As if the current Imus flap were not bad enough, today Michael Savage (one of the ugliest mouths in talk radio) attempted to do him one better.
Imus, as I'm sure you know already, is in a lot of hot water after he used the word, 'ho' to refer to African American female basketball players from Rutgers University. The word is a contraction of the word, 'whore' and is one of the most derogatory terms that can be used in describing an African-American woman, seething both racism and sexism in the extreme.
While Imus certainly deserves to be taken off the air for his remarks and replaced by someone who knows enough to not use the term, he at least has the excuse that it was not premeditated, as he and his sidekick (who used the word first) spontaneously launched into their racist rant.
But tonight Michael Savage invented a really stupid rap song which used the word 'ho' in a context in which he suggested violence against women and the ghetto. He created it in a premeditated manner and then repeated it several times on his show.
If Imus must go (and he should) then how much more should Savage go? On top of that, Savage defended his 'song' by claiming that he is covered because (he claims) Al Sharpton never complains about rap music. I'm not sure how that would excuse him if it were true, but in fact it is not true at all.
That is in fact a bald faced, out and out lie. Al Sharpton has talked about the need to 'clean up the music,' (including, as I blogged at the time, at James Brown's funeral, in front of everyone who had anything to do with the black entertainment industry.)
In other words, Savage (and Rush, and a host of other right wing talk show hosts) never listen to what Al Sharpton actually says, so they put words into his mouth (or in this case fail to put them there) to fit the caricature of Rev. Sharpton that they have created in their minds. This would be a matter of some disturbed ramblings except that these guys get listened to every day by millions of (almost all white, conservative) Americans, so they undoubtedly now also believe that Al Sharpton never says anything about rap music (and hence they undercut his credibility by the crassest means possible-- the big lie.)
Michael Savage, who is a well known racist and homophobe, today stepped way over the line and he deserves to be canned. He says he is protected by 'free speech.' No, free speech protects him (and me, and you) from criminal prosecution for what he is saying. It does not protect his show, his job or his sponsors, anymore than the same could be said about Don Imus.
And the worst part is that it is really so unnecessary. Why do right wing shock jocks feel the need to use words that demean or insult entire ethnic/ gender or other groups? How would not using these words dilute their message? If they want to talk about African-American women then they can say, 'African-American women.' They could even personally insult someone, by calling them a 'blithering idiot' or whatever else they wanted to call that person. But terms like, 'ho' are meant to apply to a group of people, and to dehumanize all of them.
And so there should be no place for it on the airwaves.