One last thing about Imus- can we please stop the fauxtrage that certain columnist and political leaders are standing by Imus? Some of the people on the left-wing of the political debate are starting to sound like the paranoids at Red State with their media conspiracies. Some of the same people, I might note, who would have (admirably, in my opinion) defended ANYTHING their friend Amanda Marcotte said in order for her to keep her job with Edwards.
Of course they are standing by him. They have long-standing relationships, and they are friends. Imus may be a lot of things, but he was loyal to his friends. What you see/hear on the Imus show most certainly is not all there is to the man, and could go a long way to explain why decent men like Tom Oliphant are standing by Imus. And it is possible to stand by someone while still hating what they have said and done.
As the TNR notes (via Sully), it will be interesting to see how MoDo and Frank Rich react. Another one that will be interesting to watch is Mike Barnicle, who was, for the most part, thrown out of the “clique” for plagiarism a few years back and was wholly rehabilitated by Imus. He made Barnicle less nuclear. People remember that. People understand loyalty.
But I really do think it boils down to friendships and relationships as much or more than it does to Digby’s hypothesis about book sales. I listened to the show quite frequently (every morning, actually, up until about a year ago when I just stopped watching, for whatever reason). The guests and Imus generally liked each other- you could tell that they were friends, and yes, they were clubby.
I guess my whole point is that it is, I think, unfair to attack Oliphant, or David Gregory, or Tim Russert, or whoever, because they will defend a friend. I worked in probation for a while, and at every sentencing, people got up and said good things about the convicted. That doesn’t mean that the convicted is any less guilty, and it surely does not mean that those testifying on behalf of the convicted are awful sell-outs. It is just human nature to try to stand up for your friends.
*** Update ***
This is just a completely unfair attack on James Carville:
Here’s how James Carville defended Imus on CNN just now, saying that they’ve been friends since 1992. After spouting off for about thirty seconds of saying how he really thinks that Imus is genuinely sorry, he gave his real reason for defending Imus.
“I’m a believer that when a friend is in trouble, that’s when you run to their aid.”
And then Carville talked about how Imus has raised lots of money for charity. The other guy, the Republican strategist, actually did some analysis about whether candidates should go on and how Imus relates to cultural conservatives.
It’s striking how Carville’s move to stardom in 1992 colors his whole world. James Carville is no longer a Democratic strategist or analyst, he’s just an insider celebrity.
Look, I was a Clinton hater during the 90’s, and by extension, a Carville hater. I detested him. I thought he was a liar, an opportunist, a hack, and would say and do anything. I felt there was nothing Clinton would do or say that Carville would not excuse. Until I heard Carville speak at my school.
Carville and his wife came to speak one night, and one of the questioners asked Carville how he could sleep with himself defending Clinton even after Clinton admitted to lying to him about Lewinsky and other issues. Carville’s answer was simple:
Clinton gave Carville a shot, and stood by him through thick and thin. Carville, a Marine, did the same, even when he knew his friend was in the wrong. Now we can get into an deep (well, probably not) debate about the magnitude of sins committed by Clinton v. Bush v. Imus, or for the relative merits of being loyal when you know someone is doing wrong (make no mistake, the loyalty used to cover up the disasters in this administration has wreaked unparalleled messes on this nation that will take a long time to fix), but I respect Carville for his loyalty.
Sorry, but I do. Imus has been a friend to him, Carville thinks he knows Imus beyond what is portrayed on the screen and on the radio (and, indeed probably does), and I can respect that. You don’t have to agree with it, but smearing Carville for being loyal to a friend seems beyond the pale. Imus is going to get what is coming to him- lashing out at people for defending their friends seems pointless and unfair.
And believe it or not, I do understand what many are upset about- friendship and loyalty does seem to have replaced honesty and integrity in the media. But I simply can’t attack people for being loyal to their friends.