Imus and Free Speech

We’re hearing plenty of people who are concerned that these Don Imus firings from MSNBC and later by CBS Radio are gross interferences in free speech rights. Are they?

I’m on the fence on this one so far… I mean, Imus said what he said, but was not the backlash also free speech? As much as I think Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are bottom-feeding race baiting hornets nest kickers, they do have a right to spout their bloated tripe — nobody has to listen though (somebody needs to tell the media that).

Through the Imus comments, to the backlash and protests, to the firings, no government entity forced advertisers to pull their ads, and no government agency forced the firing of Imus.

Consider the workplaces of most Americans. There really is no “free speech” when you’re under somebody else’s umbrella. If you say something “inappropriate” or whatever at any place of employment, you’re subject to sacking, rightly or wrongly. It’s not always “fair,” but if it’s “fair” we want, we can go to a country where everybody is equally miserable.

Had Imus’ firings been “forced” by the government, I’d be concerned beyond belief. But that’s not how it happened. This wasn’t government censorship so we shouldn’t act like it was.

Besides, we can do the same thing Al and Jesse did, but in the opposite direction. Freedom of speech is a two-way street, but too often we forget that the other lane exists. If we’re angered at the likes of Jackson and Sharpton seemingly having so many media and advertiser executives by the short hairs, and tired of hearing those people respond “how high” every time Jesse or Al says “jump,” the rest of us do have recourse.

We can also exercise our free speech by, say, writing to GM and telling them we’ll never buy their products as long as they keep bending over for the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. One free speech deserves another. We’d better do it quickly too, because the success of the campaign against Imus will embolden the poverty pimps to try to get others off the air using the same tactics.

As a side note, will Imus get a piece of the action from all the merchandise that’s popping up for sale?:


Probably not. I’ll bet Jesse and Al will get a cut though.

Author: Doug Powers

Doug Powers is a writer, editor and commentator covering news of the day from a conservative viewpoint with an occasional shot of irreverence and a chaser of snark. Townhall Media writer/editor. alum. Bowling novice. Long-suffering Detroit Lions fan. Contact: