Free speech makes strange bedfellows

Free speech makes strange bedfellows
: Rush Limbaugh issues a ringing defense of Howard Stern and free speech. Stern has been very critical of Limbaugh but Limbaugh clearly sees there are bigger issues at risk here.

: Says John Robb: “This is entirely driven by Congress and the FCC and not as some Republican apologists claim a purely corporate free speech issue. All the big media companies are scared to death that the government will shut them down (mergers/growth and current business).”

  • Catherine

    Jeff only likes people who agree with him. That doesn’t support an argument Jeff.
    Oh and here’s a DJ who thinks you are wrong and HE is also a BLOGGER!:
    http://www.bigrick.fm/blog/blog1.html

  • anon

    Actually, Drudge quotes Limbaugh saying, “‘I’VE NEVER HEARD HOWARD STERN.”

  • billg

    Why is Clear Channel dropping a syndicated show they buy from someone else any different than Clear Channel firing a disc jockey because they don’t like what he’s doing on the air?
    Or a TV network cancelling a show because they just don’t want it on their network?
    Or a magazine editor canning a writer who won’t follow prescribed style and content rules?
    None of those are censorship or free speech issues,
    This Stern nonsense isn’t a free speech flap, either. It isn’t a censorship flap. Stern can talk all he wants about anything he wants. Clear Channel just decided they weren’t going to let him say it on their stations. Even if the entire FCC membership showed up in CC headquarters.

  • http://youngcurmudgeon.typepad.com Eric Deamer

    Those are some great allies you got there Jeff: Tony Pierce, Robert McClelland, anne.elk, and now Rush Limbaugh. Has Pat Robertson voiced his support yet? Since you’ve made it clear that you think Rush Limbaugh is a hypocrite and a drug addict and should be in jail and is, I don’t know evil, or something, I’m not sure why you care what he has to say now. Whatever it takes, I guess.

  • http://www.psychoticnormalcy.com psynorm

    i disagree. when the federal government starts to get involved in regulating the public airwaves…deciding which personalities and stances are harmful and which are helpful, you find yourself having to consider the free speech and censorship implications.

  • weimdog

    Sean Hannity was echoing Rush’s comments on his show today.
    Interesting to hear Hannity praise Stern for his wit.

  • Catherine

    Psynorm, the government has been regulating the airwaves since airwaves were created. This is nothing new.

  • Tim

    Uh hello, the FCC is cracking down and Clear Channel is being held to account by the GOVERNMENT. Michael Powell is having them do his dirty work for him, but so what — this is still the national government trying to silence a voice, not a private company (which until now has happily broadcast far worse by Stern). Censorship, pure and simple.
    If you don’t like something, turn it OFF. Don’t buy it. Stop subscribing. Go for a walk in the park.
    Crikey, people never change.
    PS Wasn’t EricDeamer moving on to greener pastures?
    “Buzzmachine de-linked. Buzz machine removed from “favorites”. The market has spoken (or perhaps you’re being censored. It’s so hard to tell). Have fun talking to your new audience of Robert McClelland.”
    Or is he just another passive-aggressive Internet windbag?

  • Tim

    Question: Is there anything to stop the FCC from regulating the content of pay radio or cable in the future?

  • CleverNameHere

    IF WE ARE GOING TO SIT BY AND LET THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT GET INVOLVED IN THIS, IF THE GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO ‘CENSOR’ WHAT THEY THINK IS RIGHT AND WRONG… WHAT HAPPENS IF A WHOLE BUNCH OF JOHN KERRYS, OR TERRY MCAULIFFES START RUNNING THIS COUNTRY. AND DECIDE CONSERVATIVE VIEWS ARE LEADING TO VIOLENCE?
    If you’re arguing against “censorship” period, then apparently you feel there should be NO limits on what can be broadcast. Otherwise, you’re really just quibbling about where the line has been drawn.

  • http://www.psychoticnormalcy.com psynorm

    tim,
    i believe that congress would have to give them that power.
    catherine,
    i realize that public airwaves have been regulated since their inception, but that doesn’t mean they can’t over-step their bounds. big business has won their monopoly on public radio, and as such succumb to the whim of those same officials. i don’t think the answer is “well, it’s done…get used to it.”

  • Lee

    Jeff you are a hypocrite. I posted a message which actually included the subject of Stern’s show complete with language and context and you won’t put it on here. So much for freedom of speech.
    I don’t want my nieces turning on the radio and hearing that crap anymore than you want your son looking on here and seeing the f word.
    As for Limbaugh, I don’t listen to him, never have. I think that pundits like Moore, Franken, Hannity, Coulter and Savage have taken political discourse to a low but I don’t think they should be censored. But Stern is just nasty and he crossed the line.

  • Doctor Slack

    Well, due credit to Jeff for sticking to his guns. It’s tempting to say of someone like Stern, “couldn’t happen to a nicer guy,” but Jeff — and yes, even Rush Limbaugh, scumbag though he may otherwise be — are basically right about the bigger issue here. I’ll admit Jeff lost me a bit with the whole “death of broadcast” scenario, but otherwise his position here is perfectly sound and not that hard to understand. The FCC-driven fallout from Pandora’s Boob has gotten way, way, way the hell out of hand, and that’s something people should be recognizing regardless of their politics; it’s not a question of “quibbling over where the line has been drawn,” it’s a question of valid concern over a whole process that’s being carried out in the name of nebulously-defined “community standards.”
    Or is [Eric Dreamer] just another passive-aggressive Internet windbag?
    Heh. You just noticed?

  • billg

    Apart from the workings of their imaginations, no one has produced any evidence that the FCC or any other part of the government was involved in Clear Channel dropping Stern.
    Let’s be clear, too. Clear Channel doesn’t produce Stern. He doesn’t work for them. CC buys the show, the same way your local TV station buys Star Trek reruns. CC didn’t/couldn’t tell Stern to censor himself. They didn’t/couldn’t threaten to censor him. They just stopped buying his show. That’s not censorship.

  • CleverNameHere

    it’s not a question of “quibbling over where the line has been drawn,” it’s a question of valid concern over a whole process that’s being carried out in the name of nebulously-defined “community standards.”
    What’s your objection to the process? Is it just a desire for a better deliniation of standards?
    You either deny that govt. can or should regulate, or you accept that the govt. can or should regulate.
    If you believe the former, you’re finished establishing your position. If you believe the latter, you have to determine where you will draw the line.

  • http://hubris.typepad.com Hubris

    CleverNameHere’s point is valid. Jeff, is your ultimate position that there should be no FCC rules on broadcast content?

  • kkl

    I thought freedom of speech meant that you can say what you like and people can’t kill you. It has never meant that people can say what they want and there aren’t any consequences.
    Howard said something and Clear Channel decided it no longer wanted to buy his program. Sorry, this doesn’t get me worked up. Madonna and the Dixie Chicks also discovered “freedom of speech” consequences last spring, and Madonna (IIRC) also mistakenly blamed it on “censorship.” Censorship and consequences are two different animals.

  • Doctor Slack

    no one has produced any evidence that the FCC or any other part of the government was involved in Clear Channel dropping Stern.
    Come off it. Clear Channel’s “Responsible Broadcasting Initiative,” announced the same day Howard Stern was fired AFAICT, is very obviously a response to the FCC’s Janet-inspired campaign against “indecency.”
    What’s your objection to the process? Is it just a desire for a better deliniation of standards?
    Not “just;” that’s the issue for me here. Near as I can see, the FCC currently has no reliable means of telling whether what it’s deciding are “community standards” actually reflect the will of the community. Absent such means, about all it can do is respond to whatever the public is imagined to want; that sort of thing tends to bias the whole process toward the inclinations of vocal minorities who aren’t necessarily representative at all.

  • Tim

    billg, I’m amazed at your comment: “Apart from the workings of their imaginations, no one has produced any evidence that the FCC or any other part of the government was involved in Clear Channel dropping Stern.”
    What prompted Clear Channel to establish its Responsible Broadcasting Initiative? Hmmm…
    Did this have anything to do with a potential ten-fold increase in fines from the FCC for obscene or indecent content? Did that have anything to do with the Janet Jackson incident at the Super Bowl?
    Why did Clear Channel pick Tuesday’s broadcast of Howard Stern as justification for suspending him when it has broadcast his show with far worse content without complaint?
    Was the timing coincidental with Clear Channel’s appearance before Congress today?
    billg, we’re not even hinting at something as nuanced and indeterminate as a “chilling effect”, which the Supreme Court has always tried to police.
    We’re talking about specific, concrete actions by a government agency to silence by way of fines and threats.
    This is not a private action. This is a direct response to government. Hence, it is explicitly censorship. If there was no FCC at all, this wouldn’t be happening.
    kkl, you might want to pay attention to this reasoning.

  • CleverNameHere

    Not “just;” that’s the issue for me here. Near as I can see, the FCC currently has no reliable means of telling whether what it’s deciding are “community standards” actually reflect the will of the community. Absent such means, about all it can do is respond to whatever the public is imagined to want; that sort of thing tends to bias the whole process toward the inclinations of vocal minorities who aren’t necessarily representative at all.
    OK, fair enough. How do you think the FCC should go about determining community standards?

  • Tim

    Why is the FCC policing content at all? That should be for consumers to do at their own discretion. The FCC, in this area anyway, is a dinosaur — and as Jeff says quite rightly, technological change will make its decrees or rules irrelevant.

  • TomK

    Stern loses interest in Bush, Jeff does same.
    Stern gets cut off from Clear Channel, Jeff goes ballistic.
    You getting marching orders, or are you just a really big fan? :)
    Face it, radio needs to have some standards, don’t you agree? Assuming you do, there’s no point to your diatribe. Stern makes a living by pushing the edge of the standards. If you move the standards out, he’ll just follow and tiptoe along – and eventually cross – the line yet again. The worst thing that could happen to Stern is for the limits to be removed. Then he’d actually have to have content, not the radio version of “shock and awe”.
    You want people to man the barricades in defense of free speech, fine, but don’t ask us to do it with Stern as the focus of the cause. That’s just stupid. Why should I care about where braodcasting standards are set if this clown is just going to try to violate those standards over and over?

  • http://tvh.rjwest.com HH

    Rush’s full comments
    There is also a larger issue of right to privacy going on with Limbaugh’s case but since he’s a “right wing wacko,” only fringe groups like the ACLU are backing him on that.

  • onecent

    Censorship, by definition, can only be an action of government. The government did not take Stern off stations. His employers, motivated by profit and calculating a change in public sentiment to all things smarmy, canned him. His lack of profits going foreward rattled them.
    Sorry, Jeff, I don’t see why you don’t get this.
    Interestingly, yesterday in the news, Lena Horne, a classy icon of a more tasteful era, fired Janet Jackson from her autobiographical movie in early production. Lena expressed indignation at JJ’s behavior. Lena was perfectly right in protecting her image and profit. Censorship, hardly.
    If there was no FCC at all, this wouldn’t be happening.
    What planet have you been on? Editorials, huge public protests in letters and emails and sponsor boycotts following some of the most egregious smarmy antics of media haven’t been noticed by you?

  • Tim

    “What planet have you been on? Editorials, huge public protests in letters and emails and sponsor boycotts following some of the most egregious smarmy antics of media haven’t been noticed by you?”
    onecent, are you drunk? These protests may take down “The Reagans” now and again, but Howard Stern found himself in the middle of a huge political battle between the FCC and the big media companies. THAT is why he was suspended; Clear Channel is terrified of getting bitch-slapped by the FCC, and all that entails. Howard Stern has offended people far worse in the past, but Nipplegate has launched a reckoning.
    Which is depressing. I say elect a Democrat to the White House, if only to introduce some kind of checks and balances to ward off Bush-style demagoguery. And I’m a Republican.

