Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’re all tired of hearing about Imus.
Look, we all pretty much agree that what he said was vile and disgusting. But he’s been saying vile, disgusting things for what seems like before radio was invented. We all know this wasn’t the first racist thing he’s said, not by a long shot.
Whether or not Imus should have been fired is a valid discussion, but there’s one thing that keeps cropping up and it bugs the living daylights out of me whenever I hear it.
“This is about free speech!”
No, it isn’t. Let me explain.
People who know me well know that I’m a pretty liberal guy. You’re most likely going to find me on the left side of the aisle on most issues. And certainly I’m all about free speech and have my complaints about civil liberties it seems we’re losing every day.
But Imus getting fired is not about free speech.
Imus had freedom of speech. He still does. He has the right to say whatever he wants. But his right to say whatever he wants is not a guarantee of a microphone, an audience, or a paycheck for saying it. NONE of us have that. But even now, Imus can stand out on the street corner and say all the racist, sexist things he wants to say.
And here’s another funny thing about freedom of speech: Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have the right to say Imus should be fired. They did. And MSNBC and CBS have the right to fire their employee. They did. Everyone got to exercise their rights.
This ain’t a free speech issue.