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Don Imus: Another manufactured crisis

By Scott Tibbs, April 10, 2007

We have another manufactured crisis on our hands. Notorious race-baiters Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are up in arms because shock jock Don Imus used a racially-charged term for some black college basketball players.

Is it really surprising that a shock jock would use this kind of language? Doesn't Imus make his living by offending people? Isn't that part of his appeal? Should we now expect South Park to tone down the cursing on the show and stop using Jesus as a recurring character?

What is annoying about this story is the lack of sincerity all the way around. Imus is not sorry for what he said; he is upset that it brought more heat than usual and now threatens him economically. If Imus was concerned about offending people, he would not be a shock jock in the first place. His insincere groveling is more offensive than what he said in the first place.

Jackson and Sharpton, meanwhile, could not care less about the offense Imus caused. They are simply using this to get some free time in front of the news cameras. Sharpton managed to get some (completely undeserved) credibility when he ran for President three years ago, as well as some influence in the Democrat Party.

Why is it that every time there is a racially-charged incident, the mainstream media immediately runs to Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson as if they speak for all black people in America? What have they done to deserve such status? What makes Sharpton and Jackson more qualified to speak on such matters than Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams?

Sharpton is demanding that Imus be "fired" for his remarks. Whether it is appropriate for radio stations to continue to carry his program is something that reasonable people can debate. What is not reasonable, however, is Sharpton's stated intent to whine and cry to the FCC. Censorship by the federal government is not the answer to offensive commentary by shock jocks. Sharpton has proven himself to be an enemy of the First Amendment and an enemy of America.

What Jackson and Sharpton are doing here is far worse than what Imus said. They are once again intentionally trying to inflame racial tensions to score some cheap political points. Jackson and Sharpton do not want racism to go away, because they thrive on it. If through divine intervention racism disappeared tomorrow, Jackson and Sharpton would be irrelevant. That is the lesson to learn from this non-story.