: Isn’t it ironic that at the the same time Clear Channel kicks Howard Stern off their air, it sponsors a screening of Mel Gibson’s Passion, a movie that is being condemned in many quarters for stirring up anti-Semitism.
I’ll defend Gibson’s right to make the movie, anyone’s right to show it or see it, and Clear Channel’s right to sponsor a screening.
But let’s note that many of the same people who are flocking to the movie who are complaining about Stern.
I know my pointing that out will drive some of you nuts so consider that stipulated. I just could not resist pointing out the irony. (And thanks to the reader who brought it to my attention.)
: Jay Rosen says in comments below that whether Clear Channel succumbed to government pressure is a “reportable story.”
Not sure I agree. Clear Channel is not going to acknowledge publicly that it acted sheerly for political reasons and to give it lobbying juice. Nor is anyone in government going to brag about censoring media directly.
But we do know that Clear Channel bumped Stern the day after its executives where called to Woodshed, D.C. to testify before Congress.
We do know that executive acknowledged to Congress that Stern has not changed his act at all but that Clear Channel has decided to change its rules.
And we know that Stern says Clear Channel told him they were doing this because of government pressure.
So sometimes, all a journalist — and, more important, a journalist’s readers — can do is put two and two together. Clear Channel pulled Stern the day before the testimony before Congress and the testimony before Congress comes after the Janet Jackson breast flap and that’s the only thing that has changed; Clear Channel acknowledges that Stern hasn’t.
It adds up to government pressure and a government-induced chill on speech to me.
: Glenn Reynolds (who also rocks) says I am over the top on Stern. Well, I think Glenn’s over the top on the Second Amendment. Different things push our buttons.
Glenn seems to think that this just a matter of a media company deciding to kill a show I like. But it’s not. It’s much more than that. A media company can kill shows anytime — but Clear Channel didn’t. Again, the company acknowledges before Congress that Stern hasn’t changed a thing. The company decided to pull the show only after it came under the thumb of government pressure.
I do not want the government deciding what I can say and what I can hear. Period.
Government interference in free speech does put me over the top. You bet it does. This is not about poop jokes. This is about nothing less than protecting the First Amendment.
You have your amendment, Glenn, my friend. And I have mine.
: Howard Kurtz says: “Does anyone detect a pungent whiff of hypocrisy?”
: UPDATE: Motley Fool agrees with my analysis out of the whole Stern et al flap: Buy satellite stock.