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Imus’ ‘hos’ vs. Maher’s ‘cowards’

April 13, 2007

I sort of promised myself that I wouldn’t write anything about this Imus thing.  I can honestly say that I’ve never listened to the guy in my life. Since I’ve been bombarded by the news on media outlets of all types, however, I thought I’d voice an observation.  It reminds me of the Bill Maher’s firing from ABC.  In fact, let’s go over the similarities:

  • Both men were employed by major networks.  (Maher ABC, Imus CBS)
  • Both men had a history of (or reputation for) making controversial comments.  It could be further argued that this was part of their appeal (Maher’s show was called Politically Incorrect, after all)
  • Both men were fired/cancelled based on one singular statement, neither of which contained profanity 
  • Both men made some attempt at an apology (Maher probably less so)
  • Both men’s comments garnered significant media attention

There may be a few more, but I think the point is made there.  There are some differences worth noting, as Imus’ comments were viewed as racist opposed to Maher’s being more a victim of timing and perception (it was interpreted a slam on the military, right after 9/11).  Also, Imus’ termination was swift and immediate, where Maher simply lost enough sponsors to remove any hope of another season. 

Looking at this whole thing, I can’t help but wonder if it really isn’t about what you say, but who gets mad about it.  Is this a free market sort of thing (i.e. the consumer tells sponsors, sponsors pull ads, network fires you), or is there some weird dynamic out there that dictates what people are going to get outraged about (the so-called grievance theater)?

So, I guess I’m interested if there are people out there who thought that Maher should have been fired, and not Imus (or, vise versa).  I heard Michael Medved describe the overall message from Imus’ firing as ‘chilling’.  I wonder if he felt the same way about Maher? 

Also, for a real laugh, check out Tom Delay’s Action Points: If the Left Takes Imus, We’ll Take Rosie ,

Update:  Wow, people just can’t stop talking about this!  Here’s a fellow WP blogger who makes an interesting point: 5 Statements Made by Radio Personalities Who Have Not Been Fired

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