Just when you thought it was safe to turn on your radio again, a major media advocate has issued a strong warning to companies thinking about hiring Don Imus: Don't you dare!
For those that have been out of the country since the beginning of the year, one of the original shock-jocks got himself in trouble in April when he referred to the Rutgers women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos."
After being fired by CBS Radio and NBC, Imus has been mounting a comeback, and is in serious talks with two leading radio outlets.
Unfortunately, as measured by its press release Tuesday, the National Association of Black Journalists isn't pleased (emphasis added throughout, h/t Dan Gainor):
The National Association of Black Journalists urges Citadel Broadcasting chief executive Farid Suleman to halt negotiations to return former radio personality Don Imus to the airwaves.
A similar request was made early today of Fox Chairman Roger Ailes. However, NABJ has learned Fox News is backing away from any association with Imus.
"NABJ remains outraged after the racially inflammatory insults made by Don Imus last spring. He used his free speech to broadcast hate speech. To put him back on the air now makes light of his serious and offensive racial remarks that are still ringing in the ears of people all over this country," said Barbara Ciara, NABJ president.
"It seems inconceivable that less than a year after Imus was dismissed from CBS Radio and MSNBC for his vicious insults upon the Rutgers women's basketball team, that Citadel Broadcasting would consider putting him back on the air," said Ernie Suggs, NABJ's Vice President of Print.
NABJ questions why any responsible broadcast company would give Imus a forum to continue his history of racial insults on his program. Citadel Broadcasting owns 243 radio stations including ABC Radio Networks, and powerhouse radio station WABC in New York.
"It is our hope that Citadel Broadcasting will put decency and good broadcast practices ahead of a dysfunctional alliance," Ciara added.
NABJ appreciates the swift action from CBS radio, NBC and its cable channel MSNBC in condemning Imus' remarks and removing him from the airwaves six months ago, and now hopes Citadel Broadcasting will do the right thing and break off negotiations with the incendiary host.
Makes one wonder where this organization is concerning radio and television stations broadcasting hate-speech by rappers, and whether they've strongly spoken out for such "musicians" to be similarly banned from the airwaves.
While I'm searching for such press releases, I'll also look for condemnations by the NABJ of journalists that have racially attacked Justice Clarence Thomas, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, and other black conservatives whose civil rights aren't typically the concern of such organizations.
Of course, it would also be interesting to see how this group responded to Fox News's Juan Williams recently being called a "happy Negro" by Boyce Watkins.