The daily Stern: SternSpace

The daily Stern: SternSpace

: Howard Stern is mobilizing his audience to vote his way in this election (against Bush and any Congressmen setting themselves up as our moral jury).

Well, then, he needs SternSpace. What Howard Dean et al built and every presidential candidate then (tried) to use, Stern — or any celebrity activist — could use to mobilize fans and followers. The elements are now obvious:

> A weblog to inform his audience — especially those who cannot now hear him thanks to Clear Channel. It should report on what Stern is saying, on his stand on candidates, on schedules of concerts and rallies, on news from the FCC or candidates. Any volunteers?

> Weblog comments or a forum, where his audience can come together, meet, plan, and talk about their man.

> MeetUps. See yesterday’s daily Stern post; there already is a MeetUp for Stern fans and it’s essentially unused now. All Stern has to do is promote it once and all of a sudden, Stern fans everywhere will be meeting (at bars; forget the cafes).

> Audio and video. Stern can’t and won’t stream his show on the Internet, for that would undercut his radio stations. But he could put up a few segments on this topic as MP3s; I guarantee they would be spread all over the Internet in an instant.

> Merchandise. Stern has always refused to rip off his audience with Stern mugs. But this is different: It’s a movement. And movements need bumperstickers, T-shirts, and buttons to show how big the movement is. Stern can use CafePress.

> Digital stuff. Stern’s audience creates brilliant song parodies and such. So set them loose on the cause (a la MoveOn): Have them create commercials and songs and posters and just give them a placee to share all that.

All this can be set up in a day: A TypePad weblog, a MeetUp, a page with audio and video files, a store. (Bababooey: I’ll tell you everything you need to know.)

This needs to be about more than Stern, of course, to draw a larger digital coalition of those against Bush and Clear Channel and censorship.

Of course, if Stern can do this, any famous person with the ability to promote a cause and a URL can do the same. Celebrity gains new power.

: Stern said this morning that his FCC sources say Michael Powell is “freaking out” that all this could have an impact on the election and so he is thinking about holding off on the fines until after the election.

Stern acknowledges that some may accuse him of crying wolf, but remember that the Wall Street Journal also reported that the FCC is working on fines. And a wolf — that is, Clear Channel — has already bitten him.

So Stern — who had a real impact on the elections of Christie Todd Whitman and George Pataki — now turns to political action. Watch out.

: This is about much more than Stern, of course. It is a cause.

Sandra Tsing Loh has been bitten by the wolf. She was fired by the LA NPR station, KCRW, because the F word got out on one of her commentaries.

Last night on Marketplace, she finally talked about it.

As it turns out, her commentary — on knitting, she says, knitting! — was supposed to include a bleep over her saying the F word. Fell between audio cracks; she or an engineer or producer slipped up and the F word wasn’t bleeped.

And she was fired. Zero tolerance, you know.

This is absurd and it is an indication of how we’re going too far with this moral chill.

The blurb for her commentary says:

The controversy over Janet Jackson’s

  • Theodopoulos Pherecydes

    If it’s about me, they can bury these verbal pornograpers under a tsunami of censorship and abuse. When I get hungry for playground language, I’ll go play some pick-up basketball.

  • Doug

    I found this link on Atrios of some mp3’s of Stern criticizing the Bush campaign ads so some of you nonlisteners could get a taste of Stern… he’s not always potty mouth.
    http://www.horkulated.com/article.php?story=20040306161451703
    Jeff, why don’t you just start a Stern blog on NJ.com? It seems Stern is Internet phobic.

  • APEX

    “I repeat: It’s not about Howard. It’s about you”
    hmmmm… yes. But is my option voting for Kerry?
    That’s a big problem… I can’t do it.
    A

