By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The Mike and Don show

Mike, how can we miss you if you won’t go away?

Yesterday, Herald columnist Howie Carr wrote that former Globe columnist and current Herald contributor Mike Barnicle — identified only as “a local columnist … who … had just been forced to quit his paper for writing ‘fables'” — had once conveyed an insult to Don Imus that Carr claims he’d never uttered. That allegedly provoked an outburst by Imus against Carr’s wife that Carr claims led to an out-of-court settlement.

Today, Globe columnist Joan Vennochi alludes to Barnicle — or maybe it’s Doris Kearns Goodwin (or both) — in writing about why Imus’ well-connected friends are sticking by him following his “nappy-headed hos” characterization of the Rutgers women’s basketball team: “No one wants to give up the air time or book plugs, no matter what Imus says on the air. He forgives them their transgressions, be it plagiarism or drunken moments caught on tape, and they forgive him his.”

Just to be clear, Barnicle’s transgression was plagiarism, not drunkenness.

Meanwhile, the Herald’s Jesse Noyes and Jessica Heslam report today that Imus doesn’t have to worry about being Wally Pipp to someone else’s Lou Gehrig during his two-week suspension: He’ll be replaced by, yes, Mike Barnicle. Noyes and Heslam helpfully note that Barnicle himself once called former secretary of defense Bill Cohen, who’s white, “Mandingo” — a charming reference to the fact that Cohen’s wife, Janet Langhart, is black.

Finally, the siege continues. As you no doubt already know, MSNBC pulled the plug on Imus yesterday. Will he be able to keep his CBS Radio show? We’ll find out soon enough.

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What goes around


Welch takes no for an answer


  1. Rick in Duxbury

    Someone in a blog yesterday said that Imus had done the impossible, gotten people to resent kids with cancer. Over the top, no question. That said, why do I suddenly feel sympathy for Imus, despite his despicable (and yawn inducing) track record? What are the odds of Mike Nifong being pursued by the same pack of media jackals? Is Nifong innoculated by his theoretical intent? When Al Sharpton pays his Tawana Brawley judgements, I will listen to his pontificating on “l’affair Imus”. Until then, perhaps a little empathy is in order. The Rutgers team could have been OUR daughters. The Duke team could have been OUR sons. I know how I would feel in either case and it ain’t good.

  2. Peter Porcupine

    Dan – to take Rick’s comment one step further – I await your commentary on the double standard in the media between Liberals and Conservatives.Imus is a liberal; ergo, Russert, Carville, et al continue to associate with and protect him. Limbaugh is a conservative; ergo, he must be driven from the airwaves when he admits a drug problem.I won’t even get IN to ‘macaca’ and other poorly chosen and crass words, except to observe that a single slip of the tongue is a career ender for a Republican, while sex acts in the Oval Office are…well, we’re all still WAITING for his career to end, aren’t we?

  3. Leslie

    Some general Imus story comments: 1. I’m troubled by the apparent indiscriminate mixing and interchanging of the ideas of legal right of utterance and of what is tolerable and acceptable within our society or the type of society good people strive to create. (e.g. Sharpton is being quoted as wanting to open a larger dialogue about “… what is permitted and not permitted on the airwaves…” Permitted? What is that?) As it all unfolds, it seems we can’t escape the reality that ultimately “the” community determines what will play and what the (airwaves) traffic will bear. Here, of course, there are many, many communities: the various listening audience communities, the multiple black caucus/civil rights org. communities, the media critic communities, the heavy-hitting advertising community and many more. I’m ok as long as there is dialogue and as long as we keep straight what is taste and what is legal freedom of speech. 2. When my son was 3, I gave him a little cassette player/recorder. He used to record himself saying “poop” and then play it back over and over to his own merriment. It seems to me that Imus has never developed much beyond that level of self-display, taste and amusement. It was cute in a 3 year-old, it’s not cute in Imus. 3. If all the noise and craziness of the coverage serves to make 10 accomplished young American women hear a message that is louder than that slime dog’s creepy and probably pathological insult– we are proud of you and we wish we could protect you from hurt– then the fuss is more than worthwhile for that reason alone. Leslie

  4. Dan Kennedy

    PP: Here’s your double standard:– There was enormous pressure to get rid of Rush.– There is enormous pressure to get rid of Imus.– Rush survived.– Imus will probably survive.Next question?

  5. Anonymous

    Talk about twisting yourself into a pretzel to make yet another empty, bleeting media bias argument — what a laugh. Since when is Imus liberal? He carries a gun, wants illegals deported pronto, killed clinton for two years on lewisnki and gave cubic acres of hot air space to the rightist b.s. artists who sold us the saddam war. I could go on. In any event, Imus is the one getting punished here. The double-standard is that the rightists basically always escape sanction. PP’s silliness is another reason why rightists are becoming such a marginalized group.

  6. A.J. Cordi

    Will he be able to keep the radio show? I hoe not!Should he be allowed to keep the show? Absolutely not!Neither Don Imus or Bernard McGuirk deserve the priviledge of being on the radio anymore. They’ve long overstayed their welcome and should be canned once and for all.

  7. Anonymous

    Freudian slip, AJ?

  8. Don

    leslie’s “poop” story puts me in mind of the words of one of my pediatricians. When my wife complained that the baby was playing with her poop, smearing it about, the doctor said, “Give her a couple slices of bread and let her make a sandwich.”Let’s all buy some sourdough for Imus.

  9. Rick in Duxbury

    OK, now Les Moonves has fired Imus. Does this mean we now have to consider CBS’s Julie Chen, his girlfriend, a “journalist”? Positively Orwellian.

  10. Steve

    Well, I suppose the data is in on the double standard.Rush survives.Savage survives.Imus is canned.

  11. Anonymous

    Peter Porcupine – Imus is liberal. I must be a Socialist, then.Rachel

  12. raccoonradio

    >>Rush survives.Savage survives.Imus is canned.They have a lot more listeners than Imus did and there was no effort to do an advertiser boycott. And actually Savage didn’t survive:MSNBC bounced him from his TV show after the comment about gays.

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