  • Charlie (Colorado)

    I hate to be repetitious, but don’t blame this on the Republicans — there are at least as many, and at least as obnoxious, Democrats involved. Blame Michigan if you must blame someone — both congressthings making trouble this time are from Michigan.
    And remember it was Tipper Gore and Joe Lieberman the last time.
    What I want to know is what we can do about pissy cryptofascists….

  • http://beggingtodiffer.com BTD Hei Lun

    Yeah, when Democrats are back in the White House, they’ll put people back on the air who allow the n-word in their programs. Ain’t free speech great?

  • Khan

    WHAT THE F? Republican apologists? You’re kidding? HYPOCRISY…thy name is Buzzmachine! You’re the one in high dungeon! Not the Repubs! Now a little anmesia and a switcheroo and presto! Repubs fault! Dumb. Like we can’t just scroll down and see the opposite. Thanks for the straw man argument…

  • http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/ Jay Rosen

    Seems to me there is journalism to be done here. Did government pressure, regulatory policies, upcoming hearings, campaign politics have anything to do with it? Reportable story.
    Journalists can try to find out, probably not from Clear Channel, but from the Federal agencies and political actors involved. Just as Libya’s turnaround on WMD was seen as proof that the Bush rules were taking effect, some will want political credit for the Clear Channel “turnaround” to go somewhere. And those are people reporters can go to, at least for a start on the story.
    We don’t know “government pressure” was involved. We don’t know it was purely a business decision. But we might if the right digging is done.

  • Catherine

    Jeez, I can hear those black helicopters whirring over head.
    You are crazy. It doesn’t matter if Clinton was President or Gore or Kerry, we would be going through the same machinations. It was under Clinton and Janet Reno that the Decency in Communications Act was passed in 1996 (later struck down by the Supreme Court). Anyone who doesn’t realize that a democratic President wouldn’t matter in this issue, is an idiot.
    Another point, the FCC Panel is bi-partisan.
    Last point, Jeff, why don’t you post some people who disagree with you? Like Intapundit’s Glenn Reynolds who actually KNOWS the law?

  • Tonto

    Interesting that nobody faults Janet Jackson for her sheer stupidity. Other than Lena Horne.

  • anne.elk

    Jeff,
    Read what Rush says, he is just using this as a way to bash Kerry and Edwards as weak on free speech. It’s a bogus argument and Rush is just trying drudge up fear (pun intended) and smear the dems.
    Jeff, you’re missing the point. It’s not a free speech issue. It’s what that guy you love to bash, Lessig, would say is a problem with big corporate ownership of media.
    Clear Channel is doing this to get Bushski re-elected and to damage viacom and to get more plush frequency allocation and monopoly bending rules out of Michael Powell.
    Bash Clear Channel all you want, not for free speech infringement, but for being a big ugly media monster. Then apologize to Lessig.

  • kkl

    Tim, you missed my point. Consequences are different than censorship. A company failing to purchase broadcast rights is different than a government disallowing the right of a broadcast to be heard.
    Stern is still heard on lots of channels, no? Stearn suffered a consequence, not a censor. Big dif.

  • Charlie (Colorado)

    Clear Channel is doing this to get Bushski re-elected and to damage viacom and to get more plush frequency allocation and monopoly bending rules out of Michael Powell.

    Jeez, Anne, John Dingell is doing this to get Bush re-elected? It’s not like Clear Channel started this mess.

  • Hubris

    Jeff, this is somehat repetitive, but why haven’t you been this angry before? Do you really believe that FCC rules haven’t affected what you’ve seen on TV, or heard on radio, the past few decades? Is this new or simply more vigorous enforcement of rules that weren’t stringently enforced for a period of time?

