Televised Salons

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Sunday morning talk shows are nothing more than televised salons constructed to seduce the viewer into watching and receiving the conventional wisdom that is at its core a pernicious form of corporate propaganda. Once entangled in the web of deceit, the viewer’s mind is paralyzed and sucked dry like a dangerous spider that devours its prey. The viewer, now intellectually anesthetized is no longer a threat to the white power structure that rules this country.

 

Salons, from their inception, were meant to be social devices where the elite could gather in the drawing rooms of their aristocratic peers to discuss the various issues important to their class in a less formal atmosphere more conducive to free flowing dialog.  It is customary for the host to lead off the discussion and insure that everyone has a crack at the question at hand.  Good hosts always assemble a diverse guest list with people of various opinions and stations well represented, along with a few decorous women thrown in to keep it lively for good measure.

 

Nobody was better at assembling the power salon than former Ambassador to France, and Democratic Party doyenne, Pamela Harriman. A British born daughter of aristocratic privilege, Mrs. Harriman made her mark in Washington and Europe as a courtesan of power. 

 

Courtesan, a French term which essentially means socialite whore, is an appellation used frequently by biographers of Mrs. Harriman.  She learned her skills at the feet of her idol, the Duchess of Windsor, the former Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee’ who met and married the King of England, Edward VIII, in a salacious scandal which led to his abdication of the throne in 1936 to wed the woman he loved.

 

The Duchess imparted to her pupil the art of the salon and her unmatched ability to cocoon and control powerful men. Mrs. Harriman used her skills to land a wealthy third husband, former Ambassador to Russia and New York Governor Averell Harriman, with whom she had an elicit affair during World War II.  After the death of their respective spouses, they hooked up in 1971.

 

The marriage led Mrs. Harriman on a grueling quest for power and recognition in Washington power circles.  She resurrected and honed the gimmick of the salon to ensnare official Washington into her drawing room to raise money for Democratic Senators.  She was rewarded for her dutiful service to the white neo-liberal power structure with an ambassadorship to France in the Clinton Administration.

 

Like the late Pamela Harriman, Tim Russert is a courtesan of Washington power. His televised salon, Meet the Press, is a seductive forum of corporate propaganda.  Like a good socialite whore, he knows how to run a salon, cocoon powerful men, and wield their power as his own. He reigns supreme among his fellow television brethren for his singular ability to use his program to confer the imprimatur of power on those fortunate enough to be tapped by his fraudulent benevolence for a coveted cameo appearance.

 

Frequent appearances on Meet the Press are status symbols of cachet, relevance, and prestige among the Washington power elite. They are the hottest tickets in town and analogous to seats at a Washington National Cathedral Presidential Funeral. The appearances signal to anybody observant enough to keep score that the recipient has arrived.

 

In keeping with the ethos of privilege and exclusivity, Tim would have you to believe that his choice of important topics and important newsmakers represents the cream of the crop. Like cream, Tim’s idea of cream is almost all-white. This past Sunday was the last straw. We were treated to an all white parade that is so commonplace among the Washington Sunday Talk Shows. We heard absolutely nothing from those people that was insightful or even remotely newsworthy. 

 

We heard from the same Bush Administration hacks that gave us No Child Left Behind and the Medicare Prescription Drug benefit. Neither Secretary Spellings or Secretary Leavitt have the capacity to think their way out of a paper bag much less come up with policy recommendations likely to avert another tragedy like Virginia Tech. They had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO SAY.  

 

We shoulda heard from the Surgeon General, or a Mental Health expert or somebody, anybody with some muthafreakin’ expertise. All we got was the same beltway B.S. we always hear. In the past 18 months, Meet the Press has had 19 non-white guests which represent an eclectic mix of diplomats, heads of state, the same two reporters, and a few stray uncle toms like John McWhorter an Michael Steele. When we do hear from a big cheese, it is a Republican with a disappointing perm like Condi. 

 

Apparently, Meet the Press has only three black people on speed dial: Gwen Ifill, Eugene Robinson, and Barack Obama. It was no surprise then that Gwen Ifill handed Tim his ass last week for coddling Don Imus or that this week’s talking head roundtable guests were all Imus alums gathered together in silent protest and all spouting conventional wisdom.