  • Anti-Stern

    Yeah, it all worked sooooooooooo well for Dean after all. He won 1 primary!
    Look, this is going to be an unpopular opinion here, so here goes:
    IF Stern is being censored because of his political views…………GOOD.
    Stern is self-serving and incredibly ignorant on political issues. He’s a typical NYC Jewish Democrat who votes lockstep with the dictates of the Democrat party.(and keep the anti-semitic whines to yourself, I’m a NYC Jew and I see it in my family and community all the time. Jews would vote for Hitler if he had the backing of the Democrat party. But that is for another time, just let it be known that it’s not an anti-jewish slur, but I am stating his politics)
    He’s also incredibly ignorant. I may despise Al Franken or Bill Mahar, but at least those 2 are very intelligent,well informed gentlemen. And this election is MUCH to important to allow idiocy to decide it.
    And frankly, I’m also glad that the right is fighting back. This whole campaign has been 1 big smear from the Democrats, starting with the Bush AWOL lie and already going downhill fast. They want to fight dirty, lets give them dirty.
    What is the difference between CC “censoring” Stern, and the Dem. party trying to censor Bush from using 9/11 in his ads by producing “outraged” families who were really paid by and affiliated with Kerry?
    And when do media….terribly biased media… suffer consequences of their violation of the public trust? Why should the NYTimes and ABC CNN etc., be allowed to flourish under the banner of freedom of the press? They’re not a free press…they’re simply an extension of the Democrat party, much the way Pravda was the arm of the Communist party. They don’t deserve press freedoms. ONLY OBJECTIVE BIAS FREE PRESS DESERVE THOSE FREEDOMS. Propaganda organs deserve to be designated as such and marginalized, so we know them for the swill they are.
    Flame away if you will, but this is one man who will GLADLY see Stern’s rights trampled, if for no other reason than petty spite. I tell you what, shut Stern down,maybe it will keep some of these other scum in the media in line (Peter Jennings, I’m looking at you- you biased piece of garbage)

  • Matt

    Is this issue really about freedom of speech?
    Again, I do not see how Howard’s speech is being curtailed by the government.
    After the uproar the FCC heard from the superbowl, record amount of complaints remember, is it any wonder that they are cracking down? It would be political suicide for any politician to do otherwise. It’s simple, the consumer still runs the country, and there are more non-Stern consumers than actual consumers.
    Stern is always talking about walking away from radio when his current contract is up, but he has been saying this for years. Now he sounds like a man just trying to save his ass after years of pushing the limit. And make no mistake, that’s what Howard has always done, pushed the limit.
    But sometimes the limit pushes back.

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Anti: You are just plain frightening.
    Matt: Want to play the numbers game? Did more people complain about the Superbowl than didn’t? Did more people complain about Stern than the 18 million who listen to him?

  • Matt

    I forgot to add something.
    Let’s say a vote for Kerry is a vote for free speech. (ok, stupid i know)
    What good is the free speech when we curtail our efforts to stop the spread of radical Islam, bow before the almighty UN and wake up one morning to the glow of orange that was at one time Manhattan?
    Let’s vote for Kerry because our business was fined for pushing free speech limits.
    Or, we could grow up, push less limits (on the public air waves no less) and accept our punishments for past infractions like a man.
    I would have never suspected someone like Howard, who was right there for 9/11, to be one of the first to forget it’s harsh realities.
    I listen to stern, but i will be voting for my countries security. I’ll worry about whether or not i can hear about t&a after we live a at least a mildly safer world.

  • Trump

    And that’s not all, folks. Once the government gets in the business of content [and to answer one particular commmenter, no, I don't mean the finance of content, I mean government turning into everybody's editor] then there is no stopping them. Slide down that slippery slope.
    Once again, do you believe there should be ANY standards at all? Should CBS show lesbian pornos in primetime? Why or why not?

  • Trump

    Matt: Want to play the numbers game? Did more people complain about the Superbowl than didn’t? Did more people complain about Stern than the 18 million who listen to him?

    As I mentioned to Daudder yesterday, is this REALLY how you want to define who’s right and wrong?

  • Matt

    Jeff,
    first off, i love your blog. I have read you every day since I read you 9/11 post.
    About the numbers, i am not saying that Howard received more than the superbowl, i am saying that it is a political inevitability that once the ball was rolling all of those now guilty of pushing the limit would be reeled in.
    Is it fair, probably not, does one take chances when pushing the limits?
    Yes.

  • http://weisblogg.pitas.com marc weisblott

    Methinks you’re giving Stern’s act *way* too much credit in regard to its adaptability to a new media landscape … even if HS himself gets it (if mentioning Gawker one morning several months ago really counts as “getting” anything), the vast majority of the audience wouldn’t bite, and criticism of his show’s (d)evolution from former (or disaffected) listeners would dwarf any supportive rallying … so he won’t bother.

  • Charlie (Colorado)

    Stern is self-serving and incredibly ignorant on political issues. He’s a typical NYC Jewish Democrat who votes lockstep with the dictates of the Democrat party.

    Um, except that Stern had been one of those people counted as strongly for Bush.
    Sorry to let facts screw up a good rant.

  • Charlie (Colorado)

    Once again, do you believe there should be ANY standards at all? Should CBS show lesbian pornos in primetime? Why or why not?

    Trump, I think Jeff has answered that pretty forcefully. Look in yesterday’s comments: he said in so many words that we shouldn’t allow any more government regulation of content on broadcast than we do in books.

