I can't say I'm sorry that Don Imus isn't on the air anymore, but then I make a distinction between "constitutionally protected" speech and civil and appropriate speech. I wouldn't have recommended the FCC censor Imus, though I can't say it would have bothered me much if they had. But considering his very uncivil speech, I think it was a good thing for his radio and TV shows to be canceled. Now if only misogynist rap music was treated the same way, I think a lot of women would be better off. Actually, I think everyone would be better off.
Regardless, I've been waiting patiently for the ALA to make a comment on Don Imus. When it comes to Internet pornography, the ALA is always talking about how important it is to let everyone have access to all "constitutionally protected" speech. I'm waiting for them to raise a protest over the Imus's dismissal, since he was fired for exercising his right to free speech. Isn't this an example of someone being penalized because he chose to exercise his "intellectual freedom"? Where's the outrage from ALA? Why are they calling CBS and MSNBC and Al Sharpton censors? Because that's what they are--censors--and the removal of Imus from the airwaves is censorship, at least according to the ALA.
Here's a bit of their statement on intellectual freedom: "Intellectual freedom encompasses the freedom to hold, receive and disseminate ideas." Isn't that what Imus was doing? Wasn't he disseminating an "idea"? I put that in quotes for a reason. I don't think he was disseminating an idea, but then again I don't think an Internet picture of a naked woman in a leather collar performing lewd sexual acts on a man is an "idea," either. But for the ALA everything is an "idea." (I guess that explains their accreditation standards.)
And here's a bit from their definition of censorship: "Censors pressure public institutions, like libraries, to suppress and remove from public access information they judge inappropriate or dangerous, so that no one else has the chance to read or view the material and make up their own minds about it. The censor wants to prejudge materials for everyone." Does a commercial radio station count as private or public? If it's purely a private institution, why would it be regulated by the FCC? The FCC regulates the public airwaves. Wouldn't that be enough to make this an issue of public speech?
If a public librarian said libraries shouldn't be buying Snoopy Snoopy Dog Dog or Dirty Old Bitch because of their misogynistic lyrics, the Office for Intellectual Freedom would be calling the librarian a censor and probably worse. Is this really that different? Is "censorship" by some group other than the government censorship or not? If it is, why isn't Imus's removal censorship?
I think the ALA should step up and decry the suppression of Don Imus and rebuke CBS, Sharpton, and the rest as censors. Then maybe they could recommend that public libraries rent Don Imus so that he can continue to exercise his "intellectual freedom."
That way they would be intellectually consistent and support yet another position I disagree with, giving me something to blog about.