Imus: Symptom Of Larger Problem

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Op-Ed: On Media And Racism

Media Matters is the progressive media watchdog organization credited with first bringing Don Imus’ racist and sexist remarks aimed at the Rutgers University women’s basketball team to public attention.

Don Imus’ racist and sexist remarks are no less hurtful or harmful than they were last April -- for his apology to actually mean something, he is going to have to change. Lying low for a few months will accomplish absolutely nothing if he returns only to pick the ugly scab of bigotry once again.

In the wake of his dismissal from MSNBC and CBS Radio, it is important that media outlets considering Imus understand the responsibility they would undertake by airing his program. If he returns to his old ways, it will be on their watch.

Should Imus return to the public’s airwaves, Media Matters will be there to monitor his broadcasts, just as we have done for years. And should he choose to employ the same bigoted language that has long clouded his career, we will be there to notify the American people.

Ultimately, however, Don Imus is only a symptom of a much larger problem in today’s media. Day in and day out, Media Matters exposes racist, sexist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic comments by media figures like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, and Bill O’Reilly.

The Imus controversy should serve as a much-needed reminder for news organizations that they have a responsibility to elevate the public discourse rather than forcing it down into the gutter.

Foser is the Managing Director of Media Matters


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