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Monday, April 09, 2007

It's Hard Out Here Fo A Pimp

by digby

I've been listening to alleged journalists falling all over themselves on television to assure all of us that Don Imus is a really great guy underneath all the ugliness and that he's really, really, really sorry. Even David Gregory is vouching for him like a brother while that paragon of integrity Armstrong Williams is begging that he be given another chance.

I can't help but be reminded of the Imus profile of a year ago in Vanity Fair (not online, unfortunately) in which his psychotic freakshow was fully revealed. I'm sure all these disgusting sycophants read it. After all, it featured them in starring roles --- being insulted by Don Imus:

"They don't make good decisions," he says of MSNBC and its programming. "You can't make idiotic decisions like (hiring hosts) Tucker Carlson and Ron Reagan." Of conservative pundit Tucker Carlson, he says: "He's a twit. He's a pussy." This is in the same spirit as an earlier comment on Senate majority leader Bill Frist ("a fucking criminal"). Similarly, when he looks up from his circular desk at a television monitor during a commercial break and sees Chris Matthews, the host of Hardball, silently nattering away, he says, "There's that idiot," to no one in particular.

It makes you wonder why they continue to appear on his show and are making complete fools of themselves today assuring everyone that Imus is a "good man."

This might explain it:

I can feel the high of becoming part of his incestuous circle of regulars-the media elite who have entree with the I-Man and have never seemed troubled, at least publicly troubled as far as I can tell, by the show's forays over the years into homophobia and crudeness and sexism. I like this idea of being right in there with columnists Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich of The New York Times and NBC's Andrea Mitchell and David Gregory and Tim Russert (husband of Vanity Fair special correspondent Maureen Orth), all Imus regulars. I wonder if there's some secret media-elite handshake I need to learn, just so I can hear the jubilant sound of the cash register ringing when it comes time to sell my next book, because nobody (with the clear exception of Oprah) sells a book better than Imus.

He likes that power, enjoys going on Amazon to see just how much he can boost a book. During the week I'm there, he has Larry the Cable Guy on as a guest-Larry has just written a book called Git-r-Done. Before the show, according to Imus, the book was about 1,800 on the Amazon list. But when he checks on the Internet just after the show, it's No. 122.

I wonder if the media elite's failure to seriously take Imus to task for anything is due to a fear that their book-promotion pipeline will be cut off if they rub him the wrong way. In a 1998 New Yorker piece, Ken Auletta drew up a list, confirmed by Imus, of more than a dozen high-profile journalists who made contributions to the Imus Ranch. It's hard to quibble with donations to a worthy cause. As George Stephanopoulos said on the air to Imus in 1998, with his book on the White House still in the works, "I'm not too proud to suck up for a good cause. So count me in for $5,000 on the ranch!"

I wonder what I would have done, had I been an Imus regular with a book to sell, when the previous sports announcer for the show, Sid Rosenberg, said on the air last May of a female entertainer who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, "Ain't gonna be so beautiful when the bitch got a bald head and one titty." I wonder how I would have reacted to the cackling of various members of Imus's ensemble over the next minute or so to Rosenberg's remarks, as well as Imus's own hardly outraged response: "There's a reason I fire you about every six weeks." He did get fired from the show, and Imus distanced himself from what Rosenberg had said. He says the remarks were "horrible," but there seemed to be something disingenuous about Imus's repudiation-complete bullshit, as he might put it-given that Rosenberg had already distinguished himself on the show in 2001 by calling tennis player Venus Williams an "animal" and noting that she and her sister, Serena, had a better chance of posing nude for National Geographic than Playboy. I wonder what I would have done had I been in the audience the night Imus made his crude and unfunny remarks about President Clinton and his wife. Would I have said, That's it, never again. Or would I have been like Cokie Roberts of ABC television, who called Imus's remarks "profoundly rude," vowed never to go back on the show, and then did several years later when the opportunity arose to push her new book, We Are Our Mothers' Daughters.

It's as if they believe we can't read or are too stupid to figure out what they are doing. I read Vanity Fair. I hear his disgusting show and hear them on it, kissing up to him like he's some sort of oracle instead of a spoiled, petulant bully with an incoherent worldview. And I also listen to their complaints about the vituperation on the internet, how the bloggers --- especially the "angry left" --- are horrible people who treat them disrespectfully. And I have to laugh because I know that Don Imus can call them and their colleagues twits and pussies in Vanity Fair and they come back licking his boots, begging for more. And we know why.

They have earned their reputation --- even some of the good ones, the ones who write things I like. When you sell your personal integrity for money to a racist scumbag like Don Imus, you have to expect that people are not going to treat you with a lot of respect.

Don Imus has been behaving badly and apologizing for it for many, many years. I expect he will continue to do so once he's finished with his two week vacation. And all of these writers will once again make pilgrimages to his show and pledge fealty to him in order to sell books. Because, unlike those great basketball players he maligned so casually --- they really are whores.

Update: Democratic politicians like Joe Lieberman who have the utter gall to lecture people about civility while they patronize this swill are whores too, by the way:

McGUIRK: You know, before you get paroled, you have to admit that you did something wrong and you're -- you're sorry for it.

IMUS: I never admitted it when I went down there and got in all that big jam, insulting Bill Clinton and his fat ugly wife, Satan. Did I? Did I ever say I was sorry for that?

No he didn't. But even if he had, he'd just be saying the same stuff the next week and all the sycophants would be crawling up his robes eager to demean themselves again.

Update: I just watched an MSNBC panel unable to come up with an instance of Rush Limbaugh racism except for his comment that Obama is a halfrican. I guess they forgot that he was fired from ESPN for his bigoted remarks about Donovan McNab:

"the sports media, being liberals just like liberal media is elsewhere, have a desire that black quarterbacks excel and do very well so that their claims that blacks are being denied opportunity can be validated."

For some reason, the mainstream media just refuse to believe that Rush is a wingnut jerk of the highest order. When he is publicly exposed as a racist to the extent that he is fired from a broadcast network, they forget all about it. Why is that?

(And, of course, there are myriad other example as well. But you'd think that would at least have stuck in their memories.)

Oh, and at the time it happened, Rush had to decline to accept the Claremont Institute's "Statesmanship Award" that year because he was under such a cloud for his drug addiction and racist remarks and had to go to rehab. Not to worry. They gave it to him the next year. Here is a little piece of the speech the racist creep gave at the "Churchill Dinner" where he accepted a bust of old Winnie himself:

How many of you yesterday happened to see any pictures at all of the opening ceremonies of the Bill Clinton Library and Massage Parlor? (Laughter) How many hands do I see? Okay. I don't see too many hands and I'm not surprised. Let me tell you, I watched it. Not because I wanted to. I watched it for you. I watched it, my friends, because it's my business to do this. The Clinton library opening ceremonies epitomized, if you will, exactly where the left in this country is today. First, where was it? It was in a red state. They hate red states. In fact, the media in this country, the -- what I call them, the liberal spin machine -- I don't like to use the word "mainstream press" anymore. The liberal spin machine was there. They were all excited. But they're thinking about sending foreign correspondents to the red states to find out what people -- and to the red counties of California -- to find out what Americans are really like.