Emmett Tyrrell

Obviously I do not mind taking a few swipes at him either when he is down, but there is something out there that is even more significant than his vulgarity or apparent racial and gender insensitivity, namely the First Amendment's promise of free speech. It allows Imus to speak coarsely or foolishly. To bar him from public forums is to deny a freedom that allowed feminists and civil rights leaders the right to make their cases in years past. The feminists and spokesmen for NABJ now apparently assume the rightness of feminism and civil rights for blacks was always apparent. It was not. Someone had to make their cases in an era when it was unpopular. If it were not for the First Amendment, their cases might never have been made.

Thus I draw the conclusion that Citadel should be free to make its deal with Imus. Let him pull his silly cowboy hat on his head and amble into an air-conditioned radio studio. There in his hat and boots -- who knows, maybe he carries a toy gun -- he can live out his fantasies with his macho audience of wisenheimers. If he attracts enough sound critics, perhaps his audience will shrink into insignificance out of personal embarrassment.

Black journalists, aging feminists, join with me in laughing Imus and his audience into oblivion. But let us not weaken the First Amendment. Free speech is how we all got where we are.

Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
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