental form even though it is often branded inferior to the dunk style of men. The gals absorb enough put-downs as it is."
This marks huge hypocrisy on the part of Roberts, given that in the Duke lacrosse case, she eagerly sided with two separate bases of "power "-- an out-of-control local prosecutor, Michael Nifong, who now faces an ethics complaint from the North Carolina state bar*, as well as a politically correct college faculty and administration eager to side with what they considered an oppressed minority victim.
Jeff Greenfield has called it "the ultimate act of hypocrisy and cowardice" for long-time guests of the Imus show [file photo] to stay away now. Greenfield, who is leaving CNN to return to CBS as Senior Political Correspondent, appeared on this morning's "Early Show" and was interviewed by co-host Julie Chen.
CHEN: Did you hesitate to go on the show yesterday?
GREENFIELD: No. If you have the benefit of being on his show for 15 years -- and there is a benefit -- there's visibility, if you have a book [you can promote it], and also, to be blunt, it's a great deal of fun -- the banter. To stay away from the show when he gets in serious and deserved trouble, seems to me the ultimate act of hypocrisy and cowardice. But I went on the show and told him, I think quite bluntly, where things stood and where they have to go. All of us, he and some of us as guests, have not really stepped up to the plate in looking at the way race has been used on that show as humor.
No matter how deplorable and terrible you think Don Imus's remarks about the Rutgers women's basketball team are, the fact is, that his statements pale in comparison to the stuff pumped out daily by the American music industry.
Michelle Malkin has a big list of the various vulgarities that are routinely tolerated by the same media that is currently up in arms about Imus. Here's just one song:
Rich Boy sellin' crack
F*k niggas wanna jack
Sh*t tight no slack
Just bought a Cadillac (Throw some D's on that b*tch!)
Just bought a Cadillac (Throw some D's on that b*tch!)
Just bought a Cadillac
This, along with Roseanne Barr's recent anti-gay remarks are yet another example of our "neutral" media's double standards.
Is Don Imus worth the fury? Lost in all the media attention focused on the “nappy-headed ho's” racial insult by radio host Don Imus last week directed at the Rutgers University womens' basketball team -- all three broadcast network evening newscasts led with multiple stories on it Tuesday night after it topped CBS and NBC on Monday night, to say nothing of the non-stop cable coverage -- is how few actually heard his remark live since his ratings are so low. Monday's USA Today pegged his MSNBC audience at 354,000 daily viewers in March, about half the 692,000 who tuned in FNC's Fox & Friends and about 1/17th the audience of about 6 million who view NBC's Today show.
And he doesn't do much better on the radio side. “Putting things in perspective,” Dave Hughes, on DCRTV.com, pointed out Tuesday that in Washington, DC, “despite all the Washington 'power players' he has on his show, and all the press he gets, almost no one inside (or outside) the Beltway listens to him. In the latest Arbitrends, Imus, via Clear Channel talker WTNT [570 AM], was tied for 25th place in morning drive with Fredericksburg country outlet WFLS [93.3 FM],” a station most in the DC area can't even receive. Nationally, a Talkers magazine analysis of Arbitron ratings in markets across the country, for the cumulative number of listeners per week in the fall of 2006, documented that at least 19 nationally syndicated radio talk hosts have an audience larger than does Imus. Though he's on in the morning drive, when the most people listen to the radio, his audience is just one-sixth of that of Rush Limbaugh.
If George Allen turned up on Good Morning America to protest an incident of alleged anti-white bigotry, what are the odds the GMA host wouldn't mention Allen's macaca moment? I'd say they'd be a Dylanesqe "Love Minus Zero."
But when GMA aired a clip this morning of Al Sharpton expressing his outrage over Don Imus' recent comments about the Rutgers women basketball players, not a discouraging word was heard about Sharpton's history of racially-charged statements and actions that go far beyond the former senator's gaffe.
What better way to start the week than with a rousing round of WIARHSI, or in this case, an entertaining variation thereof: What If a Conservative Cartoonist Had Drawn It?
Check out Tom Toles' editorial cartoon in this morning's Washington Post. Toles depicts Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, complete with East L.A. hairstyle, having to be taught to pronounce the name of the department over which he presides in preparation for his congressional testimony.
It looks like Toles tried to give himself some cover by having Gonzales say he knows what a department is [though perhaps not what "justice" is]. Perhaps the cartoonist would try to argue that he was mocking the presumably white administration official who was coaching Gonzales, not the AG himself.
I didn't think anyone could really be offended by Karl Rove's "dancing" to a comedic rap routine at this week's Radio and Television Correspondents Association Dinner. Well, aside from maybe Julia Louis-Dreyfus (whose "Seinfeld" character Elaine Benes has been dethroned as World's Worst Dancer).
A popular listserv for the younger members of the National
Association of Black Journalists (which this reporter is a member of)
was abuzz early Thursday morning: Was it funny, offensive or just
Some compared the sketch to a modern-day minstrel show, others tried
and failed to muster indignation against it and still others wondered
whether the critics were simply over-thinking.
Just in time for the 2008 presidential race, a certified "Friend of Bill" is bidding to acquire the Tribune Company, which owns the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. As reported in this New York Times article , FOB Ronald W. Burkle and Eli Broad sumbitted their bid yesterday to Tribune management.