  • hen

    i wd please PLEASE ask all not to refer to Stern as “jewish”. he is not – his mother is Catholic, he is irreligious and he often refers to JC as his Lord. us jews have enough idiots out there making fools of themselves (hi Babs!). we don’t need any more.
    he is a typical NYC holier then thou left wing Democrat wingbat – my GOD he got this bug up his ass after reading a book by the disgusting Al Franken! AL FREAKING FRANKEN?!?!?!

  • Mike Rich

    Howard is playing this thing to his advantage like he has every other time the FCC has come down against him. He is hoping his rants will get him some more listeners and some more free press.
    Jeff, do you really think that Howard is setting himself up to be some sort of martyr? Give me a break, he is trying to use this to his advantage and his only. He could care less about everyone else and the fight against censorship, what he says about that is pure lip service.
    I’ve listened to Howard ever since he started at WNBC in New York, I think he can be extremely funny, although his currents rants about Bush and some right-wing religious conspriracy are boring and annoying. More times than not I’m switching the station, which is what I recommend people do who find Howard offensive. But there do need to be standards. And if Stern has violated those standards then he deserves to be fined. And if he is dropped from Infinity it will be a business decision, not a political one. Last I checked Clear Channel was not run by the government.

  • Charlie (Colorado)

    hmmmm… yes. But is my option voting for Kerry?

    Given that the big names involved here seem to be Cong. Fred Upton (R-MI), Cong. John Dingell (D-MI), Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-SC) and Mike Powell (Clinton appointee although registered Republican), and given that Kerry agrees with Stern being fined (at least this week), why would voting for Kerry make any difference?
    This is the major reason I keep harping on the “not the right wing, dammit!” line: the continual attacks on the “right wing” — especially on Bush — are simply not directed to the source of the problem. Say Stern gets his way, and loses Bush the election; then what? We get Kerry who has exactly the same opinion and shows no sign of willingness to fight a contrary poll, and we screw up the war as well.

  • Trump

    The thing that I laugh about the most is Dr. Stern harping on stem cell research. When did he become a scientist? And his constant attacks on the “religious right”- hey, I have no love for religious people and I gotta tell you- he’s making me sympathize with them!
    A vote for Kerry is a vote for our enemies, plain and simple. IRAN endorsed Kerry. N. KOREA endorsed Kerry. And I’m sure Chirac would love to see Kerry win as well. Makes you think, doesn’t it?
    Stern is really willing to put us at risk because of some futile fight with the FCC (who goes after him no matter what party is in office). What will he say if his precious daughters are among the next 3,000 to die in a terror attack because Pres. Kerry decided to treat the terror threat as a law-enforcement matter (the way Clinton did)…

  • http://hubris.typepad.com Hubris

    In my opinion, Trump has been fighting the good fight in these comment threads; he has doggedly repeated the real question: is Jeff against any form of government restriction on speech?
    Charlie (Colorado) directs us to Jeff’s comments in yesterday’s thread (thanks):
    “Look at it this way and note that I usually say “government:”
    Should a creator of content of any form be worried about what an agency of the government or a legislator is going to say about that content?
    Would we tolerate that in books? No! So we should not tolerate it in TV and radio (which, by the way, are no longer scarce resources) or music or the Internet.
    The government should NOT be in the content business in any way, shape or form. Until broadcast came along, it was not. Let us go back to that state of the world.
    Posted by Jeff Jarvis at March 8, 2004 08:06 PM ”
    I am glad to see Jeff take a position on the subject; however, I think this also reveals how his take on the Stern situation is problematic. Jeff is actually for a change in the long-term status quo (FCC regulation of content), rather than fighting against a new slippery slope.
    If Jeff is advocating for no government broadcast controls of any kind, that’s fine and a valid argument. However, to frame this incident as the Decency Police trying to change the status quo is inaccurate.
    The Hollings bill is an issue that is separate from the FCC enforcing existing rules; it is a tool for new restrictions on content.
    In this post, Jeff begins a sentence as follows: “Once the government gets in the business of content..”
    In actuality, the government has been in the business of content for decades. To argue against it is to argue for change.

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

    Who said anything about government financing for content? You want a completely unfettered marketplace for your product, with zero regulation, and you and Howie have wrapped yourselves in the Bill of Rights to achieve that. Cool…I’m good with that.
    But…you both whinge on about Clear Channel’s business decision(s). CC have grown to their current 800-lb. gorilla size precisely because of de-regulation. You simply CANNOT have it both ways. De-regulation means casualties (like potentially Howard Stern and very definitely good local broadcast radio), and if you can’t live with that, you need to examine your premises.
    Me, I’m all for laissez-faire. Yet I very seriously doubt that you and Howard Stern are gonna fight for my right to open up a radio station in my garage that broadcasts non-stop church hymns on Howie’s frequency here in Dallas (if he’s got one) after you achieve your big money unchained market. At that point, you’ll be hollering for government protection and demanding that I follow the rules.
    Ehhh…screw it. This is so “What’s in it for me?”, it’s not even funny anymore.

