Al Roker Demanded Imus Be Fired for Joke; Now Media Ignores Al's Own Insensitive Joke

June 13th, 2007 11:30 AM

Al Roker was one of the villagers with torches who stormed the castle demanding that Don Imus be fired, but now the foot is in the other mouth. On the June 7 edition of the “Today” show, during a segment discussing London's truly horrible 2012 Olympic logo, which was said to have driven people into epileptic seizures upon viewing, Roker cracked a joke about the disorder. Without turning inflecting a politically correct tone or blowing the situation out of proportion, the New York Post reported his comments and next-day apology (hat tip: Insignificant Thoughts):

"Remember that controversial Olympic logo for the 2012 Olympics in London? Some folks have complained that the campaign actually sent them into epileptic seizures," Roker said on Thursday's show.

"Well, we asked you to weigh in on our Web site in an informal poll; those of you who could get up off the floor after shaking around were able to actually log in…"

I guess things have changed since Roker wrote in his blog that he was sick of the “ 'humor' at others expense” and “the cruelty that passes for funny” (bold mine throughout):

I, for one, am really tired of the diatribes, the "humor" at others expense, the cruelty that passes for "funny". Don imus isn't the only one doing this, but today he's the one in the hot seat.

What he said was vile and disgusting. It denigrated an entire team and by extension, a community and its pride in a group that had excelled.


The "I'm a good person who said a bad thing" apology doesn't cut it. At least he didn't try to weasel out of this by hiding behind alcohol or drug abuse. Still, he said it and a two week suspension doesn't cut it. It is, at best a slap on the wrist. A vacation. Nothing.

(...)'s obvious that he needs to move on. Citing "context within a comedy show" is not an exscuse (sic).

He has to take his punishment and start over. Guess what? He'll get re-hired and we'll go on like nothing happened. CBS Radio and NBC News needs to remove Don Imus from the airwaves. That is what needs to happen. Otherwise, it just looks like profits and ratings rule over decency and justice.

Bold words from a man casually walking a similar path. The media ignored a hypocritical joke from Roker, which, as Roker claimed about Imus’ remark, contained “cruelty that passes for ‘funny.’ " Or, perhaps the media ignored the joke because neither the “victim” nor the “perpetrator” fell into their favored categories? However, Roker’s situation differed from Imus’ because the weatherman didn’t have the “excuse” of making the comment on a comedy show.

The Post included the apology, which was delivered the next day:

"I started joking about it. I want to make this clear - I was not joking about epilepsy or anyone who suffers from epilepsy,” he said at around 8:04 a.m. while he was delivering a weather report from Milwaukee..

"We understand and know that this is a serious affliction and would never joke about that.

"We were joking about the logo - not about epilepsy. If anybody was offended, I heartily and really humbly apologize."

So, in this case, the “ 'I'm a good person who said a bad thing' apology” does cut it?

I'm not firing up my own torch and calling for Roker's termination. I don't think he should be fired or hounded. The MSM, “tolerant” leftists and activist groups couldn't push the Imus controversy fast enough or long enough, but Roker's joke somehow evaded their “tolerance radar.” It really seems as though when the offender is on the left, the media allow a comment to be termed a “joke” or a “bad joke,” but when the comment is from someone on the right or someone who isn't left “enough,” it is labeled racism, sexism, prejudice or intolerance.

I just find it interesting that there was no artificially-induced “groundswell” of outrage demanding that another insensitive bigot be fired. I guess Media Matters doesn't care about handicapped people.

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