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Revisiting Don Imus

Maybe Contessa Brewer DID drive him nuts!

by Michael H. Thomson
January 18, 2006

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Revisiting Don Imus
When I wrote my article, A Criticism of MSNBC, chastising the network for what I perceived was lax control over WFAN Radio host Don Imus, who appears regularly in the 6-9 a.m. time slot called Imus in the Morning, I may have rushed to judgment, prematurely.
During the period  I first seriously began watching Don Imus, I did not know that Amy Robach and Contessa Brewer had been imposed on him as newsreaders by MSNBC. In other words, Don was not totally in the loop when it came to staffing his show. As the weeks wore on, Don became increasingly frustrated at both newsreaders with Amy Robach bowing out first. Contessa Brewer stayed and now as I remember it, started driving Don Imus nuts. He in turn acted loutish towards the ambitious newswoman and fell over the cliff of civility in his treatment of her - that I could not forgive, hence my article.
Contessa Brewer left the show approximately eight months ago and things have slowly drifted back to normal. Imus and his crew still have their moments of crudity and despite myself, I have started to become entertained by the program and now have a growing respect for its seriousness.
Two of Imus's regulars, although never identified as such, are Rob Bartlett and Larry Kenney. Why they are never identified is that they always appear on Imus's program as someone else. Rob Bartlett is not only a comedian, but an accomplished Broadway actor. On the Imus show he appears as a burnt out "Brian Wilson" of the Beach Boys and a bald "Dr. Phil." His "Dr. Phil" impressions are remarkable and makes one believe that anyone taking the time to read a few self-help books could become a nationally known pop psychologist. One of Barlett's latest and most hilarious characters is "Lady Camilla Parker-Bowles." If you can get through the hilarity of Camilla Parker-Bowles having a full mustache, you will appreciate Bartlett's caricature of Great Britain's not so royal highness.
Larry Kenney is truly a man of a thousand voices. He can imitate almost anyone. If you don't recognize his name, you definitely have heard his voice. Ask your kids if they've ever heard of Coco Puff's Count Chocula or Sonny the Bird, yep, that's Larry Kenney! On the Imus show, Larry Kenney will show up as a drink-toting Senator Edward Kennedy, and various other characters. My favorite is a person who is supposed to control all the produce that flows into New York City each day. This character is known as "Al Tomatoes" "Tomatoes" looks like a blended cast member out of "The Godfather." Kenney is also the voice for Ross Perot, General George Patton, and Andy Rooney.
A regular feature of the program lately is executive producer Bernard McGuirk stuffing an empty FEDEX envelope on his head and portraying a hate spewing Cardinal Edward Egan. As "Cardinal Egan" with an Irish lilt chants a litany wishing dire consequences on gays, lesbians, certain Broadway plays, and politicians, the Imus cast - as respondents, follow along chanting, "Lord hear our Prayer." This segment has gotten Roman Catholic and former choirboy Bernard McGuirk listed by the Catholic League as being anti-Catholic. Of course, I'm probably listed there too; it's not hard to get on the list…See Five Catholics on the Supreme Court.
Imus is possibly one of the best non-journalist journalists on TV today. Because of his normal "in your face" shtick, Imus does not back down from asking indelicate questions of the high and mighty – including some high and mighty journalists. On one show, he got veteran news commentator, Andrea Mitchell, to admit that she got it wrong on some comments pertaining to the Valerie Plame scandal. He is not afraid to square off with politicians of the right or left and does not hesitate to ask tough questions. If you are any type of politician, journalist, or veteran sportscaster, you'd better be ready to rumble when you appear on Imus in the Morning. He's tough.
Lately Imus has taken on as a cause the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund that is raising money to build a state-of-the-art advanced training facility for armed service personnel who have lost limbs in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has been especially critical of Halliburton who has spurned requests to donate to this fund. Using his program as a bully pulpit, Imus will probably succeed in getting the needed 9 million dollars to complete the facility. In three days, recently, he raised one million dollars. Don't ever minimize the power and influence of Don Imus. Additionally, Imus has raised the awareness of a possible connection between mercury in vaccines and autism. His Imus Ranch for terminally ill children is cited as a one of a kind facility without peer.
As for Contessa Brewer, she has received sympathy from thousands for the abuse she took from Don Imus. Her battle has probably not been a bright spot on her ratings or her career. Don Imus is still Don Imus and Contessa Brewer is still reading the news on MSNBC...
Author's Note:
On January 27th, Imus had commentator, Jeff Greenfield, CNN's senior political analyst on the show. They were discussing the recent victory by Hamas in the Palestine elections which adds more confusion to the problems of that troubled region. Imus made a comment that the Palestinians should all be moved to South Dakota. Greenfied responded by saying they should be moved to a solitary island in Hawaii. Like Imus, in 2002 I proposed moving all of Israel to South Dakota. I entitled my tongue in cheek piece the South Dakota Solution, please read and enjoy!
FLASH! Read the latest about controversy between Don Imus and Al Sharpton: The Pot Calling The Kettle White! The hypocrisy of Al Sharpton.

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