All part of his pre-comeback image makeover. Willingly pandering to racial demagogues does his reputation for telling it like it is no favors, so now, conveniently, “sources” have come forward to insist he did it unwillingly. Whatevs.
More surprisingly, though, is news about why Imus suddenly turned up on the Rev. Al Sharpton’s radio show so quickly after his firing — and did a lot of press that some feel harmed him and fed the controversy. Some feel those media appearances led to his dismissal.
Now I’m told Imus was coaxed into doing them by NBC senior vice president Phil Griffin. Imus, sources say, wanted to just apologize to the Rutgers women’s basketball team he offended and leave it at that. In fact, they say, he apologized to the team several times for his derogatory remarks.
But Griffin, sources close to the action insist, pushed him into high-profile interviews on the “Today” show and elsewhere. Griffin, they say, threatened Imus with canceling his MSNBC TV simulcast if he didn’t do the big interviews. The result was that he fueled the fire instead of putting it out.
“He didn’t care about Imus,” says a source, “only NBC. He told Don he would lose the MSNBC show if he didn’t do the interviews. And then NBC canceled the show anyway.”
Not sure who’s responsible for this.