Watching Celebrities Self-destruct
I have been listening—and watching—Don Imus since the early 1970s when he was the morning “shock-jock” on WNBC radio.
In this age of political correctness, Imus has consistently been the media’s ultimate iconoclast.
He has been sued. He has been vilified. But through dumb luck, knowing his audience and perhaps divine intervention, Don Imus has endured.
His racist slur of just three words last week may have ended his career.
Don Imus was lucky to have self-destructed in his late 60s, with a pretty, young wife, handsome son and presumably plenty of money to last the rest of his days.
Orson Welles blew his career at age 26 with a single word.
Sticking It to the Second Most Powerful Man in the Country
In 1941, if you were to make a list of the five most powerful men in America, newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst would certainly rank No. 2 behind President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In his heyday, Hearst was proprietor of 28 major newspapers from coast to coast, 18 magazines, radio stations and movie studios.
One sentence describes the power of William Randolph Hearst. In 1897, the great illustrator Frederic Remington had been posted to Havana by the Hearst newspapers in anticipation of war. After cooling his heels for a while, the artist cabled Hearst for permission to return to the States. Hearst replied, “Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.” On Feb. 15, 1898, the USS Maine blew up in Havana harbor and Hearst had his war.
Hearst was also a racist and a bigot. From the biography of Hearst in the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com):
Along with his sensationalism and jingoism, William Randolph Hearst was a racist who hated minorities, particularly Mexicans, both native-born and immigrants. He used his newspaper chain to frequently stir up racial tensions. Hearst’s newspapers portrayed Mexicans as lazy, degenerate and violent, marijuana-smokers who stole jobs from “real Americans.” Hearst’s hatred of Mexicans and his hyping of the “Mexican threat” to America likely was rooted in the 800,000 acres of timberland that had been confiscated from him by Pancho Villa during the Mexican revolution.