Get it in the end

Stop the Presses column by Chris Graham

Where this hubbub over Don Imus turned for me was last night watching Al Sharpton, of all people, calling for “regulations” regarding the use of the public airwaves to be enforced to expediate Imus’ ouster from his daily radio show.

Now, and I want to make this clear, when Imus referred last week to members of the Rutgers women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hos” – and then his producer, Bernard McGuirk, upped the ante by characterizing the Rutgers-Tennessee matchup for the NCAA title as “The Jigaboos versus The Wannabes” – he was not engaging, as he has since claimed, in what turned out to be a misguided bout of humor, it seems to me, anyway.

And I wouldn’t want a person prone to making such comments to have any affiliation with anything that I do in the world of multimedia – be it here on the Internet or in our New Dominion print magazine or our “ACC Nation” radio show or anything else.

There is, shall we say, a demand for that kind of communication – we see it every day on talk radio and in the blogosphere and elsewhere. But you can count me out as far as being a fan or consumer or willing participant in that kind of gutter wash is concerned.

But that all having been said, “regulations”?

I’m sorry, but I must have woken up on the wrong side of the pond – this is America that we still live in here, isn’t it?

You know, where the First Amendment to our Constitution guarantees protections against restrictive government regulations of our freedom of speech?

The last thing that we need to result from this Imus situation is calls from people like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson – neither, interestingly, strangers to the use of racial epithets in public discourse – to sack a radio shock jock because he said something that they didn’t like.

I’m a fan – a big fan, actually – of letting the marketplace determine the value of ideas. Imus’ comments on the Rutgers women’s hoops team are inappropriate in your way of thinking? So provide some of your own as a counter – and if the market decides that they have more value, so much the better for you.

You don’t like the president saying that people who express support for the war in Iraq are disloyal – again, put your thoughts out there to add depth to the debate.

That’s what we need more of – not only in this country, but across the globe. We have so much at our disposal in terms of being able to disseminate thoughts and ideas – from the ability to start a blog that can be read by anybody anywhere in the world at any time to being able to do the same with audio and video.

The New Dominion is a living testament to the new media that is emerging – starting as a local-news blog in a tiny town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge and growing into a full-blown news website read worldwide with an Old World-style print-magazine complement.

“Regulations”? We don’t need more regulations – we need less, because we need more people sharing more thoughts and more ideas and more new ways of tackling issues and problems to come up with more solutions.

I fear, as we see here with this blowup involving Don Imus, that we are instead moving in the other direction – that in the place of free speech more and more of us, conditioned as we are by our self-enforced political correctness, would prefer to have less.

Guess who wins there, folks? Hint – government and big-business interests ain’t fightin’ this blowback all that hard, if you haven’t noticed.

Be careful what you wish for, America – because you’re going to get it in the end.

And yeah, the double entendre there is intentional.

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.


The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
 
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