Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Gwen Ifill: "Why do my journalistic colleagues appear on Mr. Imus’s program?"

(image via pbs)

Classy PBS journo Gwen Ifill of Washington Week asked a question that has quite frankly dogged us for years, namely: Why does the DC Establishment consider Don Imus one of their own? In a perfect world, Imus would have been written out of civilized society years ago. (Way back in 2004 this described him as a "leathery old racist." (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment) Imus' racism is legendary and well-documented in media circles. He once told Ed Bradley on "60 Minutes" that he has used the N-word at work.

From today's editorial in the Gray Lady:

"I was covering the White House for this newspaper in 1993, when Mr. Imus’s producer began calling to invite me on his radio program. I didn’t return his calls. I had my hands plenty full covering Bill Clinton.

Soon enough, the phone calls stopped. Then quizzical colleagues began asking me why Don Imus seemed to have a problem with me. I had no idea what they were talking about because I never listened to the program.

It was not until five years later, when Mr. Imus and I were both working under the NBC News umbrella — his show was being simulcast on MSNBC; I was a Capitol Hill correspondent for the network — that I discovered why people were asking those questions. It took Lars-Erik Nelson, a columnist for The New York Daily News, to finally explain what no one else had wanted to repeat.

"'Isn’t The Times wonderful,' Mr. Nelson quoted Mr. Imus as saying on the radio. 'It lets the cleaning lady cover the White House.'

"... Why do my journalistic colleagues appear on Mr. Imus’s program? That’s for them to defend, and others to argue about. I certainly don’t know any black journalists who will."

Howard Stern yesterday on his Sirius radio show repeated the story granting specifics. Marksfriggin writes, "(Howard Stern) said he used to work with Imus at (W)NBC and he saw him go up to this black woman who worked there and called her the N-word. He said that this woman, Brenda, was a lovely woman and very nice. She wasn't even allowed to talk to Imus."

And so we repeat Gwen Ifill's salient point, once more, with gusto: Why do journalists appear on Mr. Imus’s program? (NyTimes)

No comments: