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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Watson: "After Imus"

Thanks to Watson for this take on post-Imus

Before the yahoos get to feeling too sorry for Imus, let's remember that
their hero Imus fired his sidekick Sid Rosenberg for joking about singer
Kylie Minogue's breast cancer.

And let's stop blaming Imus's problems on Al Sharpton. If Sharpton were as
powerful as the pundits claim, he would have been mayor, senator, or
president by now. He ran for all three offices and couldn't even get the Dem

The white* guys in the corner offices dropped Imus, and they did so for
their own mostly financial reasons.

Bob Herbert wrote in the April 12, 2007 NYT (subscription):

'The crucial issue goes well beyond Don Imus's pathetically
infantile behavior. The real question is whether this controversy is loud
enough to shock Americans at long last into the realization of just how
profoundly racist and sexist the culture is.'

Assuming that we agree with Mr. Herbert that our culture is too racist and
sexist, what should we do about it?

The obvious areas to improve are the most tangible ones - health, housing,
education, and employment.

But what do we do about our media? Promoting diversity in hiring, retention,
and promotion in our media corporations would be a big start, but what about

Freedom of expression is precious. We have traditionally avoided 'prior
restraint'. The government generally won't prevent expression, although it
may punish it afterwards if it's found to be fraudulent, seditious,
pornographic, or slanderous.

Our broadcast media is privately controlled. So we're back to the guys in
the corner offices. What rules should they be using? Aren't their employees
entitled to know in advance? If the bosses plan to leave it the
'marketplace', then we need to rely on people like Rev. Sharpton to organize
boycotts against things we don't like.

If we really want to upgrade our decadent culture, we have to impose
non-racist and non-sexist norms on AM radio and the music video culture. Too
ingrained? I don't think so. Entertainers have always been able to work
around the seven magic words. Howard Stern knows the difference between AM
and satellite. Hockey players know they can't fight in the Olympics.

We won't change the flavor if we don't change the recipe.

[* OK, there's Kenneth Chennault at AmEx.]

- posted by Watson