I wrote a blog a few weeks back entitled "The Fifth Estate" that said citizen journalists deserve to be the "Fifth Estate" behind the executive branch, Congress, the courts and "real" reporters. That’s because these citizen bloggers — or cloggers, as I termed them — have an increasingly important role in restraining errant members of the other four branches.
Well, so it is. Bloggers played a critical role in bringing about Don Imus’ well-deserved demise as a radio host at CBS.
A 26-year-old researcher for the liberal watchdog organization Media Matters for America was among the first to blog about Imus’ Wednesday morning reference to the Rutgers women’s basketball team as "nappy-headed hos”.
This relatively obscure group attracted dozens of heated comments to its postings of transcripts of the address on its website. But the major news outlets published nothing at all, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The National Association of Black Journalists and other individuals and groups added their voices to the "digital brush fire" that brought Imus down.
CBS, which Thursday merely suspended Imus for two weeks before firing him on Friday, did not ultimately fire him for making racially charged remarks. The network, MSNBC, syndicators and other members of the media elite profited handsomely from his misogynous and racist comments over the years.
Advertisers didn’t drop out because they were disgusted, either. They put up with his trash as long as they hit millions of demographic desirables.
CBS and advertisers deserted Imus because of 3,435 enraged cloggers, by Google’s last count.
And lest you grieve too much for Imus: how much do you want to bet he pops up on XM/Sirius or some other media outlet more concerned with profits than propriety?
Irony Dept.: Conservative talk show host Doug McIntyre of L.A.’s KABC remarked to the L.A. Times with an apparently straight face that, "free speech was imperiled if ‘a joke — a lame, idiotic, stupid joke’ could get Imus fired". Imus was fired by the public, not by CBS, Doug. I do believe they get a vote in what garbage they listen to.