 

My favorite moment this Sunday was the irony of a roundtable of whitefolks celebrating diversity.  Jon Meachum of Newsweek made the following observation of the Virginia Tech victims “One, one of the things I found so striking was the diversity of the victims. As you mentioned, the Holocaust survivor, professor who tried to—tried help and save people, the, the number of international students there in the middle of Virginia. It’s, it’s a snapshot of what the country is. And it’s, it’s a diverse country and it’s a good country.” 

 

To bring this post full circle, the true test of a salon is its diversity and its ability to both inform and enlighten.  On this score, Meet the Press fails as do the rest of Tim Russert’s white brethren. Hey, Tim, how bout a new closing?  How bout, “ If it’s Sunday, It’s Meet the White Press.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Kerry backs Imus

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John Kerry

Hat Tip: Taegan Goddard

In an interview with NY1 political anchor Dominic Carter, Mass. Senator John Kerry says radio-show host Don Imus should not have been fired by CBS – and won’t rule out appearing on a future program hosted by the controversial shock jock.

Kerry is the first high-profile Democrat not to support Imus’ ouster – who was fired last Thursday after making remarks about the Rutgers women’s basketball team.

Here is a transcript of Kerry’s remarks:

Kerry: “I think that the…you know the punishment has to fit the crime so to speak. I think a long suspension, or a strong suspension met with his appropriate level, given that the team forgave him. To me it was in the hands of the young women. They made the judgment that they thought he was genuine and they felt they could forgive him. And I think it was appropriate to pay a price on the airwaves but I’m not sure that it was appropriate to say you’re off forever.”

Dominic Carter: “If Mr. Imus has a show in the future would you appear on it?”

Kerry: “It would depend on what the context of the show was obviously. If he goes back to doing the same old same old I’d have trouble doing that, but if it’s a different show and he says it’s going to be different sure.”

CBS AXES IMUS

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 IMUS BLOWS (ON) IT

HAT TIP:  AP NEW YORK – CBS fired Don Imus from his radio show Thursday, the finale to a stunning fall for one of the nation’s most prominent broadcasters.

Imus initially was given a two-week suspension, to start Monday, for calling the Rutgers women’s basketball team “nappy-headed hos” on the air last week, but outrage continued to grow and advertisers bolted from his programs.

“There has been much discussion of the effect language like this has on our young people, particularly young women of color trying to make their way in this society,” CBS President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves said in announcing the decision. “That consideration has weighed most heavily on our minds as we made our decision.”

Rutgers women’s basketball team spokeswoman Stacey Brann said the team did not have an immediate comment on Imus’ firing but would be issuing a statement later Thursday evening.

Time Magazine once named the cantankerous broadcaster as one of the 25 Most Influential People in America, and he was a member of the National Broadcaster Hall of Fame.

But Imus found himself at the center of a storm after his comments. Protests ensued, and one by one, sponsors pulled their ads from Imus’ show. On Wednesday, MSNBC dropped the simulcast of Imus’ show.

The Rev. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson met with Moonves to advocate Imus’ removal, promising a rally outside CBS headquarters Saturday and an effort to persuade more advertisers to abandon Imus.Sumner Redstone, chairman of the CBS Corp. board and its chief stockholder, told Newsweek that he had expected Moonves to “do the right thing,” although it wasn’t clear what he thought that was.

CBS Director Bruce Gordon, former NAACP chief, calls for Imus ouster

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HAT TIP : By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer Wed Apr 11, 2007

NEW YORK – Bruce Gordon, former head of the NAACP and a director of CBS Corp., said Wednesday the broadcasting company needs a “zero tolerance policy” on racism and hopes talk-show host Don Imus is fired for his demeaning remarks about the mostly black Rutgers women’s basketball team.

He’s crossed the line, he’s violated our community,” Gordon said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “He needs to face the consequence of that violation.”

Gordon, a longtime telecommunications executive, stepped down in March after 19 months as head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, one of the foremost U.S. civil rights organizations.

He said he had spoken with CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves and hoped the company, after reviewing the situation, would “make the smart decision” by firing Imus rather than letting him return to the air at the end of a two-week suspension beginning next Monday.

