Laura Ingraham and Larry Elder on Imus Uproar

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This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," April 10, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Our top story tonight is the continuing controversy following remarks made by radio talk show host Don Imus. Now, Imus went on the air today on his show to defend himself after NBC and CBS Radio suspended coverage of his radio show.


DON IMUS, RADIO HOST: This was a comedy routine called — where we make up the news, which we've been doing since 1968 on the radio.

MATT LAUER, "TODAY" SHOW HOST: But, Don, I'm responsible for what happens on our program.

IMUS: So am I.

LAUER: So you have to be responsible for what the content is.

IMUS: I am responsible for it. Absolutely, but it was comedy. It wasn't a malicious rant. I wasn't angry. I wasn't drunk. I wasn't stating some sort of philosophy. As I said yesterday morning, I'm not a racist.


COLMES: Now, this afternoon the Rutgers basketball team also broke their silence speaking to a press conference of reporters in New Jersey.


RUTGERS UNIVERSITY WOMEN'S BASKETBALL COACH: Are women hos? Think about that. Would you have wanted your daughter to have been called that? It's not about they as black people or as nappy-headed. It's about us as a people, black, white, purple or green. And I want to suggest that, as much as I speak about that, the truth of the matter is that it is not even black and white. The color is green.


COLMES: Joining us now, more on this developing story, radio talk show host Laura Ingraham and Larry Elder. We welcome you both.

Larry, where do you stand on this?

LARRY ELDER, ABC RADIO NETWORK: Well, I think the statement obviously was stupid. It was racist. It was sexist. It was bone-headed. And why Don Imus thinks you can say something like that in this day and age and get away with it is beyond me.

But it also shows you the double standard and the selective outrage. I find it just laughable that people do the perp walk on the Al Sharpton show, when this guy referred to Jews as "diamond-merchants" and whites as "interlopers", called the Central Park jogger a whore, said her boyfriend did it, and to this day has never apologized to Steven Pagones for falsely accusing him of sexually assaulting Tawana Brawley. I mean, it's a joke.

COLMES: Yes, you raise a good question. Who is the arbiter of what is appropriate and what is not appropriate? Are Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson the right — is anybody the right person to pass judgment on anybody else? And isn't this what Imus has always done? Not that what he did was appropriate; it wasn't. But do we want to be calling for his head on a silver platter?

ELDER: Well, if you're back to me, as far as I'm concerned, Alan, in the great department store of life, Don Imus operates in the toy section. These people that I mentioned, like Al Sharpton — Al Sharpton ran for president of the United States.

And you have people like the NAACP calling for his head, when the chairman of the NAACP, Julian Bond, said of the Bush cabinet appointees that they came from the Taliban wing of the Republican Party. He said that both before and after 9/11, has never apologized for it. I can go down the list...


COLMES: That's not exactly the same thing as calling — that's not a racial epithet like what Imus said.

You know, Laura, Imus had no — I believe him when he said he had no malice in his heart. I don't think, in his mind, he was consciously making a racial statement.

LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I think you've known him for a long time. I know him somewhat. And, frankly, if it weren't for Ronald Reagan, Rush Limbaugh, and Don Imus, I wouldn't be in radio today. So I owe Imus a debt of gratitude, even though he and I kind of have a love-hate relationship, which is probably more on the hate side right now, for whatever reason.

COLMES: Everything's cyclical with Imus.


INGRAHAM: Well, look, you know, he has condemned what he said. Everybody has condemned what he said. So that's done, OK? Now he said he's going to make amends. He's going to do various things.

And I would point out that I'm not going to tell black people how they should feel about these comments. I don't think that's right for me to do.

However, I also would say that conservatives have been saying for a long time that it's time to try to lift up the culture and try to expose what is good about the culture and also try to, perhaps, push aside what is bad about the culture and discourage it.

And when I see that Universal Music Group, which is — as you know, it's NBC, Universal, Vivendi, Universal Music Group funds people like Akon, whose song, "I Want to (Blank) You," was the number-one song in the country last month, or Snoop Dogg, or 50 Cent, whose song, "Hos Surround Me" or "Hos Surround Us," I think to myself, "Wait a second, these companies are making hundreds of millions of dollars off of the degradation of women and minorities and white people, and, frankly, all Americans."

COLMES: I think you make a great point.

INGRAHAM: And I think we should talk about that.

COLMES: It is selective — Larry, it is selective outrage. And now it's all of this piling on. And maybe Imus — you know, he apologized. I wish now he'd just stop apologizing and he could get on with his show and his life, you know what I mean?

ELDER: Alan, I do, too. And you mentioned racial — let's compare apples to apples. One of those who's calling for his head is Spike Lee. Spike Lee said that he hated interracial couples. And when he sees interracial couples, he gives them visual daggers.