  • KMK

    I posted this article on the thread below by a FindLaw columnist Julie Hilden. http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/02/20/findlaw.analysis.hilden.jackson/
    She also wrote this article about the Bono and Paris Hilton f* words on live broadcast.
    http://writ.news.findlaw.com/hilden/20031223.html
    She’s right. Her solution is simple “increasing the time delays that allow review — and censorship — of live broadcasts”.
    It should have been legal enough for Catherine to understand, as Julie goes through it law by law, the first time around. CC caved and Stern was the fall guy. You may not care that it’s Stern this time but you might not be so happy with the next person/broadcaster who gets strong-armed. The idea that the FCC and Congress will not enact further speech restrictions is a hoot! They are just warming up.

  • angell

    If speech restrictions exist and a code of conduct exists, why don’t people do the honorable and classy thing and follow the rules? I would be fired from my job if I did not follow the rules of conduct. Why should it be any different for Howard Stern? Free speech is not being a classless, loudmouthed, foul mouthed prick. You can get your point across with class–but Howard lacks that, doesn’t he?

  • http://www.thefatguy.com Scott Chaffin

    Who the eff is John Robb? Why’s a software dude the authority on this? Yeesh, he’s not even working anymore…he’s sitting around counting his cash and being a pundit. Well, my mind is changed…

  • a friend

    All the big media companies are scared to death that the government will shut them down (mergers/growth and current business).
    This is worth quoting verbatim? “All?” “Big media” — who, exactly? “Scared to death!” “Shut them down!” Can anyone take that seriously? And “shut down” means “mergers, growth and current business.”
    This topic has run its course — quotes from Robb, Rush, Tony Pierce(!) are offered as substantiating the initial insights. Who are these geniuses going to convince? Let’s get the obligatory reference to Hitler in here and declare this thread dead.

  • Jeremy

    I am amazed that the racist angle is being ignored.
    The reason that they dropped this was Stern allowed a caller on air to use the N-word, and then make a watermelon joke.
    If Howard Stern were a republican, or conservative leaning, not only would he be immediately fired, people would be up in arms. But since he’s a democrat, no one cares.
    And he has a past history of it. That thing on lileks about Stern asking an African woman about eating a monkey. Good lord. That’s one of the most rephrensible things I’ve ever heard about a radio show.
    I never imagined Jeff Jarvis was a racist. But he must be, if he enjoys racist filth like that.

  • http://leatherpenguin.blogspot.com TC

    when did Howard Stern get his first FCC fine?
    stop blaming the current administration. Howard has been cooking this for fifteen years.

  • http://www.gapingvoid.com hugh macleod

    Well, I like Howard Stern, so this story saddens me.
    Still, his franchise is valuable enough to where if there a demand for his product in Clear Channel’s areas, he’ll find other outlets.
    With the internet, a lot of big media companies are being exposed to have had artificial monopolies on content. It’s amazing how vulnerable they are once the monopolies are removed.

  • sickles

    - Yes, Clear Channel is a company with the full right and responsibility to decide what to put on its air. But that’s not what’s happening here. The government is behind this. The government called broadcast chieftens to the woodshed and they came back vowing to avoid further government censure. Mel Karmazin of Viacom, owner of Stern’s station, held a conference call threatening to fire DJs, program directors, and general managers who are even the subject of complaint.
    Mr. Jarvis says there is a government conspiracy behind all of this.
    If you could, Mr. Jarvis, provide us with a little more clear proof on this claim which would lend more credence to your censorship claims. I would find your argument much more persuasive.

