The Radio-Television News Directors Association has condemned Don Imus' racist and sexist comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team, but did not advocate any action against the controversial radio host. The called the situation an opportunity to hold an important debate.
"Broadcasters have an important and powerful role in society and this deeply troubling episode should remind us again that we should never take lightly the power of our words and the commitment to fairness and accuracy," said RTNDA in a statement.
"This unfortunate incident and the heated discussion that has followed has provided a national focus on an issue that deserves attention, both from the public and from the media," RTNDA said.
"This is a moment of opportunity to reinvigorate an important discussion in our society, a discussion about diversity and the devastating impact of ill-chosen language and imagery."
Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd, who announced his presidential candidacy on Imus' show, said Wednesday he also though the controversy was an opportunity for healing and discussion of race relations.
RTNDA also took the opportunity to plug its online diversity initiative by saying to "help guide such conversations in the newsroom, turn to RTNDF’s updated Diversity Toolkit, which contains a downloadable workbook with streaming video of stories to help stations evaluate how they address diversity in their newsrooms and in their coverage.
In other Imus news, the read on the controversy from another senator and presidential candidate, Illinois' Barack Obama, was not as encouraging for the embattled jock.
When asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer whether NBC's MSNBC should can its simulcast of the show, Obama, who says he has two daughters who he hopes will be athletes, said: "NBC should not be having hosts like Don Imus who are making derogatory statements about women and minorities. "Running that over the public airwaves," he said, "is atrocious."
The National Association of Black Journalists has also publicly condemned the remarks.