Uneven Media Standards, Only Getting Worse

Last week Robin Williams was on The Late Show with Jay Leno promoting his new movie “License to Wed.” On the show he was talking about his role in the film, a Catholic priest, and joking about them being pedophiles.

A couple days after, a short commentary clip about the incident on MSN.com showed a few men discussing what Williams had to say. The two guests on the show were both Catholic. One was opposed to what Williams had done, saying that he was labeling all priests as child molesters which is far from true, as most of them are great guys. The other Catholic guest wasn’t so much opposed. He was more of the opinion that the Catholic Church had concealed and hidden sex scandals, and that we shouldn’t feel sorry for priests being labeled as child molesters, because it was almost the churches’ fault.

This was one of the few bits of controversy I saw surrounding the incident. This made me think: Someone was making an offensive generalization about a particular group in society. Yet, the media didn’t get heated about this at all. Catholics didn’t get up in arms and demand an apology. Robin Williams wasn’t fired or banned from the movie industry. He wasn’t forced into an insincere “sorry.”

Now remember back a few months ago to the Don Imus incident. An equally public figure made an equally heated comment about a specific group. Remember the media, the Rutgers, and basically all of America’s reaction to that incident? Don Imus indeed lost his job, was basically forced into an apology, and was criticized by Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and other black leaders as being a bigot. He was also called a racist conservative by The LA Times (which was done in error, he’s actually a liberal democrat.)

Now being frank, let’s compare the two comments: Don Imus’ “Nappy Headed Hoes” as opposed to Robin Williams stint about “Find the priest, find the pedophile. Oh, you found the pedophile,” (implying the two are often the same thing.) One is criticizing someone’s hair and calling them promiscuous; the other is falsely calling someone a PEDOPHILE! Which seems worse?

While I don’t think there should be any controversy about what Williams said (other than the defense made that all Catholic priests are not pedophiles, which was done rightly by the commentator on the show,) I also don’t believe it should’ve happened with Don Imus. It just amazes me that society has to walk on eggshells in reference to race issues. Imus should not have lost his job over this and the media should not have blown the incident so far out of proportion. It was not that big of a deal. Other celebrities, including black ones, say much worse things about black people. Look at the lyrics to any 50-cent song. Is saying “nigga” over and over, and portraying black girls as “hoes” in his videos any better?

No it’s not. So why aren’t black rappers like this criticized? Why wasn’t the black stripper in the Duke Lacrosse case who lied and called a group of wealthy, white boys rapists, called a racist herself? Why aren’t people targeted and fired when they say offensive things about Catholics, white people, or even President Bush? It happens so often on TV, in music, stand up comedy, etc. But the media isn’t up in arms about it. It seems that negative attention only surrounds people who comment negatively on ethnic minorities, sensitive religions like Muslims, people who have non-traditional sexual orientation, or are sensitive about women’s rights, and so on.

My feeling is that we shouldn’t get so upset about any of it. People have a right to speak their mind, whether it’s for entertainment reasons, political or sports commentary, or what have you. Things like the Federal Communications Commission will control it if it gets out of hand. But until then society, the media, and more specifically oversensitive individuals and groups need to have less faith in the over abundance of politically correct guidelines that society has given us to abide by.

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One Response

  1. i would have to say you are dead on

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