The language in the CBS Radio announcement was interesting: "Due to the events of the past week, CBS Radio will suspend Don Imus and the broadcast of his show for a period of two weeks, effective Monday, April 16." Due to the events of the past week. You'll remember that Imus made his remarks last Wednesday; he apologized Friday, and likely hoped the controversy would die down over the weekend.
Instead, just the opposite happened – as Rachel Sklar points out, "the story continued to percolate," with a number of media outlets covering it over the weekend. Imus made one last effort at face saving with a visit to Al Sharpton's radio show, but he was unable to win Sharpton over or sway public opinion. And then, finally: Suspension. "Events of the past week" indeed.
One thing that has struck me about coverage of the Imus affair is the fact that media outlets, including the "Evening News," have had no problem repeating what Imus said. I'm all for that – his words are a central part of the story, and simply writing that Imus made derogatory remarks, without specifying what they were, doesn't give news consumers all the information.
But there does seem to be a double standard here: Remember the Danish cartoon controversy? Most US media outlets, including CBS News, declined to show the cartoons, despite the fact that they too were central to the story. "We could explain it, so we didn't need to show it," Linda Mason, CBS News senior vice president, standards and special projects, told us at the time. "Any rendering of Muhammad is an insult to Muslims, and desecration is even worse."
But "nappy headed hos" is an insult as well. So why allow that particular insult on the air but not the other?