Non-news and cheap shots
A shock jock saying offensive things is not news. It happens every day. Rush Limbaugh & Co. regularly say racist, misogynistic crap in the name of entertainment and listeners eat it up. However, the Imus comments still piss me off. When pundits go after targets with cheap, insulting comments, almost always the targets are 1) celebrities, 2) politicians 3) people who do stuff so stupid that they should expect it. Now these people put themselves in the spotlight, they have some expectation that their actions will be commented upon and given the craptastic nature of "news" personalities, they should not be surprised at horribly offensive insults. This doesn't make the insults right, it doesn't make them excusable, it makes them expected and the target has at least some preparation to them.
Imus, however, went after college students who never intended to be in the news in such a manner. They played college basketball, had a great season that now, thanks to Imus, will be just an afterthought. Instead of celebrating their season, these girls now have to be thrust into the media spotlight and all the circus that is the newstainment industry. Instead of worrying about classes, papers and finals, they have to defend themselves against ignorant crap that is repeated on every "news" channel. Imus forced these girls into this position for no reason other than his own ignorance and that is why his actions are so deplorable. I don't know if he is a racist/sexist or a good person, but his actions were racist and sexist and they were not the actions of a good person, and this isn't the first time he's used such comments. Shock-talk is big business, it won't go away and people like Ann Coulter and Glen Beck* will still have plenty of rabid fans waiting for them to call people nasty things. But a line needs to be drawn, at least, to keep them away from non-public figures. Although racist/sexist/homophobic/ethnic/etc. slurs are never acceptable, there unfortunately is a market for them and until that market is sufficiently marginalised, such talk will continue to be in the public airways. The players at Rutgers should be remembered for their season, unfortunately, they'll be remembered for being insulted and that is what is newsworthy and cannot be allowed to stand.
*Glen Beck did call victims of Katrina, "scumbags" which is equally messed up, but either we've gotten used to/expect those on the right to be giant assholes or we give a pass to those on the right for some odd reason, either way those on the right should not be excused either.
** The right loves to trot out the examples of rappers using such language and no, its not ok for a rapper to call a woman those names, but it is curious that the right only talks about rappers using nasty language when a white, priviledged male is being accused of those same comments. Same as how they only show concern for minority violence when a white male is being accused of violence against a minority.