Of course not. But it can sometimes serve as a convenient weapon to play to an audience's racism, when the values of justice raised by the target of one's attack challenge at a fundamental level one's sense of self-worth.
Instead of acknowledgeing that Congresswoman McKinney raised prescient questions about the high crimes of the nations top elected officials, that she delivered Federal tax dollars to address some of the urgent needs in her district, that the wars she opposed had lost whatever public support it may have at one time enjoyed; a local radio talk show host was left with nothing but to make fun of the Congresswoman's new hair style and to impunge her morals.
With the recent firing of Don Imus over his inflammatory remarks about a woman's ball team, the remarks which Neil Boortz made about Congresswoman McKinney have become the subject of frequent comment in recent news articles and blogs.
Consider this supporters' site on the subject.
by George E. Curry
April 19, 2007
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With that record, it seems that if anyone would have been called a ho - and I am not saying she should have been described as such - it would have been Anna Nicole Smith, whose photo was used on the cover of a New York magazine issue titled "White Trash Nation." Society has a double-standard when it comes to labels. Men who sleep around are described as spreading their oats. But women who do the same thing are called sluts and hos. Let's not forget that the Rutgers women are not the only women who have been grossly maligned.
After Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) had a run-in with Capitol Hill police, conservative talk show host Neal Boortz said on a Match 31, 2006 broadcast, "She looks like a ghetto slut." Referring to McKinney's hair, he said, "It looks like an explosion in a Brillo pad factory." At another point, he said, "She looks like Tina Turner peeing on an electric fence."
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Rather than addressing these issues, supporters of Don Imus have resorted to attacking Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. We should not be confused by clever effort to switch the focus of this debate. Pat Buchanan calls the firing, "The Imus Lynch Party" and Rush Limbaugh proclaims that "minorities never do anything for which they have to apologize." Buchanan forgets who were the real lynching victims in America and I could write a separate column chronicling the numerous instances of African-Americans making public apologies.
Let's stick to the point: Talk radio is dominated by right-wingers who enjoy hurling racist and sexist barbs. They should follow Imus out of the door.
The April 12 Journal-Constution contained an editorial denouncing Imus and calling for him to get the boot. Imus and his producer "ought to be fired," harrumphed the editorial, penned by Maureen Downey.
The editorial chastised CBS for syndicating Imus, Atlanta station WFOM-AM for airing him and MSNBC for broadcasting his morning television program.
But, hmmm, something seemed to be missing from the editorial. Oh, yes, the fact that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's sister stations in Atlanta - ABC-affiliated WSB-TV and WSB-AM - are competitors to CBS, WFOM and MSNBC. Acknowledging that Cox has a stake in slamming its competition would be what we in this business call "journalism ethics," something that's apparently in short supply at the Atlanta newspaper.
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I think it's just dandy that Cox is calling for the ouster of broadcast personalities who spout racism. The hypocrites at Cox should first get the log out of their own eye before pointing to the mote in another broadcaster's eye.
WASHINGTON -- Now that radio talk-show host Don Imus has been banished, it's time to clean up the rest of talk radio, says a partisan media watchdog group headed by David Brock.
Next in the crosshairs for alleged expressions of "bigotry and hate speech targeting, among other characteristics, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and ethnicity" are, according to Media Matters for America, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Neal Boortz, John Gibson and Michael Smerconish.
In a 6,000-word report, Media Matters documents what it perceives as the case against the talk-radio hosts.
Syndicated radio host Neal Boortz faced the following indictment:
On July 19, Boortz claimed that "at its core," Islam is a "violent, violent religion," and said, "[T]his Muhammad guy is just a phony rag-picker." Boortz asserted that "[i]t is perfectly legitimate, perhaps even praiseworthy, to recognize Islam as a religion of vicious, violent, bloodthirsty cretins."
On March 31, 2006, then-Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-GA, "looks like a ghetto slut." He was commenting on a March 29 incident in which McKinney allegedly struck a police officer at a Capitol Hill security checkpoint. Boortz said that McKinney's "new hair-do" makes her look "like a ghetto slut," like "an explosion at a Brillo pad factory," like "Tina Turner peeing on an electric fence," and like "a shih tzu."
On March 27, 2006, Boortz suggested the U.S. government should "store 11 million Hispanics" who entered the country illegally in the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans before deporting them to their home countries.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Corporate decisions to cancel Don Imus' U.S. radio and cable television shows have some commentators wondering what may happen to other media personalities who have also pushed the bounds of civility.
CBS Corp. canceled Imus' morning radio program on Thursday, a day after MSNBC pulled its simultaneous cable TV broadcast over comments Imus made about a women's college basketball team.
But Imus was not alone in offending minorities when he said the Rutgers University team looked like "nappy headed hos," a phrase widely condemned as racist and sexist.
Nationally syndicated U.S. radio host Neal Boortz last year said a black congresswoman who has since failed in a bid for re-election, Cynthia McKinney, "looks like a ghetto slut."
He lost his TV gig. But there will also be at least a two-week suspension on radio. Don Imus's replacement during that time has yet to be named but my guess will be in line with a no-risk, good-natured person who has never truly offended anyone.
I say we look no further that Radio's top talk show hosts. To those who have never ventured into the need-to-be-made-an-example-of territory because they know better to joke about minorities.
What about Neal Boortz? When he said former Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) "looks like a ghetto slut," he was only talking about one black woman, not an entire team.
Philip G. Smith, a Dekalb County Georgia resident and constituent of the 4th Congressional District wrote in an open letter to Paula Zahn at CNN News: "The other evening, while discussing the remarks of talk show host Don Imus, you mentioned that an Atlanta based talk show host, Neal Boortz, had made similar comments about Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. My wife and I live in Georgia's 4th Congressional District, and we are grateful that someone finally put Boortz's comments in a negative light." Follow the link for the complete text of his letter and a photo of the hair style that set off Boortz.