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Sponsors yanking ads from Imus

[You can tell the folks carrying Imus what you think here. And while you’re at it, see the General for a big hat tip to the Rutgers women.]

This is where the rubber hits the road. If MSNBC didn’t take things seriously before, this grabbed them by the you-know-whats:

Companies including Procter & Gamble Co. and Staples Inc. are pulling advertisements from Don Imus’ show due to the shock jock’s on-air racial slur about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team.

…”Based on recent comments that were made on the show, it prompted us to kind of take a look at our decision to advertise and as a result we decided to stop advertising on that program,” Staples spokesman Paul Capelli said.

Cincinnati, Ohio-based P&G also withdrew its sponsorship.

“Effective Friday, April 6, we pulled all P&G’s brand advertising from the MSNBC daytime rotation,” said P&G spokeswoman Jeannie Tharrington. P&G would not advertise again “until we can evaluate the Imus situation fully,” she said.

Bigelow Teas, which is under the P&G label was quite blunt, with spokesperson Deborah Graves saying “We’re looking at whether we would or would not sponsor future advertising or sponsorships.” The MSNBC article also notes that a media-buying exec said  number of other (unnamed) sponsors are ready to pull their ads as well.


On the matter of who’s willing to sit in the chair opposite the “nappy-headed hos” host,  Rudy and McCain are ready to go on-air, but Hillary says no way. See that after the jump.From the NY Daily News:

Sen. Hillary Clinton (N.Y.), however, said Imus’ cracks just confirmed her opinion.

“I’ve never wanted to go on his show and I certainly don’t ever intend to go on his show, and I felt that way before his latest outrageous, hateful, hurtful comments,” she said.

It is kind of amusing seeing this quote, since she’s tight with Rupert Murdoch, who owns Faux News, and that network clearly has  problems with the truth and matters regarding race that are well documented.

National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA), in its open letter to the news industry about Imus, weighed in.

This is an important recognition of the fact that while we believe in free speech, which is critical to a democratic society, media organizations that give amplitude and credibility to speech have a duty to ensure that it is fair, accurate and free of discrimination and bias. Speech which is hateful and discriminatory should not be tolerated, particularly when done in a forum as powerful as today’s broadcast media.

…NLGJA would encourage all media outlets and companies to take a careful and thoughtful look at the content included on their air, in their pages and on their Web sites. As the conflicts and issues facing the citizenry of both the United States and the world become increasingly complex, it falls to the news media to help individuals make sense of the decisions they must make. The ability of the media to be a strong and credible voice in the public forum is compromised when news outlets and organizations allow hateful, discriminatory and harmful speech to go out under their banner. Whether produced by the organization or not, the ultimate responsibility rests on the decision makers who allow them to be broadcast or printed. This responsibility extends to those members of the media who are guests on programs that fail to see that there is a line between free speech and hate speech.

And in the land of make-believe of Imus’s white male privileged pals, this from Fred Barnes and Morton Kondracke, who have apparently appointed themselves the arbiter of who should feel aggrieved, via Media Matters, Barnes: Rutgers basketball team “acted like victims”:

Appearing on the “All-Star Panel” on the April 10 edition of Fox News’ Special Report with Brit Hume, Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes said that the Rutgers University women’s basketball team “acted like victims” during their April 10 press conference responding to radio host Don Imus’ statement that members of the team were “nappy-headed hos.” After telling Barnes, “That sounds correct,” Roll Call executive editor Morton M. Kondracke added, “[T]hey do live in a culture where a ‘ho’ is a commonly tossed-around term … [b]y the rap music industry, by black men, largely.”

…Later, Kondracke acknowledged that Imus’ comments about the Rutgers team were “racist” but added, “I don’t know that he has a record of a being a racist.” Host Brit Hume responded, “I’ve seen efforts to try to construct a racist  background, and it’s a little skimpy.” Media Matters for America has documented (here and here) the lengthy history of racially charged comments on Imus in the Morning.

The fact that black rappers have been denigrating black women for some time now has given license to the dominant culture to do the same, and I’ve pointed that out — they aren’t off the hook. The media has simply not given the attention to those in the black community who deplore the rap misogyny. Spike Lee and Essence magazine, among others, have had annual media campaigns calling for an end to it (see my post  Spike Lee, Essence Magazine speak out on the pimp/ho arm of hip hop). It’s been radio silence by the MSM. They’d rather have you believe the black community is a monolith, and sitting there as gatekeepers and official spokespeople are Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, two lightning rods because of their own baggage that make it easy to deflect the issues at hand to criticism of them.

All that still doesn’t let Imus — or the rest of the racist, sexist and homophobic cash machines for the MSM — off the hook. It means everyone needs to talk about misogyny in all communities and why that made Imus feel it was OK to use black rappers for cover.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding