Last evening I was forced to turn off the MSNBC show “Hard Ball” because it chose to devote its time to the sensational news surrounding radio show host Don Imus. The focus of their report was the decision by NBC (owner of MSNBC) to drop the live simulcast of Imas’ daily show. While this might have been worth about 30 seconds of news reporting, the devotion of so much time suggests other motives.
It had been reported during the day that big name sponsors like GM, American Express, and P&G had already dropped their advertisement of the program. NBC was already late for a moral or ethical statement and now found itself open to the accusation that this was all about money. NBC, of course righteously claimed otherwise.
Imus’ program, on which most NBC personalities have appeared along with many popular politicians, did not suddenly change last week when he spoke inappropriately of the Rutgers Women’s Basketball team. His program has been engineered to run the edge of decency with calculated steps over the line to get those ratings. So everyone associated with Imus’ show already knew what he was like and who he pandered to. To say he crossed some magical line is a joke.
Imus will visit in person with the Rutgers team in order to apologize. He should not do this along. He should be accompanied by the President of NBC News, and suitable representatives from GM, American Express, and P&G who are all equally responsible.