Posted by an Honored Guest
Imus, what the Hell were you thinkin'? Better question... were you thinking? Well, that's spilt milk.
UNDERSTATEMENT OR WHAT?!!! Now it's the Nation's number one topic for discussion. It's eclipsed everything. You just cannot turn on the news without discussion of Rutgers flap. As we speak, the Imus franchise is being lashed by 165 mile-an-hour winds. The National Weather Service has officially labeled this a Category Five. Yikes!
Anyway, there lots of pundits weighing in with their perspective. For the PR angle, Rhoda Weiss, CEO of the Public Relations Society of America, the world's largest organization for public relations professionals, just put out a media alert about her availability for interviews. Weiss’ concludes that: “Apologies can be the most effective means to repair damaged relationships resulting from obvious errors in human judgment."
Hmmmmmm... not so sure about that. Actually, as I recall, one of PR's TOP crisis management counselors is totally unapologetic.
Here we are pleased to have another guest column by Eric Dezenhall, the founder and CEO of Dezenhall Resources, one of the nation’s leading crisis management firms.
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Al Sharpton refused to accept the Michael Richards apology and he supposedly treated Imus less than cordially on his show when Imus began the apology route (I didn't hear the show). I am glad that black leaders are refusing to be pawns to the white man apology ruse although some sort of public service seems reasonable under these circumstances. In the case of Imus it is unseemly to see a man groveling for his job with escalating apologies, trying to find the magic formula to undo the damage of voicing what flowed through his head. Imus never had racist thoughts? He voiced it. Walk around my neighborhood, near Harlem in Manhattan, and it's nigger this and nigger that coming from black teens like constant background chatter. The New York Times refused to write "faggot" when Anne Colter had her little 'joke' about John Edwards. These prejudices are exchanged all day long. Where is Lenny Bruce on all this? What can Imus possibly say to the Rutgers basketball team? I am sorry for voicing what was in my head? He should give them half his salary. I never thought he was funny anyway.
As a PR consultant as well as a member of PRSA, I agree that apologies may or may not "fix" a problem. It certainly won't "undo" a racist comment or any. It may be that an individual has a case worth fighting for if charges are being leveled unfairly. But there is a greater reason to apologize than whether or not it gets someone out of hot water -- it's simply the right thing to do. There is such a dearth of civility anyway, let's not give someone who has truly screwed up yet another pass. Somebody as arrogant and offensive as Imus needs to experience the humility that comes with apologizing whether or not he keeps his job as a result.
I agree with most of the above, but with regards to Senator Byrd, let's call a spade a spade.
Byrd gets a pass strictly because he is a Democrat. Having a little "D" instead of an "R" instantly shields you from criticism, because we all know that all racists are Republicans, and by extension all Republicans are racists.
Robert Byrd is a former Klan Wizard for chrissake! He wouldn't know "racially progressive legislation" if it came to his office swaddled in a half-billion dollars worth of new interstates for Morgantown.