Bernard J. McGuirk (born October 26, 1957) is the executive producer of the Imus in the Morning radio program. He was born and raised in the South Bronx, New York, where he also worked in his younger years as a taxicab driver. McGuirk has worked in radio and television since 1986 after he graduated from College of Mount Saint Vincent in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, New York in the Monroe Projects. According to the MSNBC website, McGuirk is married with two children and resides in Long Beach, New York.
On air persona
In addition to serving as the show's producer, McGuirk's role on air is that of antagonist to Don Imus, often referring to him as "a wrinkled-up old buzzard" or "scrotum face", while Imus refers to him as a "bald-headed stooge".
McGuirk is also known for his humorous impersonations of notable celebrities, including Cardinal John Joseph O'Connor, Cardinal Edward Egan, C. Ray Nagin, Muhammad Ali, and Maya Angelou. While working at WFAN, he famously called into other shows as "Antwan from the Bronx" and "Jamal from Jamaica."
On the Imus in the Morning show, McGuirk was not known to shy away from saying whatever was on his mind, and always in a heavily accented "Brooklyn cabdriver" deadpan that seemed to both amuse and horrify Imus in equal measure. Imus' sidekick, Charles McCord, often played the role of the instigator, doing his best to egg on McGuirk's famously insensitive but humorous remarks and quips.
- "She strikes me as the kind of woman who would wear one of those suicide vests. You know, walk into the tent or try and sneak into the Green Zone."
McGuirk, whose political views appeared to skew to the center-right of the political spectrum, often made leading Democratic leaders the subject of his scorn. Regarding Presidential aspirant, Barack Obama, McGuirk stated:
- “He’s a neophyte, no experience, it’s all because he’s half black, it’s patronizing, he’s Oprah’s guy.”
After Imus tried to interrupt him, McGuirk went on again to say it was patronizing to support Obama, and referred to him as, “...a jug-eared neophyte.”
On March 16, 2007, while broadcasting from Boston in honor of Saint Patrick's Day, under the guise of Cardinal Egan, McGuirk referred to Imus as a "satchel-faced bastard", a "clueless old creep", and a "Jurassic jerkoff". Continuing his skit, McGuirk later asked Imus as to whether, "...Anderson Cooper was taking it in the pooper", and then accused Imus of being a "Brokeback-looking 'ol lizard", whose wife was having an affair with younger men the moment that Imus left New York City.
Rutgers basketball controversy
McGuirk played a role in an on-air incident on April 4, 2007 that caused a nationwide controversy and ultimately led to Imus and him being fired. During a discussion of the Rutgers University women's basketball team, Imus characterized the players as "rough girls with tattoos." McGuirk responded in his familiar "urban-speak" vernacular by referring to them as "hardcore hos". The ensuing "urban-speak" conversation involved Imus describing the girls as "nappy-headed hos" and McGuirk wondering if Imus meant to imply that the two teams looked like something out of Spike Lee's film School Daze, the "jigaboos versus the wannabes"; apparently referring to the two teams' differing appearances. Imus said "Yeah."
On April 11, 2007, MSNBC announced that it would immediately stop simulcasting the show. Originally, both CBS and MSNBC had announced a two-week suspension of the program. The next day, CBS fired Imus and canceled Imus in the Morning, effective immediately. CBS President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves stated:
|“||From the outset, I believe all of us have been deeply upset and revulsed by the statements that were made on our air about the young women who represented Rutgers University in the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship with such class, energy and talent. There has been much discussion of the effect language like this has on our young people, particularly young women of color trying to make their way in this society. That consideration has weighed most heavily on our minds as we made our decision.||”|
The day before, CBS chairman Sumner Redstone said he trusted Moonves would "do the right thing", but didn't elaborate.
McGuirk was noticeably absent the following week when other Imus contributors, including newsman Charles McCord and sportscaster Chris Carlin, were on the air with the WFAN replacement team of Mike Francesa and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo.
McGuirk was fired by WFAN on April 19, 2007.
On April 26, 2007, McGuirk appeared on the Fox News Channel program Hannity & Colmes to discuss his dismissal. On May 14, 2007 he reappeared on the program to debate Al Sharpton on the events that led to the cancellation of the Imus in the Morning program.
On May 2, 2007, McGuirk made a guest appearance on Jay Severin's radio program. Although there was some speculation in the media that the sometimes controversial station might be auditioning McGuirk for a job, executives of WTKK denied that this was the case.
Boston, Massachusetts talk radio station WRKO had scheduled McGuirk to appear as a co-host with Thomas Finneran from May 23, 2007 to May 25, 2007, but canceled the appearance after enduring several days of public criticism.
Return to the airwaves on WABC
McGuirk returned to the airwaves with Imus on December 3, 2007. Along with serving as the executive producer, he also has an on-air role. The program is now heard on WABC in New York as well being carried on stations owned by or affiliated with the ABC Radio Network. The Fox Business Network simulcasts the program.
McGuirk was one of the several people who rotated hosting of the post-Imus midday slot in from May to October 2010 on WABC, a job that eventually went to Joe Crummey.
- "Imus Producer Bernard McGuirk Speaks Out", FOXNews.com, April 27, 2007
- "Newly fired Imus meets with Rutgers players", CNN.com, April 13, 2007
- "CBS fires Don Imus from radio show", MSNBC.com, April 13, 2007
- "Imus sidekick-producer McGuirk also fired", MSNBC.com, April 20, 2007
- "The Great Debate! Bernard McGuirk vs. Rev. Al Sharpton", FOXNews.com, May 14, 2007
- "Radio Station May Hire Ex-Imus Sidekick Bernard McGuirk", FOXNews.com, May 18, 2007
- "WRKO cancels appearance by McGuirk", The Boston Globe, May 21, 2007