Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Worst Radio Talkers on the Topic of Race

Because we now live in the post Imus era, we need to take a new look at how we define the worst talk radio hosts. For the past few months, we have been identifying the three worst talkers of the week.

Last week, ironically, we selected the Imus as the worst talker of the week for his infamous three word characterization of the Rutgers women’s basketball team as "nappy-headed hos." As a result of this politically incorrect and racist comment, a simulcast of the I-man’s daily talk show was cancelled by MSNBC on one day and the syndicated radio talk show, itself, was cancelled by CBS, owner of Westwood One, the next day.

What the Imus factor tells us, is that it's not just radio listeners who are following talk radio. Now when a host puts his foot in his mouth, like Imus did earlier this month, the statement is just as likely to show up on a blog, on You Tube, or on Media Matters.

Imus’ show may have reached only 2% of the population each week. However, when you add the Internet and cable news channels, his inflammatory language probably resonated with 250 million people.

Big advertisers like American Express, Procter and Gamble, and General Motors decided that they didn’t want to be associated with Imus and pulled the plug on potentially millions of dollars in advertising. NBC and CBS saw the writing on wall and Imus’ 30 plus year run on radio came to screeching halt.

So taking the Imus factor in consideration, we will be reformatting the worst talkers of the week. From time to time we will pick a topic and select three talkers who expressed the most outrageous comments on that topic. We will probably do this about once a month. The other three weeks we will offer our Worst Talker of the Week feature.

Unlike the Worst Talker of the Week, the talker who wins the worst talker by topic will hold that award until another talker replaces him or her at a future time. The comment had to be said on the radio, when the talker was the host (not a guest) on a regularly scheduled talk show. Also, there is no time limit. That means the talker can get credit today for something that was said many years ago.

In memory of Imus, our first topic will be racism. Unlike homophobia and misogyny, racism is the gold standard in offensive speech.

Maybe it’s because the institution of slavery lasted over 200 years and Jim Crow segregation another 100 years. Maybe because, many African Americans still face discrimination in housing, employment, and education. Or maybe it’s because of the speech itself. Calling a Caucasian a "cracker" just doesn’t match up to using the "n" word when referring to an African American.

We listened to Marc Germain, Mr. K and April Winchell on KTLK/1150 in Los Angeles, Monday, when they were trying to compare a joke made by Al Roker about gays in San Francisco (he lisped when reporting the weather in San Francisco) to Imus’ "nappy-headed hos" comment. Most of their callers thought such a comparison was preposterous – "like comparing apples to oranges" one caller said.

Germain claimed that they were not attacking Roker, who was one of the first and most prominent broadcaster to call for Imus' firing, for his comment. They were just noting that "it is a slippery slope when you try to get people fired for having bad taste."

Okay here they are – the worse, worser, and worst talk show hosts on the topic of racism.

Despite the fact that he lost his job over a racial comment, Imus is only the "worse" talker of all time on this topic. By now just about everybody who owns a TV or a radio knows that Imus called the Rutgers women’s basketball team "nappy headed hos." However, very few people remember when Imus made the following comment about the New York Times’ Washington correspondent Gwen Ifill in the late 1980’s. The I-man reportedly said. "Isn’t the Times wonderful…It let’s the cleaning lady cover the White House."

Racial comments made by Neil Boortz are not as well known as Imus’ (possibly because most of his affiliates including his flagship station WSB/750 in Atlanta are in the South where such comments are not very controversial.)

Boortz has also made two comments to earn his place in the top three. On the October 24, 2005, broadcast of his radio talk show, Boortz suggested that a victim of Hurricane Katrina housed in an Atlanta hotel consider prostitution. "If that's the only way she can take care of herself," Boortz posited, "it sure beats the hell out of sucking off the taxpayers."

Then on the March 31, 2006, edition of his show, Boortz said that then Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) "looks like a ghetto slut." He was commenting on a March 29 incident in which McKinney allegedly struck a police officer at a Capitol Hill security checkpoint. Boortz said that McKinney's "new hair-do" makes her look "like a ghetto slut."
For these two comments Neil Boortz is our worser talker on the topic of racism.

However, the nation’s number one talk show host, Rush Limbaugh, who was just named top syndicated talk host of year by Radio and Records Magazine, receives the dubious distinctiom of making the worst racial statements. We have identified six statements made by El Rushbo over his 30-year career that many people would consider being racially offensive.

