Imus – Disease Or Symptom?

I really wasn’t going to mention it. In fact, I’d made up my mind it truly wasn’t worth spending precious time writing of such a triviality. But, he wouldn’t let it rest. Tuesday night, he not only fixated on the issue for fifteen precious minutes – of a news program, that runs barely twenty once the advertising is removed – but he was at it again for another eight minutes tonight.

It’s just too much.

Brian Williams and NBC Nightly News have developed yet another obsession. All because some geriatric, so senile he can’t tell his ass from his elbow, spouts a comment about a few female basketball players.

Is this reality or have I fallen down Alice’s rabbit hole into some weirdly grotesque nightmare?

Once again, good old Yankee hypocrisy rears itself to full height and explodes in a shower of pompous self-righteousness.

Let’s get real here.

MSNBC has been broadcasting old Imus for one reason only – it makes them money. American radio is chocker-block with pretentious jackasses like Imus – take Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck as perfect examples. Anywhere else on the planet this shower of redundant has-beens would be sweeping the streets or cleaning public toilets, but it seems many Americans get a kick out of hearing plonkers like these shout their mouths off, belittling others usually better than they are.

For many Americans it plays to their sagging egos; bolsters their weird insecurities.

Anyone unfortunate enough to have their radio dial suddenly stick on any of the above aging infantiles, has to wonder what caused such a rumpus over Imus’ prattish comment about the Rutger’s basketball team being a bunch of “nappy-headed hos”. Far worse is daily masticated, swallowed, then ejaculated in a jet of verbal toxins on the inappropriately named “Talk Radio” shows disgorging around this nation.

Of course, the real culprit here was the media itself. Had NBC and other outlets done their job and focused on events that really mattered, any controversy surrounding Imus would have died rapidly. After all, kids all over America use this kind of verbiage constantly. Believe me, I drive a bus load of grade school kids every day. But no, America loves to be flogged up into a self-righteous frenzy, and God help any poor fool who gives the media chance to wield the whip. Throw in a good handful of black religious zeal, a la Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton – always ready to jump on any publicity bandwagon – and the whole nation, it seems, is poised for the lynching.

Personally, I don’t need to waste my time watching Brian Williams and cohorts giving their impression of a bunch of “….ever so ‘umble…” Uriah Heaps. If I tune to a news program I expect news.

Thankfully, prior to NBC’s watery offering each evening, the BBC manages to hone in on what really matters to the rest of the human race.

For those unfortunates unable to receive what little BBC news the American government allows over its borders, here are a few minor matters NBC missed while dissecting Don Imus:

1. The UK International Development Secretary Hilary Benn has said the World Bank must act on climate change. Meanwhile, the World Bank (remember a man named Wolfowitz?) is arranging deals catastrophic both to the planet’s climate and the poor beings victimized in the process.

2. The International Red Cross published a report today stating, “the situation for ordinary Iraqis is getting steadily worse”. This, despite US and UK politicians pretending that matters are improving.

3. George Bush is desperately trying to find a “war tzar” but no-one wants the job. One man approached, General John Sheehan, told the Washington Post: “The very fundamental issue is they don’t know where the hell they’re going.” Basically no-one wants the job while Cheney’s still around. I can’t say I blame them.

4. The Oxford Research Group, a prestigious and independent UK think tank, reports that British and US policy towards Iraq has “spawned new terror in the region”. Their spokesman said: “We are looking at a highly unstable global system by the middle years of the century unless urgent action is taken now.”.

America has forgotten Darfur. The rest of the world has not. The BBC reports from Darfur regularly. Nothing has changed; nothing has improved. Children are dying of starvation, women continue to be raped, whole villages are still being burned to the ground by the despicable janjaweed, on orders from the Sudanese government. You, America, labelled it “genocide”, but you are doing nothing. You don’t even remember. You prefer the thrill of debating Don Imus.

While America obsesses over the careless ranting of one old and rather sad individual, in other areas of the world thousands are suffering immeasurable hardships and death. Much of the catastrophe at the root of that suffering is directly or indirectly caused by the sick policies of the United States. America loves to be introvert. It will happily ignore all that goes on outside its boundaries – unless, of course, it happens to be American lives that are being lost. This is not a new phenomena. On the 11th September 2001, it took a catastrophic and terrifying series of events perpetrated on American soil, to force America to look up and recognize there is a world beyond this continent. Instead of realizing why 9/11 happened, this nation perpetrated a brutal and lasting revenge on innocents who had nothing to do with 9/11. It goes on to this day.

But America is bored with Iraq and Afghanistan. The “shock and awe” have long worn off. CNN is no longer exciting. Americans are once more turning their backs on the world outside, reverting to that old self-centered introversion.

The tale of Don Imus and the Rutgers women’s basketball team is just one more example of that old US self-obsession.

Will it take another 9/11?

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4 Replies to “Imus – Disease Or Symptom?”

  1. You are comparing the BBC with NBC and the like, but they are not playing in the same league. Most countries, including the UK, have at least two levels of media. Admittedly, even our best media (NPR) is somewhat introverted when compared with the BBC, but it’s leagues ahead of the competition here.

  2. PM – oh, come Mary, – talking ‘royalty’ and you’ve left out the Bush’s and the Clinton’s?

    Al – I agree NPR is way ahead of NBC and similar cable channels, but what does this say for the state of news media in America today? NPR, largely publicly funded and financially struggling, able to provide a better service than corporate controlled channels with financial advertising clout? There are plenty of commercial news channels in Europe – Sky, ITN, etc providing services comparable to the BBC. NBC, ABC, and CBS (I won’t even mention CNN and Fox!) are a joke by comparison. Who, I wonder, are these “news” channels geared towards serving?

    Anan – Yes, Imus has gone, and once again the corporate advertisers flaunt their self-righteous hypocrisy by pretending to take the side of the consumer while, in truth, they are simply controlling the media. Free speech is supposed to be an inherent right in this country. The public should have had the final say over Imus’ fate by simply turning him off. Why does the American public allow “sponsors” to control what they see and hear? Is this USA 2007, or USSR 1956?

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