Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Don Imus is now challenging the Trent Lott record for number of apologies. He has apologized daily on his show and in conversations with Al Sharpton and many others.
With the media paying undue and hyped attention to this story, his opportunities to apologize will be endless.

Imus needed to acknowledge his guilt for his thoughtless, reprehensible remark, but other than that, his sincere apology should be to the Rutgers basketball players whom he gratuitously insulted. We don't know what he may have done with respect to them or to Rutgers, but scholarship or other funds might not be a bad idea.

Those who know Don Imus, such as Tom Oliphant, are supportive since they know that he is in no way racist. That does not excuse the remark, but it certainly justifies forgiveness.

To put the matter in perspective, remember that a large part of his shtick is the cutting remark, often a bit offensive. He trades insults with his guests and attacks injustice with relentless criticism. Although close to the line, his comments are not really serious, such as when he called Governor Bill Richardson a "fat sissy" and the New York Knicks "chest-thumping pimps". Also, Imus constantly refers to Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld as "war criminals", although here he may be serious.

None of this excuses his Rutgers remark and, as Imus has said, he has been "humiliated". A two week suspension may be appropriate but cancellation of his program would not. His show is usually entertaining, it supports good charitable work, and it provides thoughtful, strong comment on political and other events by Imus and his
intelligent, influential guests.

And when generals and other high officials get away with reprimands or less for such actions as permitting Abu Ghraib or lying about Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman or Iraq's connection to 9/11 or nuclear materials, cancellation of Imus in the Morning would be overkill.


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