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Imus Producer Calls Sharpton A Terrorist, Laments Loss Of Ability To Make Racially Offensive Jokes

Reported by Ellen - April 27, 2007 -

Imus’ former producer, the also-fired Bernard McGuirk, the one who started the ill-fated “nappy ho” discussion with Imus, was the guest for the top story on Hannity & Colmes for a double segment last night (4/26/07). Predictably, it was a softball interview with both hosts sticking up for Imus and overlooking or denigrating the sentiments of those who wanted him fired. Sean Hannity’s sensitivity for Rosie O’Donnell’s audience’s feelings – so Hanctimoniously displayed the night before – had disappeared for Imus’ audience. Other than the question of just how big a villain is Al Sharpton, the only concerns behind Imus’ firing seemed to be the loss of racially offensive jokes on the airwaves.

You could tell from the description on the Hannity & Colmes website earlier in the day that McGuirk was not going to get the Rosie treatment. "After Imus was silenced, his producer was ripped from the radio too! Bernard McGuirk, the man behind Imus, tells his story only on 'H & C' tonight!"

The interview started off with a replay of Imus’ offensive comments in what seemed like a deliberate taunt aimed at those who may have been offended. Next, McGuirk made what I thought was an obnoxious joke. He “apologized” to Alan Colmes for having said he looks like a ferret in a suit. Colmes, in a disappointingly suck-up mode, called it “a badge of honor.”

McGuirk, along with Imus, has a long history of making racially insulting, sexist and homophobic “jokes.” Furthermore, according to wikipedia, New York Times columnist Bob Herbert reported that in the course of a 1998 interview with Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes, Imus admitted telling a producer off-camera that McGuirk was hired to perform "nigger jokes." But that history was downplayed on Hannity & Colmes as the hosts repeatedly emphasized that everybody was lampooned on Imus’ show. The racial jokes were likened by McGuirk to saying that Imus looks like he survived a partial birth abortion. Neither host seemed to consider – much less say aloud – that maybe the brunt of those racial jokes saw it differently.

McGuirk didn’t wait long before he started attacking Al Sharpton with some more of his brand of “humor.” After acknowledging that the initial anger over the Rutgers incident was legitimate, he complained that Sharpton used it to further his own career “or because maybe Barack Obama’s getting too much press or something.”

McGuirk later said that if anyone spoke about his daughter as a ho, he would “kick their teeth in, you know, if I saw it, you know, happen in real time.”

Nevertheless, neither host asked whether maybe Sharpton or anyone else in the audience may have felt that same kind of protectiveness and outrage on behalf of the Rutgers students. McGuirk was allowed to continue his attacks on Sharpton virtually unchallenged – and even egged on by Hannity – for the rest of the interview.

McGuirk continued by saying Sharpton is the kind of guy “who would park in a handicapped spot or …bring a wheelchair to an amusement park so he could jump the lines.”

That cheap shot didn’t bother Hannity. Instead, he prompted McGuirk to go further by complaining that Sharpton would not accept what Hannity characterized as Imus’ sincere, heartfelt apology.

McGuirk complied. “Sharpton, of course, you know, being the classless clown that he is just, just used the situation in my humble opinion to further his own goals, to further himself… The media treated him like he was Nelson Mandela, for God’s sakes, without asking him about his past inflammatory, you know, comments – this sanctimonious skunk. He’s said some horrible things which you’ve confronted him on. You did so last Friday. But nobody else did. They treated him, again, like he WAS somebody.”

McGuirk did make one good point: That he and Imus had been doing their thing on the air for many years without an objection from the network executives. However, nobody mentioned that that tenure was not without controversy. Imus has been sued several times over his obnoxious and insulting behavior.

In Part 2, Hannity goosed McGuirk to rail against Sharpton again. “Do you feel angry this is a double standard, in terms of, especially that it was the Reverend Al Sharpton leading the way here?”

McGuirk grabbed the bait again. “Absolutely. I feel strongly about that… They caved to this guy with that record. They acted sort of like the Neville Chamberlains of broadcasting. I mean, they appeased, really, this terrorist here.”

The only hint of non-agreement came from Colmes and it came only once. “You referred, though, to Sharpton as a terrorist. Do you mean that?”

“It seemed like he terrorized some broadcast executives,” McGuirk said. “Like they were, you know, sort of in a fetal position under their desks, sucking their thumbs on their blackberries, trying to coordinate their response to him.”

That was the end of Colmes’ “challenge” to the characterization. He moved on to hoping that the networks would relent and rehire Imus and McGuirk. “Because with Don Imus and you at the center of this dialogue about race, that’s a much more powerful way to address all this.” The fact is, that opportunity for dialogue was right there on Hannity & Colmes and yet it remained, essentially, McGuirk’s monologue plus two supporting voices.

Colmes complained, “They didn’t look at the totality of who (Imus) is and what he’s done.” The same thing could be said about Hannity & Colmes. While the hosts have made a point of saying that Imus insults everyone, they have yet to reveal to their audience just how racially tinged many of those insults have been. McGuirk conveniently left it out of his recitations last night, too. He referred to Madonna as a walking yeast infection and made some joke about Rita Cosby’s butt. Funny how he never mentioned some of the jokes catalogued by Media Matters: McGuirk called Barack Obama a "young colored fellow;" that "bitch" Clinton Clinton "will have cornrows and gold teeth before this fight with [Sen. Barack] Obama [D-IL] is over; Barack Obama has "a Jew-hating name."

Once again, the show left the viewers with the impression that the nappy-headed ho remark was an isolated slip of the tongue.

As McGuirk and Colmes praised Imus for his charitable work with children, nobody included in that “totality” the fancifulness of his ranch/charity for children whose costs per child are 10 times greater than the Make-a-Wish and similar camps.

Hannity fretted, “Are we now at the point where there’s no room for ethnic jokes?”

McGuirk agreed lamentably.

Colmes worried that if McGuirk and Imus do come back on the air, they might be inhibited about practicing their special brand of “humor.”

At the end of the interview, Colmes asked, “What do you want to see happen? What is your hope?”

McGuirk replied, “I hope that AL Sharpton’s blow dryer falls in the uh,… no.”

Below is the complete Part 1 and an edited Part 2 of the interview.