Letters to the Editor
Readers weigh in on Don Imus and public-interest lawsuits.
Imus or us: Who's gone too far?
In response to the April 11 article, "Calls mount for firing of 'shock' radio host," about offensive comments made by Don Imus: Mr. Imus's crude remarks have sent shock waves through not only the black communities here in New Jersey but also through the alumni, student, and staff populations at Rutgers.
A policeman, teacher, or worker in a public business would have been fired before the end of the day if he or she had made the same comments.
Why hasn't the FCC taken away the license of the people who employ Imus? Why is there no mention of fines? Why hasn't Imus been fired? Isn't hate speech a crime?
Rich people and rich companies should not be above the law or punishment by the legal system and the FCC.
The airwaves do not belong to Imus or to the company that employs him. One must obtain a license to use the airwaves, just as one must obtain a license to drive a car.
Now is the time for America to show that real justice would consist of the protection of those wonderful college students. The rudeness and hubris of these people must be addressed by not letting them use our airwaves.
Take away a license for good or even for a short time, and you will see a sudden change of behavior.
In response to the April 11 article about the Don Imus controversy: As a long time listener and fan of his show, I say, "Enough already." Don Imus does a tremendous amount of good on this planet and should not be punished to such an extraordinary degree.
There is a double standard going on. Political correctness has gotten out of control – but only for white people. It seems that blacks can disparage whites until the cows come home – and be very serious about what they say – and never be called on it. White people can never make a politically incorrect joke without being strung from the rafters.
The comment made on the Imus show was a joke – not made in a mean-spirited way. Has being politically correct stripped away America's sense of humor?
The man apologized. He truly feels badly for the remark. That should be the end of it.
There shouldn't be any Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson making trouble about what was said. Doesn't anyone see anything hypocritical about that? I do. I believe the Imus program has managed to make fun of all of us at some point – and we've laughed.
Patricia Arline Murphy
Grand Rapids, Mich.
Lawsuits and obeying the law
Regarding the April 9 article, "Many new constraints for Bush on the environment": The article might have mentioned one important but not always understood wrinkle: the role of public-interest citizen organizations in prodding courts to force the federal government to obey the law.
In many of the instances cited in the article, the reason the courts got involved was that public-interest citizen organizations represented by my group, Earthjustice, and others, filed suit in federal court and pointed out the government's violations of the law.
In an ideal world, federal agencies would obey the laws that they are charged with carrying out, but too often they succumb to political or ideological pressure, and it falls to the public, represented by various nonprofit groups, to hold the agencies' feet to the fire.
Executive director, Earthjustice
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