TOMPAINE.COM IMUS WATCH: A Pattern of Racism, Homophobia, and Bigotry?
Week of April 3 - 7th.
Philip Nobile is the editor of Judgment at the Smithsonian, which
printed the banned Smithsonian script on the 50th anniversary
of the Bombs of August in 1995.
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Editor's Note: TomPaine.com continues its coverage of radio host Don Imus. On February 24, 2000, when he was being criticized for making allegedly racist comments on his radio show, Imus told Jeff Greenfield on CNN's "Larry King Show": "Has there been racially offensive stuff on the air? Yes. Do we make a practice of it? No." We wanted to find out for ourselves if Imus was right. So we asked Philip Nobile to monitor the show. During the week of March 20-24th, Mr. Nobile reported, Imus made offensive cracks about blacks, gays, and foreigners. Click here to read Mr. Nobile's previous report. In a new report, he has compiled more comments from Imus and his guests on the same topics. At what point does this behavior become a pattern? You decide:
Don Imus [host]
Fred Imus [Don's brother]
Bernard McGuirk [producer]
Jim Nantz [CBS Sports]
Patrick McEnroe [sports]
Lou Ruffino [engineer]
Charles McCord [newsman]
Bill from White Plains [regular caller]
Bo Dietl [movie reviewer]
RIDICULE OF AFRICAN AMERICANS
D. Imus: How is a guinea [hen] related to a chicken? What's the difference between a chicken and a guinea, for example?
F. Imus : Guineas are from South Africa, somewhere in Africa.
McGuirk: They're hairier.
Imus: No, no. They're not hairier, Bernie. That's not where we want to go with this. We don't want this to degenerate into a racial incident.
McGuirk: Oh no, not at all.
Nantz: Magic Johnson is going to be at this game tonight and I'm actually going to go over to him and tell him that you were comparing some passes in the women's championship game to some of his passes.
Imus: Wear gloves. (laughter, huzzahs) Thanks, Jim. Jim Nantz of CBS Sports on Imus in the Morning.
McEnroe: [Mateen] Cleaves returned to a roar not heard of since the Thrilla in Manila. His team had a nine-point lead and his emotional leadership was enough to lead Michigan state to their first title since Magic Johnson lead them to the championship in 1979. Magic attended the game, and afterwards here was his take.
Magic Johnson: We attacked that trap like nobody else has...You can wear them down if you score and that's what we did...
McGuirk: You scored in the hotel room. (laughter)
Ruffino: Later on. (laughter)
McGuirk: (imitating Johnson) I put on gloves. (laughter)
McEnroe: Cleaves scored 18 points and controlled the tempo of the game until he suffered the injury. His mom was understandably very excited. What did Mateen say to her after the game?
Ms. Cleaves: He said, 'Mama, I won a national championship.' That's what he said. And the tears rolled for me and him.
Imus: Yeah, and she will get that big house here (laughter) when he signs with the Charlotte Hornets, or whoever.
McGuirk: (in black female voice) Get me out of the projects.
Ruffino: Moving on out. (laughter)
Imus: That is exactly right.
Imus: First of all, you and Billy Packer describing Cleavon Little, or whatever his name was...
Nantz: Come on, Mateen Cleaves. (laughing)
McEnroe: Also in the NBA, Allen Iverson with 30 points to lead the 76ers over Atlanta 107-86. Apparently, Iverson has been suffering from a bad toe, but it hasn't slowed him down too much.
Iverson: It's frustrating because I never hurt my toe before, ever, in my career since I've been playing. I never hurt any of my toes (laughter, unintelligible) for it to be a big one...
McGuirk: (imitating Iverson) I was trau-ma-ta-tized. (laughter)
Imus: Shut up.
Imus: Martin Luther King III is not all that, not the sharpest light, knife in the drawer, is he?
McCord: Why would you even want...?
Imus: Well because, he seems like a dope, buying into all that jive, what's the name of the guy who killed Martin Luther King?
McCord: James Earl Ray.
Imus: Buying into all that, I mean...