As a young DJ in the 1970’s, Rush was having a hard time understanding an African-American caller, so he told the caller "take that bone out of your nose and call me back."

In the early 1990s, "after becoming nationally syndicated, he mused on the air: "Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?" Also, at that time when Carol Moseley-Braun (D-IL) was in the U.S. Senate, the first black woman ever elected to that body, Limbaugh would play the 'Movin' On Up' theme song from TV's 'Jeffersons' whenever he mentioned her.

Everybody knows about the comment Limbaugh made about Philadelphia Eagle quarterback Donovan McNabb. When he was a commentator for ESPN, Limbaugh said that "the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well" and, therefore, that McNabb "got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve."

He was fired from ESPN for that comment, but we can’t include this slur because Limbaugh said it on TV not on the radio.

On the August 23, 2006, edition of his radio show, Limbaugh commented on a season of CBS' reality TV program Survivor in which contestants were originally divided into competing "tribes" by ethnicity. Limbaugh said that the contest was "not going to be fair if there's a lot of water events" and suggested that "blacks can't swim."

Finally, just over two months ago, on February 1, Limbaugh responded to a Reuters report on a University of Chicago study that found that "a majority of young blacks feel alienated form today's government" by asserting: "Why would that be? The government's been taking care of them their whole lives."

Rush Limbaugh the number one talk radio show host and the purveyor of the worst racial comments in the world.


Anonymous said...

There are a couple of Black talk radio stations in my area with hosts always talking about hating Whites and they even come close to advocating killing Whites.
Not to mention some of the hip-hop and rap music lyrics heard on so-called Urban stations.
And let's not forget Jessie (Hymietown) Jackson.
But to the politically correct, Black are never racist. Only Whites can be racists.
And to excuse or condone behavior in Blacks which someone would not tolerate in Whites is a form of racism. So is setting lower standards for Blacks in any area.
If Imus came on and people don't want to listen, fine! But who are Sharpton and Jackson to decide what the rest of us should be allowed to hear on the radio?
First they came for Howard ... then they came for Imus....
Don't be surprised if some right wing wacko group is already monitoring and recording progressive talk radio, waiting for an excuse to pounce. Waiting for somebody to say the wrong thing in an unguarded moment so they can just down liberal talk.

barooosk said...

Anonymous...It is the policy of this blog to delete duplicate messages from the same sender. That's why your second and third comment were deleted. We would be delighted to publish any statements made by African American talk radio hosts "hating whites." Please feel to posts such comments here. Also, Jesse Jackson's alleged statement referring to "Hymietown" was overheard in a private conversation. He was not broadcasting it to thousands of radio listeners.

Steve J. said...


Do you have any citations for the early Limbaugh quotes? I looked using Lexis-Nexis and I couldn't find them.

e-mail is fine

radamisto99 AT yahoo DOT COM

Anonymous said...


Media Matters might have some of this stuff of which you search. Al Franken used to have a weekly expose of Rush's inanities with his ditto-bot friend as foil. There is of course, Al's book which could be found in any major library.

American said...

This article is really a nice piece of journalism. It's quite obvious from the lack of grammatical and spelling errors that the article is a complete genius. If I were a regular reader of this blog, I'd definitely be quasi enlightened on a semi regular basis.

The fact of the matter is this: the black race is second only to muslims in the hate and racism category. And to make matters worse, blacks have their ever handy 'say whatever you want without any chance of being called a racist' card. It's been coming in quite handy for the past 30+ years, and I don't see any near end to it's rampant use.

Blacks need to decide to be a part of this country. Stop calling yourselves African-Americans. I've met many black people in my life. I live in a very urban area. Only a dozen or so have been from Africa. One of the ones that I did meet from Africa thought it was funny how she'd met an American black man who referred to himself as an African American. She asked him what part he was from, and he didn't have a clue what to say. She laughed in his face. My family is from both Scotland and Germany. I've never referred to myself once as a Scottish-German-American.

Now, I won't discount that any of these guys have made offensive remarks. I'm sure that they have, and I'll go ahead and guarantee a repeat offense. I like someone else has already said have heard countless examples of the exact same type of statements from black "leaders" and black radio and tv personalities. Neither one is right.

The time is long over due for people to quit being so hateful toward each other and stop treating each other with utter disdain. For crying out loud, the black race has overwhelmingly adopted the democratic party as its voice. That's the party that shows the most disgustingly outward love and affection towards humanity. Why not give that a try?

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