Saturday, April 14, 2007

Imus Firing: Problem For the Democrats

From Sykes Writes, a bit of analysis that makes clear what the media have blacked out with regard to the Imus firing: Imus was a liberal.
Democratic politicians lose a soapbox with firing of Don Imus

His show helped many of them reach a national audience of white males -- a crucial voting bloc.

WASHINGTON — They came by the hundreds that hot August day in tiny Johnson City, Tenn., gathering on an asphalt parking lot to meet Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr. It was not just that he might become the state’s first black senator. More than that, even in Republican eastern Tennessee, the Democratic congressman was a celebrity — a regular guest on Don Imus’ radio show.

And today, with Imus’ career in tatters, the fate of the controversial shock jock is stirring quiet but heartfelt concern in an unlikely quarter: among Democratic politicians.

That’s because, over the years, Democrats such as Ford came to count on Imus for the kind of sympathetic treatment that Republicans got from Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity.

Equally important, Imus gave Democrats a pipeline to a crucial voting bloc that was perennially hard for them to reach: politically independent white men.

With Imus’ show canceled indefinitely because of his remarks about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team, some Democratic strategists are worried about how to fill the void. For a national radio audience of white men, Democrats see few if any alternatives.

“This is a real bind for Democrats,” said Dan Gerstein, an advisor to one of Imus’ favorite regulars, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.). “Talk radio has become primarily the province of the right, and the blogosphere is largely the province of the left. If Imus loses his microphone, there aren’t many other venues like it around.”

Jim Farrell, a former aide to 2000 presidential candidate and Imus regular Bill Bradley, said the firing “creates a vacuum.”

This week, when Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) was asked by CNN why he picked Imus’ show to announce his presidential candidacy, Dodd explained: “He’s got a huge audience; he gives you enough time to talk, not a 30-second sound bite, a chance to explain your views; . . . and a chance to reach the audience who doesn’t always watch the Sunday morning talk shows.”

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