  • billg

    Tim, Doctor Slack: Sure, Clear Channel is swaying with the political winds. Few corporations don’t. But there was no government decree ordering Stern to modify his content or for Clear Channel to take him off the air. That’s waht I call censorship. The rest is just gamesmanship by a players who deserve no one’s respect.
    If CC dropping Stern from a handful of stations is “censorship”, is it also censorship to drop any program, for any reason?
    As for the constant assertion that Clear Channel “fired” Stern, they dropped his show. Stern is still on the air all over the country on hundredsd of other radio stations.
    Meanwhile, those of you worried about censorship — a legitimate worry — ought to pick a better object lesson than a divisive, obvious and coarse oaf like Stern. Not much sympathy out there for him.

  • Dan Herzlich

    It happened. Stern said he would vote for Kerry. Anybody but Bush who he says has a “religious” agenda. Whatever. Bush is in deep S.
    Who the f is Bush’s campaign strategist? I don’t really care because I want to see a Democrat in the W-house. ;)
    DS

  • http://weblog.burningbird.net Shelley

    The FCC has had a set of standards in place for years. If anything, they have been loosening up lately, but thanks to Janet, we can kiss that good-bye.
    But it’s not just the United States. Read the following case about Stern’s meeting with the Canadian board of standards.
    http://www.cbsc.ca/english/decisions/decisions/1997/971017.htm
    Then take a closer look at why Stern was in trouble with the Canadians.
    Want to hear a Stern joke. How about the following , in regards to the Littleton massacre:
    “There were some really good-looking girls running out with their hands over their heads. Did those kids try to have sex with any of the good-looking girls? They didn’t even do that? At least if you’re going to kill yourself and kill all the kids, why wouldn’t you have some sex? If I was going to kill some people, I’d take them out with sex.”
    Don’t know Littleton massacre? That’s Columbine High School.
    I pick my heros based on people who do heroic things. I don’t just pick people who are ‘hot’ at the moment, and then look for either a conspiracy or an agenda.
    This is not a case of free speech. Last I heard, Stern was practicing his sexist, racist BS without hinderance.

  • chitrader

    “I pick my heros based on people who do heroic things. I don’t just pick people who are ‘hot’ at the moment, and then look for either a conspiracy or an agenda.”
    Good for you Shelley. Unfortnately, most First Amendment cases are not fought over heroes but villians like the KKK in Skokie or perceived villians like communists in Hollywood or Lenny Bruce in the 50s. Welcome to the new blacklist, where seldom is heard a politically incorrect word and the airwaves are boring all day.

  • Doctor Slack

    The reason that they dropped this was Stern allowed a caller on air to use the N-word, and then make a watermelon joke.
    But as you note, he has a long history of that kind of antics. Why is Clear Channel suddenly pious now? (And why only about Stern? Jeff is right to note their hypocrisy on the issue of Gibson’s film in his post today.)
    I’ve not a whit of sympathy for Stern himself (and TomK makes a good point above about his being thoroughly uninspiring as the focus for a battle over free speech), but this happened for the wrong reason entirely. And yes, the reason it happened does matter; much of the Pandora’s Boob furore that led to this was whipped up by conservapundits no better than Stern himself. They haven’t earned that kind of influence over the public airwaves, and I don’t see much evidence that they speak for the public at large.
    But there was no government decree ordering Stern to modify his content or for Clear Channel to take him off the air.
    I’m not sure what you’re looking for here. That there was pressure and threatening noises from the FCC is clear (and no, I don’t see Jeff talking “government conspiracy” as someone claims above). CC didn’t “sway with the political winds” without good reason, and we don’t need an iron-fisted proclamation from the White House to notice that the origin of those political winds was the FCC.
    How do you think the FCC should go about determining community standards?
    IMO it would be good if they had some statistically sound methods of polling the community to determine what the majority of people think the standards should be. I’m sure other solutions are possible as well, but that’s the one that leaps immediately to mind.

