WESTERHOLD: I miss the I-man

I'm hoping some random thoughts will fill this column because I'm lacking focus. I guess I'll start by saying I miss Don Imus
Matt Westerhold
May 24, 2010

I'm hoping some random thoughts will fill this column because I'm lacking focus.

I guess I'll start by saying I miss Don Imus. I've missed him every day since both the MSNBC news channel and the CBS radio network dumped him. I've turned on my TV each morning hoping he would be there, only to be disappointed he's not.

Does that make me a racist?

I was listening and watching when the I-Man spoke those hateful words about the Rutgers women's basketball team, and I winced when I heard them.

I watched him the following morning as he offered a brief apology, and the morning after that as he apologized for three hours. I absolutely believe he was truly remorseful and intended to change the "schtick" that's kept him an icon for more than three decades.

What I loved about Imus was his ability to talk straight with newsmakers. I always thought of the show as a bunch of old guys sitting around chatting up the news. Arizona Sen. John McCain or Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd, among other national newsmakers, regularly dropped by to talk about what they, and Imus, thought was important.

News gatekeepers, such as "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert, Newsweek magazine's Howard Fineman, and others, also regularly visited and offered their perspectives against the sharp-tongued "ugly bag of bones" Iman.

I've never listened to rap or hip hop because I can't imagine hearing women referred to as bitches and hos, or enjoying it.

Does that make me a saint?

It's not been easy losing Imus. I've tried to understand why I was never offended by the schtick. I don't remember another time when I heard such a racist remark from him before the Rutgers comment. I do, however, remember plenty of anti-gay, anti-fat, and anti-Imus jokes.

Does that make me anti-gay, anti-fat or anti-Imus?

I'm still trying to figure all this out. Educators, I believe, refer to this as a "teaching moment." I'm looking at it all as a "learning moment," for myself, for Imus, for the Rev. Al Sharpton, and for the nation.