Home > Feminism, Society, Sociology > finally–cable news practices justice: MSNBC drops simulcast of Don Imus show

finally–cable news practices justice: MSNBC drops simulcast of Don Imus show

Wednesday, 11 April 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

MSNBC drops simulcast of Don Imus show

Network apologizes to Rutgers women’s basketball team for racial remarks



NEW YORK – Talk show host Don Imus’ situation worsened Wednesday, when MSNBC announced that it would no

longer simulcast the “Imus in the Morning” radio program.

In a statement, NBC News announced “this decision comes as a result of an ongoing review process, which initially included the announcement of a suspension. It also takes into account many conversations with our own employees. What matters to us most is that the men and women of NBC Universal have confidence in the values we have set for this company. This is the only decision that makes that possible.”

The network statement went on to say, “Once again, we apologize to the women of the Rutgers basketball team and to our viewers. We deeply regret the pain this incident has caused.”

(MSNBC TV is wholly owned by NBC Universal. MSNBC.com is a joint venture between NBC Universal and Microsoft).

Imus’ show originates on the New York radio station WFAN, owned by CBS Corp., and is distributed nationally on radio by Westwood One. CBS owns an 18 percent stake in Westwood One and also manages the company. For its part,

CBS has not announced plans to discontinue the show.

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Earlier Wednesday and Tuesday, advertisers had begun pulling out of supporting the Imus show. General Motors Corp., a significant advertiser on the show, said on Wednesday that it was suspending its advertising but could resume it at a later date.

“This is a very fluid situation, and we’ll just continue to monitor it as it goes forward when he returns to the air,” GM spokeswoman Ryndee Carney said, adding that GM would continue to support Imus’ charitable efforts for children dealing with cancer and autism.

American Express said Wednesday that it had also pulled its advertising from Imus’ show as of Tuesday. “Our policy isn’t to advertise on controversial programming,” company spokeswoman Judy Tenzer said.

Procter & Gamble Co. and the office supply chain Staples Inc. have also said they would pull out, and Bigelow Tea said it was considering doing so. How many other advertisers follow suit could depend largely on how Imus handles the fallout from the controversy.

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Don Imus


Kim Hillyer, a spokeswoman for TD Ameritrade, said the brokerage was “evaluating” its continued advertising plans in the program but did not have any further comment.

Imus’ program is worth about $15 million to CBS Corp. through advertising on WFAN and syndication fees received from MSNBC and Westwood One.

A CBS Radio spokeswoman declined to comment on the advertiser actions or to identify other advertisers that may have pulled out of Imus’ shows.

Imus caused an uproar with remarks on an April 4 broadcast when he referred to members of the mostly black Rutgers women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hos.”

The comments have been widely denounced by civil rights and women’s groups, and Bruce Gordon, former head of the NAACP who is also a board member of CBS, has told the Associated Press that he hopes that Imus is fired.

“He’s crossed the line, he’s violated our community,” Gordon said in a telephone interview. “He needs to face the consequence of that violation.”

Gordon, a longtime telecommunications executive, stepped down in March after 19 months as head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, one of the foremost U.S. civil rights organizations.

Video: Imus show suspended

• Dr. Maya Angelou on Imus comments
April 11: Dr. Maya Angelou talks about the racial and sexual slur Don Imus made toward the Rutgers University women’s basketball team.

He said he had spoken with CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves and hoped the company, after reviewing the situation, would “make the smart decision” by firing Imus rather than letting him return to the air at the end of a two-week suspension beginning next Monday.

“We should have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to what I see as irresponsible, racist behavior,” Gordon said. “The Imus comments go beyond humor. Maybe he thought it was funny, but that’s not what occurred. There has to be a consequence for that behavior.”

Gordon said that as a matter of principle, firing Imus should be an easy decision to make, though he respects the right of CBS leadership to consider all factors, including legal and financial repercussions.

“When I look at it from my position as a director, where my responsibility is to represent the best interest of the shareholders, it’s more complex,” Gordon said. “But at the end of the day, the image of CBS is at risk. … the ad revenue of CBS could be at risk.”

homework,” he said. “I hope that the result of their due diligence is to terminate Don Imus.”

A CBS spokesman, Dana McClintock, declined comment on the remarks by Gordon, who is one of at least two minorities on the 13-member board. Linda Griego is Hispanic and is one of two female board members.

The 10 members of the Rutgers team spoke publicly for the first time Tuesday about the on-air comments, made the day after the team lost the NCAA championship game to Tennessee.

Some of them wiped away tears as their coach, C. Vivian Stringer, criticized Imus for “racist and sexist remarks that are deplorable, despicable, abominable and unconscionable.” The women, eight of whom are black, called his comments insensitive and hurtful.

Categories: Feminism, Society, Sociology
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