“We should have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to what I see as irresponsible, racist behavior,” Gordon said. “The Imus comments go beyond humor. Maybe he thought it was funny, but that’s not what occurred. There has to be a consequence for that behavior.”

Imus triggered the uproar on his April 4 show, when he referred to the Rutgers players as “nappy-headed hos.” His comments have been widely denounced by civil rights and women’s groups, and two sponsors, Staples Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co., have pulled their advertising from the radio show.

Gordon said that as a matter of principle, firing Imus should be an easy decision to make, though he respects the right of CBS leadership to consider all factors, including legal and financial repercussions.

“When I look at it from my position as a director, where my responsibility is to represent the best interest of the shareholders, it’s more complex,” Gordon said. “But at the end of the day, the image of CBS is at risk. … the ad revenue of CBS could be at risk.”

“What I expect is for management to take the next two weeks to do their homework,” he said. “I hope that the result of their due diligence is to terminate Don Imus.”

The CBS board has 13 members. A corporate spokesman declined comment on Gordon’s remarks.

The radio show originates from WFAN-AM in New York City and is syndicated nationally by Westwood One, both of which are managed by CBS Corp. MSNBC, which simulcasts the show on cable and is a part of NBC Universal, says it will watch to see whether Imus changes the tenor of future programs.

SUMNER REDSTONE SAYS CBS TO “DO THE RIGHT THING”

Neither Bruce Gordon or Sumner Redstone will be ignored.  Imus will be gone before his suspension is up.  The pressure from the bailing advertisers alone is enough to kill his show, and his $10 million paycheck dead.  But if that isn’t sufficient, perhaps scrolling through TOM PAINE. COM’s Imus Archive is.    They have been crusading for his ouster and recording his bigotry for the last seven years. 

MSNBC NIXES IMUS

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donimus

Hat Tip: http://informedvoters.wordpress.com/ 

NEW YORK – MSNBC said Wednesday it will drop its simulcast of the “Imus in the Morning” radio program, responding to growing outrage over the radio host’s racial slur against the Rutgers women’s basketball team.

In a statement, NBC News announced “this decision comes as a result of an ongoing review process, which initially included the announcement of a suspension. It also takes into account many conversations with our own employees. What matters to us most is that the men and women of NBC Universal have confidence in the values we have set for this company. This is the only decision that makes that possible.”

For those of you who question the morality of MSNBC’s decision to kill Imus’s program, read the following.

From Michael Wilbon’s Washington Post Column that killed Imus’s comeback:

“In 1997, during a “60 Minutes” profile, Mike Wallace confronted Imus and a former producer who quoted Imus as saying he’d hired a staffer to “do nigger jokes.” When I mentioned that earlier this week on ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, Imus responded on his show that it simply did not happen — though I see it in a 2000 issue of the Columbia Journalism Review and had a producer access it through a transcript (also the audio version) on National Public Radio.

Wallace: “You’ve told Tom Anderson, the producer, in your car coming home that Bernard McGuirk is there to do nigger jokes.'”

Imus: “Well, I’ve . . . I never use that word.”

Wallace: “Tom?”

Tom Anderson: “I’m right here.”

Imus: “Did I use that word?

Anderson: “I recall you using that word.”

Imus: “Oh, okay, well then I used that word, but I mean . . . of course that was an off-the-record conversation . . .”

Wallace: “The hell it was.”

So, you’ll excuse me if I dismiss Imus’s apology as bogus. He’s apologized in the past, told veteran black journalist Clarence Page on the air he would “promise to cease all simian references to black . . . black athletes.” That was before Imus went back to the ape references, probably within a week.”

Imus Update

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Imus looses major advertisers Staples and Procter and Gamble.

“Aside from public condemnation, there are new signs of trouble for talk show host Don Imus — dollar signs.

Two major advertisers — Proctor and Gamble and Staples — said they will pull their ads from his show, which will be suspended by CBS Radio and MSNBC for two weeks starting Monday. Bigelow Tea said it may do the same, and more companies are reportedly considering pulling ads.”

