I was a guest yesterday on Media Talk, a global webcast program produced by Tampa Digital Studios, 6-7 p.m. Thursdays at tampabaysmediatalk.com During the opening segment, co-host Rob Tiisler made a crack about Don Imus. Sidekick Frank Walters, Tampa Digitalâs director of post-production who does a trivia segment on the show, chimed in, âGotta be careful these days. White people canât, yâknow, donât have freedom of speech anymoreâ¦â
Walters is not the only person who has suggested that Imusâ 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. Itâs 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.