Dinner guest


WASHINGTON -- The big talk in Washington is the raunchy performance given by a radio talk show host named Don Imus to the Radio & Television Correspondents Dinner.

Mr. Imus insulted the President and First Lady, sitting just a few feet away from him, as well as the network anchormen, in what the 3,000 attendees considered to be bad taste.

While most media dinners are in questionable taste, this one embarrassed the TV people because it appeared more than once on C-SPAN. The White House had asked C-SPAN not to replay it, but C-SPAN refused the request, thus guaranteeing it the largest audience it ever had.

Those of us in the print media were not surprised that the radio-TV correspondents would screw up as badly as they did by inviting the bawdy Mr. Imus in the first place. We have always maintained that the thinking of the electronic media people does not always go to the third floor.

Ferguson, a reporter on the Washington Post, blamed the TV people's lack of thinking on their haircuts.

"Most TV personalities pay $75 for a haircut, and the blow dryers scramble their brains," Ferguson told me.

had another theory. "Television people are always being invited to parties so they have no idea how to throw one. I'm certain that they thought Don Imus was a magician."

Print journalists have never had any love for the electronic media, since all the news sources in this town would rather say nothing of importance to Dan Rather for 30 seconds than say something of consequence to reporter David Broder for 40 minutes.

We who pay $7 for our haircuts do not have much appetite for radio-TV dinner glitches, but Laurence Whitestone of the Chevy Chase News suggests that a V-chip be built into the podium. Then when someone like Mr. Imus starts his blue routine, a light goes on and the President and his wife know it's time to leave the room.

Pub Date: 3/28/96

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