Tim Russert was hosting the show as usual. His guests were David Brooks, Gwen Ifill, John Harwood, and Eugene Robinson.
Ifill has apparently had enough of the hypocrisy of people condemning Imus now who once appeared on his show--a show where Imus has always made the same sorts of incendiary remarks. She specifically calls out two of her fellow panelists.
There’s been radio silence from a lot of people who’ve done this program who could’ve spoken up and said, “I find this offensive” or “I didn’t know.” These people didn’t speak up.Ifill is a lady in every way. No shouting or demeaning. She just pointed out that her colleagues have tried to play both sides. They appear on Imus's show and then try to distance themselves from the things that go on immediately before and immediately after their appearance.
Tim, we didn’t hear that much from you.
David, we didn’t hear from you.
What was missing in this debate was someone saying, “You know, I understand that this is offensive.” ...people will say, “I didn’t know,” or people will say, “I wasn’t listening.” A lot of people did know, and a lot of people were listening, and they just decided it was OK. They decided this culture of meanness was fine until they got caught. My concern about Mr. Imus and a lot of people and, and a lot of the debate in the society is not that people are sorry that they say these things. They’re sorry that someone catches them.
...David’s right, about the culture of meanness, about the culture of racial complaint, about the internal culture in our community, about the way we talk to one another. But this week, just this week, it was finally saying “Enough.”
I concur with Gwen Ifill. A heck of a lot of people had an opportunity to ignore Imus. They failed to insist on a culture of civility and kindness. They are complicit in his public offenses.
I don't endorse a culture that polices thought that speech with external forces. (I am soooooo grateful for the 1st amendment protections we enjoy in this country.) I endorse a culture that encourages self control. I hope for a culture that refuses to support hateful speech. We can allow people to saw those things, but we don't have to support or subsidize them.