In your total must read of the week, the Wall Street Journal’s Brooks Barnes, Emily Steele, and Sarah McBride write about the firing of Don Imus with a very detailed “behind the scenes”…
On Thursday, at about 3 p.m., NBC News President Steve Capus was conducting a routine planning meeting in his third-floor offices at Rockefeller Center when an assistant interrupted him to take an urgent phone call, according to a person at the meeting. On the other line: MSNBC General Manager Dan Abrams. Mr. Abrams said MSNBC executives were fielding complaints from viewers and employees who had seen a video clip of Mr. Imus’s remark on the Media Matters site, this person says.
The group is a Web-based nonprofit organization devoted to monitoring “conservative misinformation” in print, broadcast, cable, radio and Internet media outlets. It frequently complains about Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly. Although the Imus show isn’t generally considered conservative, some of its guests are.
Mr. Capus called an emergency meeting with MSNBC’s management team, the producers for the TV version of “Imus in the Morning” and the head of public relations for NBC News. Among other decisions, Mr. Capus asked his PR team to draft a statement apologizing on behalf of MSNBC but clearly pointing out that “Imus in the Morning” was a CBS Radio production. MSNBC and NBC are owned by General Electric Co.’s NBC Universal.
The New York Times Bill Carter and Jacques Steinberg also write about the firing of Imus from CBS Radio…
Mr. Imus received the news at home in a telephone call. Many of his listeners learned of it during the afternoon radio show “Mike and the Mad Dog,” which announced it on WFAN, the CBS-owned New York station that also carried Mr. Imus’s program.
The CBS chief executive, Leslie Moonves, met yesterday afternoon with the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, leaders in what became a national movement to remove Mr. Imus from the air in the wake of his comments disparaging members of the Rutgers women’s basketball team. On April 4, Mr. Imus referred on the air to the Rutgers athletes as “nappy-headed hos.”