A rather small section, one small paragraph, in a pretty straight forward story reveals the sheer absurdity and incomprehension that prevails in the Media today and serves to show the emptiness of what passes for thinking and logic about American history in what some feel are our cultural elites. It also shows the bias against things Southern in certain circles these days.
The story, "Confederate General's Painting Sold", is mostly a simple retelling of the facts around the $400,000 acquisition by Colonial Williamsburg of a painting painted by Robert E. Lee's wife to be in the 1830s.
Digging around in the archives this morning reminded me that while the liberal activism of the global-warming cover of Sports Illustrated is shocking, it's not really new. In 1995, we noticed this contrast in Notable Quotables (scroll to the end):
"Whatever one thinks of Winslow's positions, it's encouraging to see a Stateside athlete -- particularly one who rose from the squalor of East St. Louis, Ill., to earn a law degree -- engaging himself in the world of which sports is only a small part." -- Sports Illustrated's 'Scorecard' feature on Kellen Winslow's Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech supporting affirmative action and racial quotas, August 7, 1995 issue.
We'll see how the electorate decides, but there's no doubt who won the "Today" show primaries this morning. For the Dems, it was Barack, and among Republicans, Rudy.
Narrating the segment on the political duel between Obama and Hillary in Selma, Alabama this weekend, Andrea Mitchell portrayed Obama as having authentic appeal, while picturing Hillary resorting to heavy-handed political tactics.
Consider Mitchell's opening line: "On the 42nd anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the historic clash over voting rights in Selma, Alabama, Barack Obama was supposed to be the main attraction, until Hillary Clinton, slipping in the polls to Obama among African-Americans, decided to come." Translation: a sinking Hillary tries to steal Barack's limelight. Not very flattering.
As Mitchell mentioned that Hillary had brought Bill because of his "enormous popularity with black voters," a clip rolled of a woman literally squealing in excitement and delight as Bill walked by in the parade. But doesn't that highlight Hillary's relative weakness as much as Bill's strength?
After stating that "Obama answered critics who say his mixed ancestry makes him not black enough," Mitchell rolled a clip of Obama speaking in a preacher's cadence as he told a church gathering: "don't tell me I'm not coming home when I come to Selma, Alabama. I'm here because somebody walked."
Compare and contrast Obama's strong -- versus Hillary's screeching -- pulpitperformances here.
How slow was the news this morning? Bianca Solorzano, the CBS reporter covering the Anna Nicole Smith funeral in Nassau, the Bahamas was reduced to chatting with a local florist. Turns out Anna's favorite color was pink. Who knew? Solorzano also scored an exclusive with a fellow supervising the placing of crowd control barricades at the cemetery.
But along the way, co-host Tracy Smith [who normally works the weekend show], did pose a pertinent question when Obama tried to sneak an answer by her that was so disingenuous it might have made Bill Clinton blush. Smith mentioned that this weekend, both Obama and Hillary will go to Selma, Alabama for the commemoration of the civil rights marches of 1965. Barack actually had the chutzpah to claim "well, I think this weekend is actually not about politics. To me, it represents some of the best moments in American history where ordinary people stood up to injustice."
Obama's white ancestors owned slaves. So says the research of William Addams Reitwiesner, "who works at the Library of Congress and practices genealogy in his spare time", and who is featured in this morning's edition of the Baltimore Sun.
Many people know that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's father was from Kenya and his mother from Kansas.
But an intriguing sliver of his family history has received almost no attention until now: it appears that forebears of his white mother owned slaves, according to genealogical research and Census records.
While reading this, my very first thought had me wondering how well this will sit with the Obama-isn't-black-enough contingent?
It didn't take long in the story to get the issue addressed.
Washington Post reporter Lyndsey Layton reported Thursday that House Republicans will move for an unusual vote protesting the new committee assignment of Democratic Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana, the congressman still under investigation for the $90,000 in bribe money found in his home freezer. After removing Jefferson from the powerful Ways and Means Committee last year as the Democrats ran against a "culture of corruption," Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi now wants to place him on the Homeland Security Committee.
Layton's story highlights Jefferson's role as a "vocal critic of FEMA's performance" in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans as a rationale for his Homeland Security appointment. But the Post left out Jake Tapper's September 2005 scoop on Jefferson using the government to check on his personal property in the hurricane aftermath: "Amid the chaos and confusion that engulfed New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck, a congressman used National Guard troops to check on his property and rescue his personal belongings — even while New Orleans residents were trying to get rescued from rooftops, ABC News has learned."
There is a saying that is often bandied about by whites feigning what might be ridiculed as an American Black person's defeatist demeanor. It is used when whites want to make fun of the kind of attitude that assumes everyone in power is somehow out to get you. It goes like this: "I'm tired of the white man keeping me down." It's an eye-rolling proclamation, but it is one that many whites assume is inculcated in Black Americans all across the country. Of course it is an unwelcome stereotype.
It is a stereotype, however, that has been adopted as reality in all too real a sense by American Universities and is posited as a raison d'etre for wasting time and money on things like "Black studies" programs. The sentiment is replicated in "Hispanic studies", "Women's studies", and "Gay studies" in equal measures and with as much illegitimacy.
The (insert group here) is keeping you down so rebel against it. Be angry. "Speak truth to power".