  • http://weblog.burningbird.net Shelley

    But chitrader, the KKK at least believes in the crap they say. As for comparing Stern to Lenny Bruce, I can’t agree. Lenny Bruce really was pushing the bubble as a free speech point. He paid for this in his life and in his career. And he knew this, and made the decisions he made, and was a more powerful symbol because he was harmed by his actions.
    But even towards the end, Bruce stopped fighting censorship and just plain fought. Saying whatever would generate the most anger or disgust, without any style whatsoever. Doped and angry at everyone, and it showed.
    Bruce started a fight against censorship, but Stern, he just wants to be more famous. I don’t even think he cares about censorship.
    I will support people who say offensive things, but not to make themselves famous. Not to make themselves richer. Not to twist freedom of speech — guaranteed to allow people to speak out against the government because of their beliefs — for their own ends, and then sit back while legions of fans and pundits cry out, ‘Censorship'; all the time the so-called instigators like Stern laugh at the trained monkey act, all the way to the bank.

  • http://floyd.best.vwh.net/weblog/blogger.html Floyd McWilliams

    “Mr. Jarvis says there is a government conspiracy behind all of this.
    If you could, Mr. Jarvis, provide us with a little more clear proof on this claim which would lend more credence to your censorship claims. I would find your argument much more persuasive.”
    “Conspiracy” is a strawman, but if you want to find government influence you can just read today’s news:
    “Clear Channel to Congress: sorry
    WASHINGTON (Hollywood Reporter) – After the nation’s top shock jock was yanked from a half-dozen Clear Channel radio stations, the company’s top executive apologized to Congress for the raunchy material his stations have aired in the past and promised it would never happen again.
    John Hogan, president of 1,200-station group, told members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce that he was “ashamed of material like that spewed by ‘Bubba the Love Sponge’ and ‘The Howard Stern Show.”‘
    “We were wrong to air that material,” Hogan said. “I accept responsibility for our mistake, and my company will live with the consequences of its actions.”
    “Bubba,” which aired on stations in Florida until the company fired Todd Clem, aka Bubba the Love Sponge, this week, recently drew a $715,000 proposed fine from the FCC for indecent material and a $40,000 fine for record-keeping violations. Clear Channel said late Wednesday that Howard Stern’s show would be pulled from the company’s half-dozen stations that had carried it, and “Stern” did not run on those stations Thursday.
    Lawmakers grilled Hogan on his decision, wondering why he made it now since the shows, particularly Stern’s, have changed little over the years.”
    It took me all of 30 seconds to find this article on Drudge.

  • h0mi

    Howard said something and Clear Channel decided it no longer wanted to buy his program. Sorry, this doesn’t get me worked up.
    It goes further than this. Howard’s home station failed to hit the button, dumping his show and that exchange went out on the air.
    The conspiracy theorists (who think this is an attempt to get back at Stern for opposing Bush this year, even though Stern also tore into Bush in 2001) fail also to note that the big problem is, there’s NO standard for what obscenity is. An episode of Friends where 2 people talk about urinating on each other is OK but if Stern talked about it on his show, that probably would “cross the line”.
    Tim- You don’t listen to stern’s show much have you? Or you haven’t been listening long. During the 90s (and I’m sure since 2000) radio stations that carried the Stern show were beset with protest letters & similar letters sent to their sponsors, demanding that the show be taken off the air, or that the sponsor stop sponsoring the Stern show. Not unlike the efforts against Savage or Dr. Laura mind you. I don’t know whether these letters were successful but I’m sure in some markets there was some success. And if you think electing a Democrat will fix it, you weren’t paying attention when the FCC fined Infinity broadcasting over 1 million in 1995 for Stern’s broadcasts that included indecent remarks like “Big Black Lesbian”.
    Then there’s the fact that Michael Powell was named by Clinton, not Bush to head the FCC. But lets not let a few facts get in the way to demagogue about Bush.
    I don’t think there was any specific government pressure on Clear Channel to do this; Clear channel just got fined 700K for Bubba the Love Sponge fired him. Was BLS also praising Al Franken’s book?
    You think they might be a little concerned after having just gotten fined like that PRE-Janet boob?