McGuirk: Sounds like Rodney King when he speaks. (laughter)...
McGuirk: Who'd've thought, Marv Albert and John Andariese [Knicks announcers], a couple of felons up in the booth? You think all the felons are down on the court. (laughter) …
Wolf: The Knicks didn't play last, but coach Jeff Van Gundy was asked about the Knicks' fighting.
Van Gundy: People say that but we're not a fighting team. We're never in fights. Fighting's bad for the NBA. It happens very rarely.
Wolf: What league is he in? …
McGuirk: Bunch of chest-bumping pimps on your team. (laughter) … The New York Crips.
Voice: If your radio sounds funny in the mornning, you're listening to Imus in the Morning.
McGuirk: [re Patrick Ewing] A gaping a-hole that guy. (laughter)
Imus: That's a little strong, don't you think?
McGuirk: Not at all, a surly uncharsimatic schmuck. (laughter)
Bill from White Plains: … Anyone can do what Breen [former Imus sports reporter] can do. I can report scores. I can sing songs. I can have sex with Patrick Ewing. (laughter)
RIDICULE OF FOREIGNERS
Imus: How's that Japanese boy doing?
McCord: Well, I guesss he's not doing all that well, I-man. Prime Minister Obuchi, who had a stroke on Saturday night.
Imus: Right. He's not well.
McCord: He's on life support.
Imus: Oh, okay.
McCord: There was concern how the Japanese stock market might react to that.
Imus: How did it react?
McCord: It did react. I don't know that it reacted to that or not. But at any rate it shrugged off any concerns. Japan's main stock index rising, in fact, to a three-year high today.
McCord: Rising. Despite the hospitalization of Prime Minister Obuchi.
Imus: Won Hooky is plugged in and the market's going up.
Imus: That's not good...So old Kabuki's there in a coma...Old Kabuki's in a coma and the market's going up.
McCord: Japan's cabinet has now resigned, clearing the ruling party's second in command to replace Prime Minister Obuchi who has been in a coma since early Sunday after suffering a stroke, and some reports indicate that he is brain dead...
Imus: Kabuki is out of here...How old is the boy? How old is the boy? The battery's running down on that boy.
Rob Bartlett: (imitating Japanese comedian Buddy Miyagi) What do you call most famous Japanese vegetable?
Imus: What do you call most famous Japanese vegetable? I don't know.
Rob Bartlett: Prime Minister.
Barlett: (imitating Buddy Miyagi) Imus-san, ah so, I have many sick joke for you today...How many Japanese Prime Minister it take to go fishing.
Imus: I don't know.
Bartlett: Four. One to drive boat, one to cut bait, one to stop everyone from eating bait, and Keizo Obuchi as anchor. (laughter)
Juan Miguel Gonzales (voice of translator): ... But it was not until January the 5th that in compliance with international law the INS recognized the unquestionable principle of parental right and appears that in common practice in such cases the child should be returned to the father. (sound of explosion) ...
McGuirk: Like those were his real words-- "unquestionable principle." The guy's a doorman in a hotel.
Imus: (laughter) Shut up.
McGuirk: Doma la cinco Egg McMuffin. (laughter) That would be more like it. ... He's getting heckled by people down there. Hey maricon. ... Good lord, wait till he gets a look at some of the ho's on South Beach, some of the food in the 7-11's around here. He's not going back to Cuba. ...
McCord: 'From here begins the battle.' Those words of defiance were heard today outside the Miami home where Elian is staying from the people who are gathered there.
McGuirk: Barbecued Cuban, maybe? ....
Imus: Miami Smackdown. ... We want a screen filled with flames ....
Imus: [Juan Miguel Gonzales] has got that new Sammy Sosa-looking wife of his. (laughter) That's a thugly looking [unintelligible]
Dietl: The father's not a bad looking guy. He doesn't look like a real rice-picker there. He looks pretty good.
Imus: That'll be fine.
Imus: Maureen Orth [wife of Tim Russert] is a journalist -- we met her a long, long time ago -- I think she was writing for Newsweek, an enormously talented woman and she wrote this book on Andrew Cunanan. What was that book called?
