If there really was a backlash, it didn’t come in time. He’s done. Standby for updates.
Update: The reasoning:
“There has been much discussion of the effect language like this has on our young people, particularly young women of color trying to make their way in this society,” CBS President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves said in announcing the decision. “That consideration has weighed most heavily on our minds as we made our decision.”
That’s a lie, of course. If that consideration had weighed most heavily, they would have fired him straightaway instead of suspending him for two weeks. They fired him for fear of the escalating financial consequences, not because they care one way or another about “language like this.” If you believe Moonves, you also believe the Times embargoed the Mohammed cartoons but not the elephant-dung Virgin Mary because they rilly, rilly care about religious sensitivity.
Update: Here’s CBS’s own report on it. He’s gone as of right now, today, even though he’s in the middle of a two-day charity radiothon. They’ve even got him talking in ludicrous Terry-Moran-esque exaggerations:
“There’s a difference between premeditated murder and the gun going off,” but the end result is the same, he said: “Somebody’s still dead.”
Well, if nothing else, this should make the boss’s guest stint on O’Reilly tonight an interesting one.
Update: I can’t wait for the inevitable polls about this. I bet you’ll see support among blacks and whites for the suspension and then a rather striking split when it comes to termination.
Update: Moonves met with two racial demagogues this morning to help him make up his mind. Looks like it “clarified” things.
Update: It bears repeating that Imus has a long history of remarks like this, a point which the think tank on “The View” treats as a mitigating factor. If he’s been saying it all along, the logic goes, why fault him for it now? Answer: Because people are complaining now, which brings us back to the first update and Les Moonves’s deep, abiding respect for the feelings of black women.
Update: They’re “changing the culture”:
One thing is for certain: This is about a lot more than Imus. As has been widely pointed out, Imus has been visited by Presidents, Senators, important authors and journalists from across the political spectrum. He has flourished in a culture that permits a certain level of objectionable expression that hurts and demeans a wide range of people. In taking him off the air, I believe we take an important and necessary step not just in solving a unique problem, but in changing that culture, which extends far beyond the walls of our Company.