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.