McCord: I can't recall.
Imus: What was it called, Tim?
Russert: Vulgar Favors.
Imus: Which troubled us in that she had to immerse herself ...
Russert: In a culture you know well. (laughter)
******************** [A few minutes later, Imus played a promo consisting of two Cunanan-related soundbites from 1998.]
McCord: Authorities say that tips on Andrew Cunanan's whereabouts lead them to believe he is still in the South Florida area. Cunanan is suspected in killing of designer Gianni Versace on Tuesday.
F. Imus: Why are they bothering to catch this guy? He's just whacking off freaks.
D. Imus: Shut up. Be quiet. God Almighty.
F. Imus: I think the FBI should back off.
D. Imus: Just shut up.
Voice imitating General George Patton: If your radio sounds funny in the morning, it's Imus in the Morning.
Imus: Maureen Orth. Good morning, Miss Orth.
Orth: Not good, Don.
Orth: Because I'm down here in Miami with Andrew Cunanan and I'm afraid you may be next. (laughter) Just think of it. He goes after old, rich, closeted queens. (laughter)
McGuirk: (in "black" voice) Keep hope alive.
Imus: The big rumor at CNN is that they're going to get rid of Rick Kaplan for letting the once mighty news channel lose a third of its viewers in a year, many of them to MSNBC. … Kaplan is just a skunk ….
McGuirk: He's got all those dikey broads reading the news over there. That's the problem.
Imus: That is the problem, isn't it.
McGuirk: You gotta get some cute news bunnies, man.
******** Voice imitating Manuel Noriega: (in Spanish accent) ...I'm one of the world's most dangerous men on the verge of getting out of prison and getting back at the Texas maricon who put me away in the first place...And that's what Gore had been saying, that is, until recently when somebody told him how many electoral votes are up for grabs in Florida and how many potential big-money, campaign-contributing homos there are roller blading in South Beach. (played four times)
******** Voice imitating Governor Jesse Ventura: ...I'm beginning to have doubts about Bill Gates's orientation if you know what I mean. I always thought it was strange for a man who's supposedly a such a tyrannical megalomaniac, he named his company Microsoft, not exactly the type of image a manly man wants associated with him if you know what I mean. I've always thought the term browsing the worldwide web sounds suspiciously like cruising the West Village.
Imus: That'll be fine.
Ventura: I'm somewhat suspicious of any man that is so vocal about his desire to get as much ram as he can. He's got an operating system all right. He may call it Windows, but both you and I know it's a metaphor for backdoor.
Imus: That'll be fine.
******** Imus: Here's Doc from Harrison, Arkansas (on phone) … The thing that concerned me, we pulled up there in front of Chris Ramsey's nursery when we were down in Arkansas a year or two ago in the limo. And I had never met Chris, but we were very, very disturbed to learn that, one, Chris was fairly fat, and the boy was wearing an ear-ring.
McCord: That's troubling.
Imus: That's troubling. … Get out of here (to doctor)… you and that fat homo over there at the nursery.
Imus: We've got that pretty boy coming up on MSNBC. What's his name? Greg Louganis. It's not Greg Louganis. It's something like that.
Imus: Greg Jarret.*
*(Previously, McGuirk said that Jarret "looks like a lesbian in a suit.")
******** McGuirk: Where's Janet Reno?
McCord: I don't know.
McGuirk: Bench lifting somewhere? (laughter) She couldn't find a comfortable enough jockstrap?
Imus: So we just don't need that. It's just gratuitous.
******** Imus: ...don't we want to see a Waco-like seige at [the Gonzalez home in Miami]?
Dietl: I think they're a little smarter, Don, than what they did with the FBI.
Imus: Don't bet on it.
Dietl: Do you think that big lesbian would send somebody in there? Reno.
Editor's Note: "Imus in the Morning" is broadcast on the radio by Infinity Broadcasting, a division of CBS, and telecast by MSNBC, a joint venture of NBC and Microsoft.
Published: May 08 2000