Saturday, April 14, 2007

Hucabee and Imus

I'm more concerned about a presidential candidate, Huckabee, defending Imus than what Imus actually did. Imus was hired as a shock jock. It's his job to straddle the line between offensive and pertinent and offensive and degrading. What he said was about the Rutgers team was inappropriate and insulting. Imus has crossed that line more than once and with any job he gets will probably do the same.

Firing him because he's done too much is also appropriate. Imus has the right to say what he wants, but he doesn't have the right to get paid to say exactly what he wants. Certainly Rosie O'Donnell has taken heat for some of her statements and rightly so. Certainly Bill Maher has taken heat and lost his job for some of the things he's said. And that is part and parcel of the marketplace.

All of the people that Huckabee mentioned are in the business of giving their opinions. And there are a lot of other people doing the same thing. Some are pundits, some are humorists, some are talk show hosts, and I could name more professions. Part of the bane and boon of having free speech is that other people are allowed to call you on what you've said - and their allowed to do that even if they're completely wrong in doing so and have completely misunderstand your point.

But when you're hired to give your opinion part of the chance you take is that you will do more than what those who hire you intend or can stomach and then you lose your job. That's not always fair, but it is part of the marketplace. Huckabee doesn't seem to understand the difference between being able to speak your mind and being paid to speak your mind. And that's his loss

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