Conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh drew strong criticism from black journalists on Wednesday after he announced on the air that it's acceptable for him to use the n-word because some African Americans use it as slang, according to Media Matters.
Gregory Lee Jr., president of the National Association of Black Journalists, said Limbaugh should know better.
"We don't use any other offensive words on the air, why is this okay?" said Lee, who is also South Florida Sun-Sentinel executive sports editor. "As a professional broadcaster, he should have a deeper understanding of why. He knows why, but he knows this will help pump money into his empire by saying things of this sort."
At issue is a comment Limbaugh made on his syndicated radio show July 16th, in which he reacted to a CNN interview with Rachel Jenteal, a friend of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin and witness in the murder trial of George Zimmerman. Jenteal had testified at the trial about her phone conversation with Martin the night he was shot and killed by Zimmerman.
In the CNN interview, Jenteal was asked if there was anything she wished she had said at the trial, she answered that she wished she had said, "n***a" in her court testimony.
After he played an audio clip of the CNN interview Limbaugh stated:
“This was between 9 and 10 pm last night on CNN, who is in a quest to become the, again, most respected news organization in the country, perhaps even in the world. So, "n***a," with an "a" on the end, well I think I can now. Isn't that the point? 'Cause it's not racist. That's the point. I could be talking about a male, a Chinese male, a guy at the Laundromat. I could be talking about a man. That's what she said it means,” Limbaugh said.
Last year he lost advertisers for about two weeks in the wake of comments about Sandra Fluke. But it was unclear what action journalists planned to take against the longtime race-baiter, if any. If they do decide to speak out, they just might be able to bring about change. In 2009 CBS announced that it had fired Don Imus from his radio show after a week of controversy over his derogatory comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team.
Read more at Media Matters.