Imus, Bias, Devils, & Heaven

By Daniel DiRito | Related entries in Corporate Business, In The News, Media, Partisan Hacks, Race, Religion

I’ve never been a Don Imus devotee. In fact, I can’t recall the last time I listened to any portion of his show. I’ve never met the man and I know next to nothing about his character or his motivations other than what I’ve garnered during this rancor over his racially charged remarks.

So what do I know? I know that people on both sides of the political divide have sought to take advantage of the situation. While that isn’t necessarily wrong, it is indicative of a much larger problem in our society. In the broadest sense, it’s the oversimplification of us versus them…good versus bad.

To make my argument, the best example I can offer is from the 2004 presidential election and the circumstances surrounding John Kerry’s military service in Vietnam. At the Democratic convention, Kerry made his oft quoted announcement, “Reporting for Duty”, and so began a series of volleys intended to frame the issue for the voting public. The two choices offered were that he was either a courageous war hero who risked his life for his fellow soldiers and then focused his energy on opposing a war that was wrong…or he was a cunning opportunist who crafted his actions to garner the accolades of a heroic soldier in order to provide him with the vehicle to make inflammatory accusations about the war and his fellow soldiers to promote his own political and personal gain.

Back to Imus. There is no doubt that his actions triggered this mess. His derogatory comments about the Rutgers women’s basketball team were ignorant and inflammatory. His words were immediately met by a barrage of criticism and that is as it should be. In short order, MSNBC acknowledged the inappropriateness of his remarks and suspended him for two weeks. As an outside observer, that certainly seems warranted.

So now what? Well, this is the point at which it gets tricky. This is the juncture at which the situation becomes larger than the sum of its parts. This is where it becomes less about Don Imus and more about ideology and advantage for those in search of opportunities to engage in the dialogue of us versus them…good versus bad…from positions that have eclipsed the essential considerations of those involved in and impacted by the transgression. It’s not surprising and it’s nothing new…but it is wrong.

Let me attempt to explain. Fortunately, today’s headlines provide a relevant example…the dismissal of rape charges against three Duke University La Crosse players. By all accounts, the local District Attorney sought to manipulate the system and the media to further his own agenda…regardless of the intended purpose of his office…to determine the guilt or innocence of the alleged perpetrators.

First, my own mea culpa. When it was reported that one of the accused had previously been involved with, and charged in, a gay bashing incident, I felt justified in doubting the assertions of his friends and family that he was incapable of the alleged rape. In my own way, I wanted to punish him and all those who would commit crimes against gays…and I made the rape incident about more than those charges and the guilt or innocence of those alleged to have committed those specific charges.

Read the full article at Thought Theater…here:

www.thoughttheater.com


This entry was posted on Thursday, April 12th, 2007 and is filed under Corporate Business, In The News, Media, Partisan Hacks, Race, Religion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Imus, Bias, Devils, & Heaven”

  1. Ray Watkins Says:

    I don’t buy this idea that we have entered an era of either/or and that if we want to fix things up we just have to start thinking in ‘ands.’ Imus is one important part of a long-lived and very dangerous backlash against both the civil rights and women’s movements. He usually leaves the direct hate mongering to others– he’s a coward in that way– but he has drawn on the same reactionary attitudes to get rich. It’s bad enough to be hateful, but it is even worse to use hatefulness to become rich and famous. There is simply no way to fight these reactionaries unless we are wiling to call crap crap. Non-partisan politics is utterly beside the point. We can just hope that the firing of Imus suggests that the reaction is loosing steam. We might then start to hope for the politics we need, one that assumes that health care, living wages, and human rights are democratic givens not privileges.

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