Imus in the Morning's McGuirk: First they came for me ...

››› ››› RYAN CHIACHIERE

On the April 26 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Bernard McGuirk, who was fired by CBS Radio for, according to MSNBC, "his role in the ugly incident" involving Don Imus, asserted, "it's like the oft-quoted anti-Nazi German pastor who said, you know, first, they came for the Communists, but I wasn't a Communist, so I didn't say anything. Then they came for the Jews, but I'm not a Jew, I didn't say anything. Then they came for the Catholics, but I'm a Protestant. Then when they came for me, there was nobody to speak." McGuirk was responding to a question from co-host Alan Colmes, who asked, "And now you've got JV and Elvis, also CBS properties, who are suspended because of a bit that they did. I wonder if you're closely following that and if you have strong feelings about what should happen in that situation."

On the April 4 edition of Imus in the Morning, which was simulcast by MSNBC, McGuirk described members of the Rutgers women's basketball team as "[s]ome hard-core hos." Imus responded by saying, "That's some nappy-headed hos there." After a week of controversy over the remarks, MSNBC decided that it would no longer simulcast the program, and CBS Radio announced that it was firing Imus and canceling his radio show. On April 20, McGuirk was fired for his role in the incident. While appearing on Hannity & Colmes, McGuirk apologized to the Rutgers team.

Colmes responded to McGuirk's invocation of "the oft-quoted anti-Nazi German pastor" by saying: "Niemoller, that was the guy," referring to Rev. Martin Niemoller, a German Protestant pastor who is credited with penning a famous statement about the Nazis called "First They Came." McGuirk then asserted: "Niemoller, right, exactly," and added that "it's the same thing. It seems to be a slippery slope."

According to the entry on Niemoller in the Jewish Virtual Library, Niemoller said: "First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me."

Later, when Colmes asked, "What do you want to have happen now?" McGuirk said he hoped "[w]e go back to where we can -- everybody can relax, and everybody can have fun, and we can poke fun at each other, and not take it too seriously." McGuirk added, "Everybody's got to lighten up. And that people in the radio community and the broadcast community don't take this sitting down, because it is a slippery slope. It can happen to you, so stand up for, you know, what's right." Colmes replied, "Absolutely," and co-host Sean Hannity asserted, "I hope you get back to work soon."

Earlier in the program, McGuirk asserted that the word "ho," which he used to describe the Rutgers women's basketball team, "doesn't mean, you know, a woman who is, you know, promiscuous. It's just a pejorative slang term for a woman." McGuirk added, "I didn't get the memo that it was elevated to the status, or lowered to the status of the N-word." He also claimed to have referred to "renowned authors Mary and Carol Higgins Clark" as "the Higgins Clark hos, you know, for fun."

As Media Matters for America has noted, McGuirk has referred to Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) as having a "Jew-hating name." Additionally, when host Don Imus referred to the "Jewish management" at CBS as "money-grubbing bastards," McGuirk said: "Even if you wear a beanie, how can you not love the [gospel group] Blind Boys [of Alabama]?"

On April 15, Michael Smerconish, whose radio broadcast was simulcast in place of Imus in the Morning from April 23 to 27, posted an entry on the weblog Huffington Post titled "First They Came for Imus" in which he asserted, "The very day Imus was fired at CBS, I was alerted to a posting on Media Matters for America, a sophisticated Web site instrumental in stoking the flames for Imus' departure. The posting, titled 'It's not just Imus,' identified me as one of seven talk-show hosts in America who bear observation." Smerconish later asked, "How long before they start burning my tapes?"

From the April 26 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:

COLMES: But what I'm trying to get -- at the moment that that took place, though, was there any sense was, "We've gone too far"? Or was that not a thought at that moment?

McGUIRK: At that particular moment, no, no, not at that particular moment. That wasn't -- because, again, we engage in this type of humor all the time. I mean, you know, we have people like, say, renowned authors Mary and Carol Higgins Clark. They would come on the program, and we would refer to them as the Higgins Clark hos, you know. For fun. They'd come on, they'd laugh about it.

So the use of that word -- and it's so prevalent in today's society, and it doesn't mean, you know, a woman who is, you know, promiscuous. It's just a pejorative slang term for a woman. Unfortunately, and, you know, I didn't get the memo that it was elevated to the status, or lowered to the status of the N-word. I hadn't gotten the memo thus far.

[...]

HANNITY: Do you think you should have apologized to the girls? If you had an opportunity -- you have an opportunity now.

McGUIRK: I would have, sure. I mean --

HANNITY: You can now. Do you want to say anything to them?

McGUIRK: I apologize. You know, I have a daughter who's an 11-year-old girl. She plays on a basketball team. And if anybody characterized her directly as, you know, the H-word, you know, I'd kick their teeth in, you know, if I saw it happen in real time.

You know, but we dwelt in a world of, you know, comedy, ridicule. And at the time, it was just an abstract group of women. Of course, in retrospect, that wasn't the case. But, you know -- and, again, so the apologies, all of that legitimate and necessary.

[...]

COLMES: And now you've got JV and Elvis, also CBS properties, who are suspended because of a bit that they did.

McGUIRK: Right.

COLMES: I wonder if you're closely following that, and if you have strong feelings about what should happen in that situation.

McGUIRK: Well, no, I mean, it's like the oft-quoted anti-Nazi German pastor who said, you know, first, they came for the Communists, but I wasn't a Communist, so I didn't say anything. Then they came for the Jews, but I'm not a Jew, I didn't say anything. Then they came for the Catholics, but I'm a Protestant. Then when they came from me, there was nobody to speak.

COLMES: Niemoller, that was the guy.

McGUIRK: Niemoller, right, exactly. And it's the same thing. It seems to be a slippery slope.

[...]

COLMES: What do you want to have happen now? What is your hope that happens now? What do you want to see happen?

McGUIRK: What is my hope?

HANNITY: Get back to work.

McGUIRK: Well, I hope that [Rev.] Al Sharpton's blow dryer falls in the -- no. No. No. What do I hope? I hope everything --

HANNITY: I think you learned. You just monitored yourself.

COLMES: See, right there you stopped yourself from doing something.

McGUIRK: We go back to where we can -- everybody can relax, and everybody can have fun, and we can poke fun at each other, and not take it too seriously. Everybody's got to lighten up. And that the people in the radio community and the broadcast community don't take this sitting down, because it is a slippery slope. It can happen to you, so stand up for, you know, what's right.

COLMES: Absolutely.

HANNITY: All right. I hope you get back to work soon.

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, Race & Ethnicity
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Show/Publication
Hannity & Colmes, Imus in the Morning
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