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23 June 2008

Keeping it in context: It's a disgrace what the mainstream media does to the spoken word

For crying out loud, America: Can anyone say anything without it being taken out of context?

I had planned not to address this situation, but because it goes well beyond the arena of Don Imus, I feel I have no other choice.

Today, in a discussion with sports reporter Warner Wolf about Pacman Jones, Imus asked Wolf what color Jones was. Wolf responded: "African-American."

On the surface, it might seem like Imus was getting himself into trouble again, right?


What many media outlets — including MSNBC, Drudge, CNN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN and many others — failed to mention when they reported this non-story today was that Imus had been discussing the notion that the police often give more trouble to African-Americans because their skin color is black.

To illustrate his point, Imus asked Wolf what Jones' skin color was.

When Wolf responded, Imus said: "There you go. Now we know."

Again, when read out of context, it seems pretty bad.

But it's not.

It's not because, as usual, two-bit weasels in the mainstream media, who for some reason don't like Imus, want to see the man fail. And what better way to see him fail than to take legitimate comments and blow them out of proportion and without context.

This is downright sickening, folks. Sickening.

I haven't been this angry about a news story since last April. But this one is worse, because this time, Imus was making a point about bigotry and discrimination in this country — something he does not like — and the media took it, ran with it, and made issue out of a conversation that was meant to be illustrative about the hardships many African-Americans experience on a daily basis.

Today, I spent a lot of time reading the Imus-related blogs: Imus Truth, Imus Times and Not Another Imus Blog. Wholeheartedly, the posters are saying they're tired of this kind of treatment Imus is getting.

I concur.

Yet it goes well beyond Imus.

The hypocrisy is surreal, first of all — and the irresponsible nature of the mainstream media is even worse.

It makes me wonder why anyone, anywhere, would ever make a statement in public. I could make a statement "I hate black shoes," and the media could simply cut out the word shoes, and quote me as saying "I hate blacks."

This is precisely what is happening to Imus — and it's happening to people everywhere, constantly, and without justification or the opportunity to explain and defend.

Folks, today, Imus made a statement that is beyond true. And because he has a history — a skewed one at that — of making comments that might be considered offensive, the media tried to crucify him today.

If they win, I will officially give up any hope of anyone getting a fair chance in any realm. If they win, it'll be all based on lies and untruths.

And while I am at it: Again, would someone please tell me how it's possible the Associated Press could run to the buffoon and scum of the earth Al Sharpton to ask him for a comment on Imus today, when Sharpton is himself currently under investigation more than just about any other living American? Can someone please tell me how it is possible that the self-professed, self-loving bigot himself is even allowed to appear in the newspaper for reasons other than his own transgressions?

Can someone please tell me who died and left Al Sharpton the authority on mistakes made by media members, when Sharpton himself has made more unpublished and more forgiven mistakes than anyone to live in New York City in the modern era?

Sometimes, it's just an embarrassment to be considered a member of the media when the likes of the AP, MSNBC and others use as a principal source a man who has no business running a hotdog stand, let alone a so-called "National Action Network."

I wonder if things like this happen in Canada? I wonder if things like this happen in England?

Somehow I doubt it.

And boy do I wish the day would come when a man like Sharpton would be laughed at when he spoke — and boy do I wish the day would come when the media would actually pay attention to a person's entire statement, and not just the words that might be misconstrued.

I'll wait and long for those days — but they'll never come. And that's a true shame.

And the biggest shame of them all would be if something happens to Imus over what was said Monday on the air. (Or even worse, if something similar happened to you or me).

Sorry, folks: This time, the media got it wrong. If they're allowed to get away with it this time, it spells the end of journalism as we once knew it.

Then again, when we lost Tim Russert at an all-too-young age last week, journalism already ended as we knew it, did it not?


This is something I posted on a few Web sites tonight. When Imus returned to the airwaves in December, it was noted he's be on a 45-second delay. Bernie McGuirk and Lou Rufino both have access to it. And yet, it wasn't used. Why? Because everyone on the show — including Karith Foster and Tony Powell knew Imus' comment wasn't offensive, since they knew the context under which it was said. This, alone, should be enough to drop this entire mess.

We can only hope...


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