NEWS BLOG (WSAU) "Those girls from Rutgers.... they got tattoos.... they're like nappy-headed hoes. And those girls from Tennessee, they're all cute.... it's like the jigaboos versus the wanna-be's...." That's how radio shock-host Don Imus described the women's basketball game between Rutgers and Tennessee in 2007. Offensive? Yes, of course. Actually, it's no more offensive than The Don Imus Show is on any other day.
Broadcast consultant Holland Cooke shared a theory on why THIS was different. It's because of YouTube, and Facebook, MySpace, mp3s, 24-hour news, etc. Today, comments like this can bounce around cyberspace like a rubber ball. They take on a life of their own. People who didn't hear the actual broadcast still heard it though the Internet. And as rude and inappropriate as the comments were, they had a longer shelf-life and were more damaging than they otherwise would have been. Even today, this clip lives on in cyberspace.
Why am I bringing up a radio broadcast from two-and-a-half years ago? Because the same cyberspace rubber ball effect is about to hit the Obama administration.
"The system worked as it should" was uttered by two high-ranking Administration officials in the days after the Christmas Day attack on Northwest Airlines from 253. Exact same words, exact same reference. It was more-likely a scripted talking point than just coincidence that the identical phrasing was used. The comments are on tape, and they continue to bounce through cyberspace right now. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano may not survive this gaffe. Press Secretary Joe Gibbs, the highest-ranking spokesman for the President, will have to eat the words as his own misstatement and distance his boss from them.
This rubber ball will bounce into TV attack campaign ads for the 2010 election. It will be damaging.
Operations Manager, Midwest Communications-Wausau