I’m not sure whether I said this already in a post or an email, but in any case..
Imus said “Nappy Headed Hos”.
The outrage industry sprang into action, because that is their entire job.
The media covered it, because all of the major players were happy to come to them, and news coverage consisted largely of replaying existing footage, or cutting and pasting press releases. This equaled a cheap to produce (in time and dollars) article or news segment, especially compared to the two wars that are going on right now
People liked it because it was widespread and easy to understand. Anyone could shoot his mouth off to anyone else and not get schooled by someone who knew more about the topic. There was also no personal connection to anyone they knew, so no feelings could be hurt.
There is no deep meaning to the “controversy”.