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So which pols are going to go on Imus now?

[UPDATE: Sharpton and Imus spar on the radio. Crooks & Liars has the audio here. Among other things he saidOur agenda is to be funny and sometimes we go too far. And this time we went way too far.” Yeah. Ya think? Meanwhile, Black Ministers in N.J. call for Imus’ resignation. ]

[UPDATE 2: MSNBC suspends Imus simulcast for two weeks.] 

It will be interesting to see which politicians will line up to grace the Imus “Nappy ho” Show now. He’s been backpedaling, apologizing on the air a couple of time as the heat was turned on (see my post, Don Imus: Rutgers women’s basketball team ‘nappy-headed hos’).

For all the bluster – he’s planning an appearance on Al Sharpton’s show at 1 PM today (you can listen at sharptontalk.net). [An aside — why the dominant culture assumes that people like Sharpton and Jesse Jackson speak for all black folks is both amusing and frustrating — but that’s another post in itself.] Imus’s show has a history of broadcasting bigoted remarks with few repercussions. If folks are going to call out Ann Coulter for lobbing the faggot bomb, certainly the inflammatory bigotry by Imus deserves as much attention.

Columnist Clarence Page was on CNN this AM and said that six years ago he asked Imus to refrain from racist humor on the air. Page likened Imus’s comments about the womens Rutgers basketball team to the morning show host “falling off the wagon” — he simply can’t help himself, and won’t stop it until he’s hit where it hurts.

After the flip, Earl Ofari Hutchinson on why Imus is not likely to face the music from his masters.Hutchinson:

But even if Imus had made a sincere bare-the-chest heartfelt apology it wouldn’t amount to much. That’s the standard ploy that shock jocks, GOP big wigs, and assorted public personalities employ when they get caught with their racial pants down.

…The other reason it’s virtually impossible to permanently muzzle Imus and others that talk race trash is the sphinx like silence of top politicians, broadcast industry leaders, and corporate sponsors. GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney and former Democratic presidential contender John Kerry bantered with Imus on his show in recent weeks. Yet, Romney hasn’t uttered a word condemning Imus’s bile. And Kerry issued a tepid statement through a spokeswoman in which he merely branded it “a stupid comment” and praised him for owning up to it.

  While Kerry and Romney are two of the better known politicians to recently cackle with and at Imus’s digs on the show, a steady parade of politicians and personalities have trooped to Imus’s microphones over the years. And not all of them, as Kerry and Romney showed, are hard-line GOP conservatives. Senators Joe Lieberman and John McCain leaped over each other to get a spot with Imus.

And we haven’t a heard a peep from any of them about his remarks.

Will 2008 candidates show up to gab and laugh with Imus without commenting about his “nappy-headed hos” remark?

It’s a fair question to ask them – and Page calls on journalists, particularly black journalists, to put the candidates’ feet to the fire. The National Association of Black Journalists in particular, has no patience for Imus:

Black radio Sunday debated the appropriate response to WFAN-AM morning host Don Imus calling the Rutgers University women’s basketball team “nappy-headed hos” last week.

The Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Association of Black Journalists were joined by many callers and guests in demanding Imus be fired, which WFAN and its parent CBS Radio gave no indication is in their plans.

CBS and MSNBC, which simulcasts his show, condemned the comment and said they will monitor him. Imus apologized on the air Friday and Monday, which may not be enough to put it behind him.

Related:
* Don Imus: Rutgers women’s basketball team ‘nappy-headed hos’ 

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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