TOMPAINE.COM IMUS WATCH I
Week of March 20-24th
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.
Editor's Note: Is Don Imus a racist? On February 24, 2000, when he was under fire for making allegedly racist comments on his radio show, Imus told Jeff Greenfield on the "Larry King Live": "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. Click here to see an index to our Imus coverage. Over the course of a single week, Nobile reports, Imus frequently made offensive cracks about lots of groups including blacks, gays, and foreigners. Does this amount to a pattern? You decide:
Don Imus [host]
Bernard McGuirk [producer]
Patrick McEnroe [sports]
Lou Ruffino [engineer]
Charles McCord [newsman]
Pat O'Brien [host of "Access Hollywood"]
Bo Dietl [movie reviewer]
RIDICULE OF AFRICAN AMERICANS
Imus: What is the deal with Kobe Bryant? What's the deal with that hair? That is not happening.
McGuirk: My man, get a pick.
Imus: Come on.
McGuirk: He looks like he just stepped out of the project, yo.
Imus: God almighty. [laughter] Couple of guys from Pepperdine. Did you see those guys?
McGuirk: Those are some funky looking brothers, man. [laughter]
Imus: That was like an H. Rap Brown 1968. [laughter]
McGuirk: Buckwheat deal. [laughter]
McEnroe: The 76ers beat Toronto 106-93 as [Allen] Iverson scores 44 ...
Iverson [on tape]: ... You never know. I just feel that our team has so much heart, we can't just settle for less.
McGuirk: He goes to the Liberty Bell to buy some crack. [laughter]
Imus: That will be fine.
McGuirk [in "black" accent]: You never know. [laughter]
McCord: [reading news] ... Authorities say Mr. [H. Rap] Brown or El Amin fired several shots at officers in Alabama, but nobody was hurt, nor was he.
Imus: Hiding where now?
McCord: In a shed, down in a rural area there.
Imus: What was in the shed?
McGuirk: Wood? Pile of wood?
McCord: I don't know, in an equipment shed I would imagine.
Imus: What was in the shed? ... Wasn't in a woodpile, was he? [McGuirk and Imus were alluding to the offensive expression "nigger in a woodpile" defined in the Random House Dictionary as "a dubious or improbable element in a situation, esp. when regarded as probably harmful or undesirable."]
McCord: [reading news] Reverend Sharpton will receive a standard-issue orange jail jump suit. They'll give him a cup and a spoon. And he'll be escorted to jail by Martin Luther King, III, and the four black men involved in the New Jersey Turnpike police shooting episode that touched off all the protests and an investigation then into racial profiling on the part of New Jersey State Police.
Imus: He wants to be treated like ... he's not looking to check into the Four Seasons. ...
McGuirk: Better bring a butt plug. My brother. [in black accent]
Imus: Shut up. [laughter]
McGuirk: [in "black" accent] Spend some time.
Imus: We like Reverend Al. ... I like him. We don't want Reverend Al getting porked in the heinie in the pen.
McGuirk: He might like it. [laughter]
Imus: I don't think he will like it.
McGuirk: He could have paid the fine.
Imus: He has more of a point to make than gettin' porked in the poop chute. [laughter]
McGuirk: I'm suspicious.
Imus: Well ... suspicious.
McGuirk [imitating Sharpton]: I'm right here.
Imus: Shut up.
McGuirk [imitating Sharpton]: Watch me touch my toes.
[replay from 1999]
Imus: Good Morning, Cardinal O'Connor.
McGuirk [as Cardinal O'Connor in Irish brogue]: Good morning and God Bless. Bad year, Imus in the Morn' for brothers on the boob tube, black brothers, that is, Imus in the Morn'.
Imus: Right. [laughter]
McGuirk: Gregory Hines cancelled. Magic Johnson out. Brian scumball out. Pushed aside like old slaves by [unintelligible] TV executives, Imus in the Morn'. [laughter] We understand when Paramount informed Magic Johnson that they intended to ax his show, Magic replied, "You can ax us anything you want, [laughter] we ain't got nothing to hide.' [laughter] Speaking of Gregory Hines, Imus in the Morn', what bigot thought it was a good idea to put a show on TV about with a black man who tap dances all day long, bejesus? [laughter] No wonder they didn't have him shoplifting watermelons or something.
