Saturday, April 7, 2007

I listen to Imus like I used to read Playboy. Playboy? Oh yeah, I get it, but for the articles, man! That's what I said back when I " read " Playboy.

Donna wonders: " How can you listen to him? " And I say, have said: " I listen because I like the interviews. "

The interviews. With people like Frank Rich, Chris Dodd, Andrea Mitchell,Chris Matthews, Jack Jacobs, Joe Biden, John McCain, Anna Quindlen, Dana Priest, Tim Russert...

People like that.

Yesterday morning Imus apologized for remarks made on his show this week. His sidekick Bernard McGuirk called the women on the Rutgers basketball " Hardcore ho's. " Imus responded by calling the young women " Nappy headed ho's. "

Listening to Imus in the Morning on WFAN has been a guilty pleasure for me for the past few years. It's part of my morning ritual. First thing I do when I wake up around 6 a.m. is turn on the radio. Push the button for the pre-selected station: 660 on the AM dial. WFAN.

I'm thinking about changing my morning ritual. Imus went over the line. That's the sorry excuse you'll be hearing. But truth be told, he's gone over the line again and again. There is, and has been an underlying racism there on the show. I've become inured to it. Just Imus being Imus I say to myself. Just Bernard being Bernard. And, after all, ther super ego, Charles McCord's there to scold them.

Even Imus at times plays that role. Bernard will say something that's over that line. Imus will say, " That'll be fine. " And another, more civil path is gone down. Until the next line is crossed.

I'm wondering: How will the line-up of usual suspects, the regular guests on the show, react to this latest tempest in the talk radio teacup? Chris Dodd for example. Dodd's running for president. Will he want to be associated with a man who calls black female athletes " Ho's? "

Joe Biden and John McCain are running for president. Will they think twice now before throwing their voices into Imus's three ring circus?

Former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley was on the Imus show last week. Promoting his new book. Rutgers is a New Jersey school. What are his thoughts about making a return appearance?

And the liberal Frank Rich? Will he forgive Imus for this latest sin? And Andrea Mitchell and Anna Quindlen. What do these women think and what will they do when the producer of the show gives them a call and asks, " Do you want to come on, next Tuesday? "

" That'll be fine, " doesn't work anymore. At least for me. It's not fine what Imus and Bernard said about the young women who play basketball for Rutgers University. They can say they didn't really mean it, which they probably will do. But given what they've been saying for years, I can't really believe them today.

Some are calling for Imus to be fired. I don't agree with that opinion. He's on the radio. WFAN. 660 on the AM dial.

That's a line you can lock in on, or cross. At the end of the day - and in the beginning as well - it's your call.

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