Sorry Excuses: MSNBC's Form Apology

I don't think, therefore I-Man: Don Imus, left, with wrestler Hulk Hogan in 1998. Imus kept up his
I don't think, therefore I-Man: Don Imus, left, with wrestler Hulk Hogan in 1998. Imus kept up his "shock jock" reputation with a slur against the Rutgers women's basketball team. (By John Bazemore -- Associated Press)

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By Lisa de Moraes
Saturday, April 7, 2007

Two days after Don Imus and a producer of his nationally syndicated talk show were heard on MSNBC making a slur against the Rutgers women's basketball team and one day after Imus suggested people should relax and not worry about "some idiot comment meant to be amusing," Imus discovered he was in fact very sorry for the remark and issued an on-air apology.

MSNBC, meanwhile, continued to say in a statement it wanted folks to know that "while simulcast by MSNBC, 'Imus in the Morning' is not a production of the cable network and is produced by WFAN Radio." MSNBC also wanted to make sure you know that "as Imus makes clear every day, his views are not those of MSNBC," adding, finally: "We regret that his remarks were aired on MSNBC and apologize for these offensive comments."

On Wednesday's show, simulcast on MSNBC, Imus talked with producer Bernard McGuirk about the NCAA title game between Rutgers and Tennessee.

"That's some rough girls from Rutgers," Imus said. "Man, they got tattoos . . ."

"Some hard-core hos," McGuirk chimed in.

"That's some nappy-headed hos there, I'm going to tell you that," Imus said.

Early in his program yesterday, Imus told listeners: "We want to take a moment to apologize for an insensitive and ill-conceived remark we made the other morning regarding the Rutgers women's basketball team.

"It was completely inappropriate, and we can understand why people were offended. Our characterization was thoughtless and stupid and we are sorry."

His comments yesterday were in marked contrast to the remark he made on his show Thursday that the previous day's radio broadcast was "some idiot comment meant to be amusing" and not to get worked up about. That statement was picked up by various news outlets.

Blasting Imus, the NCAA and Rutgers University said in a statement that they "are offended by the insults on MSNBC's Don Imus program toward the 10 young women on the Rutgers basketball team.

"It is unconscionable that anyone would use the airways to utter such disregard for the dignity of human beings who have accomplished much and deserve great credit."

This is not the first time MSNBC has had to apologize for comments made by Imus on its air, not by a mile. Which explains why various organizations were pretty dismissive of yesterday's apologies.


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