Tuesday, April 10, 2007


That's What Friends Are For

John Cole has some common-sense observations about why the opinion media big boys stick by Imus, despite his history:
As the TNR notes (via Sully), it will be interesting to see how MoDo and Frank Rich react. Another one that will be interesting to watch is Mike Barnicle, who was, for the most part, thrown out of the “clique” for plagiarism a few years back and was wholly rehabilitated by Imus. He made Barnicle less nuclear. People remember that. People understand loyalty.

But I really do think it boils down to friendships and relationships as much or more than it does to
Digby’s hypothesis about book sales. I listened to the show quite frequently (every morning, actually, up until about a year ago when I just stopped watching, for whatever reason). The guests and Imus generally liked each other- you could tell that they were friends, and yes, they were clubby.

I guess my whole point is that it is, I think, unfair to attack Oliphant, or David Gregory, or Tim Russert, or whoever, because they will defend a friend. I worked in probation for a while, and at every sentencing, people got up and said good things about the convicted. That doesn’t mean that the convicted is any less guilty, and it surely does not mean that those testifying on behalf of the convicted are awful sell-outs. It is just human nature to try to stand up for your friends.
It's interesting. I've also been a long-time Imus listener -- back when he was "Howard Stern" before Howard Stern became "Howard Stern." He was the original loud-mouth, near-foul, shock-jock. Years later, when he became the drop-by guy for various media and political heavyweights -- and was nationally syndicated -- I started listening to him again in Washington, D.C.

But, like Cole, I suddenly stopped listening regularly last year, preferring my morning regimen to go from the local all-news cable station to the "Mike and Mike" simulcast on ESPN2 to CNN. Imus has slipped from the rotation.

An earlier Imus drive-by victim, Gwen Ifill, weighed in this morning
in the Times. She focused less on Imus than on his target -- the Rutgers U. basketketball players. I think they are the reason why this has had a stronger resonance than previous Imus outbursts. They are not "public" figures in the conventional sense. They were just playing in a tournament and suddenly bece the source of obnoxious "humor." As we noted previously, that makes Imus worse than a racist -- it makes him look like a bully.

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