Rep. Charlie Rangel, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the powerful Democrat from New York, once said of the then-Republican Congress, "They don't say spick or nigger anymore. They just say, 'Let's cut taxes.'"

Nobody said a word. Nobody demanded an apology. But somebody Don Imus, who these young ladies at Rutgers probably never heard of before this, is raked over the coals and has to do the perp walk.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Laura, it's Sean. Look, everyone agrees it's wrong and despicable. He's apologized. I don't think he should be fired. Give him a chance to make good, as he said he would.

I want to bring the issue of his parent corporation, because everyone is acting like they're all shocked at this. We've got Gwen Ifill being, you know, called a "cleaning lady" by Don Imus.

INGRAHAM: That was in the Reagan administration. That was in part of a big comedy routine.

HANNITY: I'm just going through the history.

INGRAHAM: I'm not defending it, but it was a long time ago.

HANNITY: All right, you want to defend everything he said? Do you want to refer to him and his colleagues referred to the New York Knicks as a group of chest-thumping pimps?

INGRAHAM: No, they called me a lesbian, Sean, at one point. I mean, they're always ridiculing everybody. I've been called everything, OK?

HANNITY: My point is, all the NBC people go on the program, and they're all acting now like, oh, this is a big shock.

INGRAHAM: Oh, my gosh!

HANNITY: I have a list a mile long here.


HANNITY: And my only point is, is that everyone is now distancing themselves from him, but they knew what they were getting.

INGRAHAM: Well, he is a shock jock, OK? He's one of the first shock jocks. They always walk right to the edge of the line on that show, and it's a dangerous place to be in our politically correct culture.

And I would point out that, when Christians or Jews are upset because a show portrays them in one way or another, or the chocolate Jesus or whatever, they're always told by the predominant media, "Ah, just turn it off, don't look at it. You know, this is the marketplace at work."

And I would say that the same people who are, you know, really upset about Imus — and I think some of them have a right to be upset about Imus — just turn it off.

HANNITY: Wait a minute. He got a letter from — I got a copy of an ADL letter that was sent out to him. There was a book that was called out, "The Christmas Thief." He referred to the publishers as "thieving Jews." He offered apology on the show, where he said, "I apologize. I realize that's redundant."

INGRAHAM: Well, I mean, Imus has offended pretty much everyone, including every guest he's ever had on his show. So, you know, again, this is par for the course. And I think, if this can do something good to elevate the culture, then actually this whole episode, as irritating and tedious and depressing as it is, I think it could do something positive.

HANNITY: I don't think he should be fired. I don't. I think there's a lot of people that want to fire a lot of people. I think everyone's got a choice. We all can turn the dial.

INGRAHAM: You and I are next.

HANNITY: Did Howard Stern, Larry, have a point where this is the way he's been, these are the controversial things that he says, he says they're not mean-spirited, that he's an equal-opportunity basher? Was Stern right in suggesting he shouldn't have apologized, saying this is what I do, I joke about these things?

ELDER: Sean, I can't comment on it, because I don't listen to Don Imus's or Stern's show often enough to know. But I know this: This is yet another example of the mainstream media taking somebody who says something malicious, a white guy, and acting as if this is the number-one problem facing black America.

White racism is reviled in America. And the fact that so many people are condemning Don Imus is an example of that.

The real problem facing the so-called black underclass has to do with children having children, as Bill Cosby has pointed out, the 50 percent inner city dropout rate, as Cosby has pointed out. These are the kinds of things that are affecting black people.

These young ladies, who are Rutgers players, one of them is a straight-A student, a music student. Another one wants to be a teacher. I dare say their careers are not going to be affected by something that Don Imus said.

HANNITY: Well, Laura, let's go back to the issue of the people that are now out there in front on this, and that's the Reverend Al Sharpton and the Reverend Jesse Jackson. Both of them have — and we'll go through this in a little bit more detail — they've all made controversial statements, outrageous statements in the past. Do they have the moral authority? The issue of spitting in people's food because of the color of their skin, "Hymie Town", "interloper", as Larry pointed out earlier, "diamond merchants" as has been said.

INGRAHAM: Well, Sean, I can tell you that, to my radio show this morning — and I'm glad you joined me, by the way. You were very good on the show.

HANNITY: Thank you.

INGRAHAM: Look, people called in. A lot of African-American listeners called in. And I was stunned at how many said, "They don't represent me. I don't much like Imus, and I'm glad he's suspended, but they don't represent me." And I thought that was good. I think there's a real variety of opinions out there in the black community, and I think we'll see how it all falls out.

COLMES: We'll pick it up in a second. By the way, I guess I missed your invitation for me to come on the show, Laura, but...


INGRAHAM: Well, you're always welcome, Alan, that's a given.

ELDER: I didn't get one, either.

HANNITY: Thank you.

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