Submitted by Jeff Buster on Wed, 04/18/2007 - 15:02.

Don Imus and Jackie Robinson – looked at through the lens of our  economy.


60 years and economic considerations still make the race card call. Money can be made with trash or talent in the USA.  Imus was just tagged out running the usual bases while Mr. Robinson made it safely to home plate.

Racism, ethnic disparagement and cultural mockery are the main ingredients of several well paid professions in our economy.  Imus took a salary of $10 million a year for spewing asinine garbage on air.  People with money to spend will consume an hour of time each day to listen.  Day after day, and the listeners buy the products advertised.  One person talking, an audience of millions of people listening  - and paying to listen (they are  paying through their purchase of advertised products). Where is the real core of the trash dump?  In the station studio or in Everytown, USA?    Imus is not the real problem.  The businesses’ that hire and pay him are not the real problem.  Listeners are the real problem because it is the listener’s money which perpetuates the “free speech” from the sewer breath station.


The fact that Imus LISTENERS are the culpable and responsible party has been entirely unmentioned over the last few weeks.  We hear about the NBC station and the station’s advertisers as being the referees who are responsible for the content of the station.  That’s whitewash.  NBC and the advertisers are just the pimps who serve up the trash diet that the listeners find tasty. It is the listeners who tune in their dial and pay to eat daily a intellectually worthless stinking garbage laced radio-meal. 


It took the advertisers a few days to let the ratings numbers settle around Imus .  When the numbers pointed to economic damage for the advertisers – and consequently the NBC station – each business got religion and dumped Imus. Corporate hypocrisy at its most blatant.  While the money was flowing in from the sorry public audience, NBC and the advertisers were unable to discern Imus’ radical absence of intellectual hygiene – they couldn’t see that Imus is a hate monger.  But when it appeared that the risk of the money stream choking off was becoming too great, NBC and their advertisers chose to be politically correct and send Imus to the refuse heap.


On the other hand, Money to be made on Mr Robinson’s talent also tipped the balance for the Dodger’s management.  The Dodgers hired Mr. Robinson.  Maybe a little affirmative activism too, but mainly the money for the club owners read more .  No. I don’t think it was just idealism that led to the breakdown of the white only rule in baseball.  It was the same Risk vs Reward scenario followed by NBC and the NBC advertisers.    It would be interesting to be able to demonstrate if the Dodgers business organization had had discussions with the Dodger advertisers - before they hired Mr. Robinson – to determine if the advertisers would pull their advertising revenue from the Dodgers should Mr. Robinson be hired. Was there a study to determine if gate receipts would go up or down if and when Mr. Robinson came on deck?.  Gate receipts were the big income back then, not TV ads.


Business is business, and I will bet that the one constant in the last 60 years is that businesses don’t have morals.  Businesses don’t have idealism and democratic virtues   At the same time though, businesses aren’t necessarily racist, or ethnically or culturally prejudiced either.  But businesses are allowed to vote – well, not exactly.  What businesses are allowed to do is spend millions lobbying - which buys votes.  Businesses therefore become in essence voting citizens with no ethics or morals.    That part of the brain is missing for Corporations.   It is missing for NBC and NBC’s advertisers, and it was most likely missing from the Dodgers 60 years ago. 


So in many ways Mr. Robinson’s hiring was Imus’s firing in reverse.  And us listeners and viewers plod along with our eyes and ears open to all this corporate radio and TV spew without much discretion – while our humanity loses the value to be found on the other roads not taken…


Robinson and Imus images courtesy of USPS and

Imus-and-Robinson.jpg87.97 KB
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