Imus Spoke Freely

I was a guest yesterday on Media Talk, a global webcast program produced by Tampa Digital Studios, 6-7 p.m. Thursdays at During the opening segment, co-host Rob Tiisler made a crack about Don Imus. Sidekick Frank Walters, Tampa Digital’s director of post-production who does a trivia segment on the show, chimed in, “Gotta be careful these days. White people can’t, y’know, don’t have freedom of speech anymore…”


Walters is not the only person who has suggested that Imus’ freedom of speech was somehow stifled. Some pundits have suggested as much.

They are flat-out wrong (in my humble opinion, of course).

The Imus imbroglio was a classic example of freedom of speech at work. It’s simple: Imus said a dumb, insensitive thing, exercising his freedom of speech. Pundits and the public lashed back, and built a perfect storm of protest calling for his ouster, exercising their freedom of speech. Sponsors pulled advertising, exercising their freedom of speech. In response to mounting pressure, the TV and radio companies that employed Imus axed him. Freedom of speech. No censorship storm troopers in shiny, knee-high boots came and dragged Imus away. He freely dug his own career grave.

About The Author

Eric Snider

Eric Snider is the dean of Bay area music critics. He started in the early 1980s as one of the founding members of Music magazine, a free bi-monthly. He was the pop music critic for the then-St. Petersburg Times from ‘87-’93. Snider was the music critic, arts editor and senior editor of Weekly Planet/Creative...
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