[cut from "Amos 'n' Andy"]
George: Sapphire, if you don't get your stupid brother out of here, I's goin' to kick him out myself.
Sapphire: Oh, quit complainin' 'bout Leroy. Why can't he stay here a while?
George: 'Cause this is our home.
Sapphire: Listen, George. Leroy and me has always been 'specially close to each other. Why he's part of me.
George: Well, when I kick Leroy out of the house, I hope your part don't get hurt, that's all I have to say.
RIDICULE OF FOREIGNERS
McCord: Chances that more survivors from the ferry disaster, the capsizing off the coast of Haiti are looking very slim at this point. Officials say overcrowding caused yesterday's catastrophe. Hundreds are feared dead and only fifty-one are believed to have survived.
Imus: I will be taking a golf lesson today, my first.
McGuirk: [laughter] Oh my god.
Ruffino: Oh no. No way.
McGuirk: You just can't go from 400 people dead...
Imus: All right, we're done. We're done with that...
McGuirk: [interrupting] You got to give a pause or something.
Ruffino: Take a breath.
McCord: Take a beat.
Ruffino: Please take a breath.
Voice imitating Richard Nixon: If your radio sounds funny in the morning, you're listening to Imus in the Morning.
McCord: [repeats news] Hundreds are feared dead and only fifty-one people are believed to have survived.
Imus: I will be taking a golf lesson. [extended laughter]
McGuirk: It's like you couldn't even wait for him to finish. [laughter]
McCord: It's even worse than that. [laughter]
Imus: That's horrible. Oh, Jesus God.
McGuirk [imitating Imus]: Enough about those dead Haitians Chuck. Shut up. [laughter]
Imus: That's horrible. [laughter] That's horrible.
McGuirk [imitating Imus]: I'm going kayaking this morning. [laughter] Hope that doesn't happen to me. [laughter]
Singing with theme music: Imus in the Morning, Sports Radio 66 WFAN.
McCord [reading news]: Here's Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee talking about his position on nuclear weapons.
Vajpayee: I have reiterated our commitment...
Imus: [interrupting] Give me a pack of cigarettes [sound of explosion, laughter] I'll have some Marlboros and some jerky...fruit punch or Gator Aid, okay?...
McCord: Good grief.
McGuirk: Take me to Third Avenues, Punjab.
Imus: That's exactly right.
Ruffino: [in Indian accent] [unintelligible]
Imus: 49th and Sixth and make it snappy. [laughter]
Imus: We're poised to support this bogus tennis [team] thing of yours.
McEnroe: That's hurtful. That's hurtful.
Imus: The new Hampton Homos or whatever. [laughter]
Imus: How about best actress?
O'Brien: I think that's going to be Annette Bening, although Hilary Swank, it's a very tight race. I know you like Jane McTeer, but I like Annette Bening or Hilary Swank.
Imus: Hilary Swank's the lesbo in Boys Don't Cry?
O'Brien: She's getting married to Chad Lowe.
Imus: Beard deal. [laughter]
O'Brien: What a nightmare.
Imus: It sounds like another one of these deals of his [i.e. Dietl's]. We'll hear about two weeks from now the guy suddenly is a fagatation situation...
Dietl: You don't do that with Russert. You listen to these fagaloons talking to you, 'O Donnie, Donnie, Donnie.'
[Manuel Noriega parody]
Voice imitating Noriega [in Spanish accent]: ... As I'm sure you heard I had a parole hearing recently and I may be getting back to my wife and mistress a little sooner than I had anticipated, that is, unless that maricon [Spanish slang for homosexual] George Bush has anything to say about it .... because that's what you are Georgie, a [bleep]ing maricon. ... You're trying to block my release because you fear I want to kill you. You're a fraidy scared little woman, you faggot. [played on consecutive days]
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 16 2000