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Imus Fallout: Ifill Calls Out Russert, Brooks, Newsweek

From yesterday’s “Meet the Press” (which became so consumed with discussing the Imus story that they actually bumped a planned segment on the 2008 presidential race):

    MS. GWEN IFILL: This has been an interesting week. The people who have spoken, people who have issued statements, the pop–the people who haven’t. There’s been radio silence from a lot of people who’ve done this program who could’ve spoken up and said, “I find this offensive” or “I didn’t know.” These people didn’t speak up.

    Tim, we didn’t hear that much from you.

    David, we didn’t hear from you.

She went on to say:

    MS. IFILL: Newsweek, which put all of its journalists regularly on Imus and had no problem with that and was eerily quiet all week until after MSNBC pulled the plug, and then put out a statement saying, “Oh, we’re not going to put our journalists on Imus any more.” People did not cover themselves with glory in this. They waited until the heat was off and then said, “Ah, this is a terrible thing.”

Ifill also turned the tables on Russert when he posed this question:

    MR. RUSSERT: And if Don, Don Imus takes time off and comes back and says, you know, “I was an addict, and I embraced that and tried to educate people about that and educate people about Autism. I’m now going to dedicate my life to racial reconciliation and healing, and I’m going to talk about that on my new program”?

    MR. ROBINSON: Well, people will decide whether they want to sponsor, you know, whether they want to put it on the air, and whether they…

    MS. IFILL: Would you go back on his program if he did that?

    MR. ROBINSON: …want to sponsor it, and whether they want to listen to it.

    MR. RUSSERT: I, I–I’d, I’d certainly listen to it. Absolutely. I mean, if he is dedicating himself–if the, if the Rutgers women’s basketball team said they have forgiven him and they’re trying to seek reconciliation, and he dedicates himself to racial healing, that is, to me, is a very positive step.

    MS. IFILL: We’ll see.

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