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Shock Jocks

June 1, 2007 • Volume 17, Issue 21
Should racist and misogynistic speech be regulated?
By Marcia Clemmitt

Introduction

Radio shock jock Don Imus was fired after making a racially offensive remark about the Rutgers University women's basketball team, setting off a nationwide discussion of what is appropriate language on the public airwaves. Radio shock jock Don Imus was fired after making a racially offensive remark about the Rutgers University women's basketball team, setting off a nationwide discussion of what is appropriate language on the public airwaves.

When Don Imus labeled the Rutgers University women's basketball team “nappy-headed hos” in April, it first looked to be just one more insult hurled in his long career. Imus was penalized initially with a two-week suspension. But when the incident appeared on the Internet site youtube.com, organizations ranging from the National Association of Black Journalists to the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters for America urged a tougher stance against racial stereotyping on public airwaves. Advertisers began pulling their sponsorship from Imus' show, and both networks that carried it — CBS Radio and MSNBC TV — fired him. The outcome was hailed by some as a long-needed response to an increasingly uncivil culture in which shock jocks, comedians, rappers and other media figures traffic in name-calling, racism and misogyny. However, other analysts say silencing Imus was unfair and could begin a purge of outspoken conservative radio hosts, including political commentators like Rush Limbaugh.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Racism and Hate
Nov. 22, 2013  Racial Profiling
May 08, 2009  Hate Groups
Jun. 01, 2007  Shock JocksUpdated
Jan. 07, 1994  Racial Tensions in Schools
Jan. 08, 1993  Hate Crimes
May 12, 1989  The Growing Danger of Hate Groups
Nov. 05, 1969  American History: Reappraisal and Revision
Mar. 31, 1965  Extremist Movements in Race and Politics
May 13, 1964  Racism in America
Dec. 03, 1958  Spread of Terrorism and Hatemongering
Jul. 10, 1946  Ku Klux Klan
Jan. 09, 1945  Race Equality
Dec. 19, 1933  Lynching and Kidnapping
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Radio and Television
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