M. J. Rosenberg of TPM Cafe-I say fire the racist. 

“Who but an old-fashioned racist would look at Gwen Ifill on PBS and say that she reminds him of a “cleaning woman?” Who but a racist would see those amazing Rutgers b-ball players and see “nappy headed whores?” Who but a racist would repeatedly liken black athletes to “apes” and deride brilliant black journalists as “quota hires?”

“Unless I live on Planet Liberal (it’s possible), I find it impossible to believe that anyone but a serious racist even has these thoughts about African Americans. I know there are plenty of racists. I know that a liberal Jew like myself is far from typical of white America.”

“But, at the same time, I think I know enough about this country to believe with all my heart that Imus is a throwback to a time in this country we want to forget: a time when successful African Americans, women, gays, Hispanics and Jews were constantly denigrated because of innate and immutable characteristics (race, religion, sexual identity, ethnic background).”

Gwen Ifill, a target of Imus’s racially offensive “humor” speaks out.

“The serial apologies of Mr. Imus, who was suspended yesterday by both NBC News and CBS Radio for his remarks, have failed another test. The sincerity seems forced and suspect because he’s done some version of this several times before.”

“I know, because he apparently did it to me.”

M. J. Rosenberg of TPM Cafe-Imus will be Fired by Friday: Count on it

“The contrast between Ifill and the white boys Jeff Greenfield, David Gregory, James Carville, Bill Maher and Ham Jordan (all of whom are rallyng behind Imus) could not be more stark. Cannot the old bigot come up with a single African American to support him. What about some Clarence Thomas type? Surely, there has to be some thoroughly discredited African-American who will stand with Imus. If not, wow.”

Michael Wilbon, Washington Post

“But there’s nothing rare about Imus’s vile attacks. This is what he does as a matter of course. Imus and his studio cohorts have painted black people as convicts and muggers and worst of all, apes. Not only do they find it funny, they expect everybody else will as well.”

“Sid Rosenberg, whom Imus once fired, then rehired, said one morning in 2001 that Serena and Venus Williams would be better off posing in National Geographic than Playboy. He knew he was saying Serena and Venus are closer to wild animals than women.”

Al Roker on Imus and his suspension

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(By Al Roker)

I cannot tell you how many people have asked me about my thoughts on Don Imus. As a student of broadcasting, I know Don Imus was one of the original “shock jocks.” I listened to him growing up in New York City in the late ’60s and early ’70s.

He is a radio icon.

That said, it is time for him to go.

I, for one, am really tired of the diatribes, the “humor” at others’ expense, the cruelty that passes for “funny”. Don Imus isn’t the only one doing this, but today he’s the one in the hot seat.

What he said was vile and disgusting. It denigrated an entire team and by extension, a community and its pride in a group that had excelled.

This controversy started and grew during the week. At first under the radar, we even had Don’s wife, Deidre, on the program, talking about “green” cleaning. I thought she was so good I wanted to talk to her about a television program for my production company.

Don and his wife have done a lot of good things—raising money for charity, including a ranch for children suffering from cancer and blood disorders.

Yet, Don Imus needs to be fired for what he said. And while we’re at it, his producer, Bernard McGuirk, needs to be canned as well. McGuirk is just as guilty, often egging Imus on.

The “I’m a good person who said a bad thing” apology doesn’t cut it. At least he didn’t try to weasel out of this by hiding behind alcohol or drug abuse. Still, he said it and a two-week suspension doesn’t cut it. It is, at best, a slap on the wrist. A vacation. Nothing.

The general manager of Cartoon Network resigned after a publicity stunt went wrong and caused a panic in Boston. He did the right thing. Don Imus should do the right thing and resign. Not talk about taking a two-week suspension with dignity. I don’t think Don Imus gets it.

After watching and listening to him this morning during an interview with Matt Lauer (video), Don Imus doesn’t get it. Maybe it’s being stuck in a studio for 35 years or being stuck in the 1980s. Either way, it’s obvious that he needs to move on. Citing “context within a comedy show” is not an excuse.

He has to take his punishment and start over. Guess what? He’ll get re-hired and we’ll go on like nothing happened. CBS Radio and NBC News needs to remove Don Imus from the airwaves. That is what needs to happen. Otherwise, it just looks like profits and ratings rule over decency and justice.

 

Brotha Al said what I was incapable of saying and without the profanity. My hat is off to him.