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

    Stern is really willing to put us at risk because of some futile fight with the FCC (who goes after him no matter what party is in office).
    That’s because Stern cares about one thing: his next paycheck. Not necessarily a bad outlook to have, but like all Fourth Estaters, he doesn’t much care about the collateral damage that might ensue. He got his and he’s keeping it, now you go get yours.

  • daudder

    Jeff, i’m glad you clarified that you meant you were opposed to gov’t as editor…agree completely that is not a role gov’t should, can or needs to play (and why it is specifically addressed in the Constitution)
    when there were few media choices for the public the fcc regulated both content and “fairness” for broadcast media. so, why did they only get rid of the “fairness doctrine”?

  • http://www.photodude.com/ Reid

    Previous Stern posts here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here.
    There’s a message within that quote, Jeff. It could be that you need to utilize the category capabilites of MT. It could be something else.
    As for me, I’ve read enough on this topic, and written enough, too.
    I am now officially bored with all this. And bored people generally go try to find something more interesting.

  • http://www.focusedperformance.com/unfocused.html Frank Patrick

    This morning, Howard was talking about concerts (to benefit Rock the Vote) and a “march on Washington” over the current attack on free expression. Unfortunately, in those ideas, I think Howard is showing his age. Thinking about this, I’m reminded of an account of another movement, written almost 40 years ago…

  • No

    I must admit that this debate is getting monotonous…I just have one question, what does Tony Foresta think? And how come Tony doesn’t post here?
    As for Stern, I gave my doctoral exam answers (now that was a long time ago!) to the FCC (various iterations of the Acts, First Amendement decrees and Supreme Court decisions, etc.) and Jeff–nor anyone else–had a response or answer. Look it up. It’s up to Congress. If we have a national debate, so much the better. Funny, the left loves court decisions (MA gay marriage) that promote their agenda, but any government interference with obscentity on public, not private, airwaves sends them into a tizzy. Even funnier, the left (who disagrees with this?) has a lock on the national media…and won’t give an inch…despite the obvious fact that the country is fairly split, 50-50 between conservatives and liberals (well, actually the polls say less than 30% identify themselves as liberals.) I’ll trade Stern’s rants for conservative control of PBS and NPR, deal?
    BTW…these limousine liberals have been looking for any opportunity to leap off the 9/11 nightmare and go back to their roots on the left. If it isn’t Stern for Jeff and company, it would be something else…Kyoto, globalism, McDonalds, the Atkins diet. Whatever.
    Also, ‘anti’ who frightens Jeff so much SOUNDS EXACTLY LIKE HOWARD!! Extreme, challenging and politically-incorrect. Wow! Hypocrisy, thy name is Jarvis.

  • APEX

    “politically-incorrect”
    and who’d a-thunk that Howard would be so politically correct. I wonder how many listeners he will lose with his self-interested rants. Free speech is alive and not going anywhere soon.
    Oh well, I better bring some CD’s for my drive to work tomorrow…

  • http://www.themediadrop.com tom

    Jeff,
    Your last points about violence on television are yet another nail in the coffin of broadcast television. If people want the violence, they are going to get it. Technology always wins. Programming will move to cable/satellite, and the crappy over the air ratings will be come even more so. Want to see networks die? Watch this go through, and we’ll see what happens. It won’t just be “The Shield” on cable – but “NYPD Blue,” “CSI,” and others will make their way to pay for play, and our over the air will be filled with more reality television than we thought existed. Or perhaps a good sitcom or two (finally).

  • Trump

    BTW…these limousine liberals have been looking for any opportunity to leap off the 9/11 nightmare and go back to their roots on the left
    Speaking of which, GREAT editorial in todays NYPost that lays out the extent of which Kerry’s wife has been funding vocal anti-Bush groups through the screen of charitable organizations.
    Now forget about Stern, THAT frightens me, the impact this could have on the campaign. That’s not even “soft” money….it’s invisible money, and it’s reprehensible

  • http://weisblogg.pitas.com marc weisblott

    i wd please PLEASE ask all not to refer to Stern as “jewish”. he is not – his mother is Catholic, he is irreligious and he often refers to JC as his Lord. us jews have enough idiots out there making fools of themselves (hi Babs!). we don’t need any more.
    OK, but the problem is that he is Jewish … the “my mother is Catholic” thing was a way of fending off complaint letters re: jokes about the Pope and the like.

  • http://weisblogg.pitas.com marc weisblott

    And the concept of a Stern march, or Meetups, or whatever, would hardly be the spectacle presented at his book signings a decade ago. Back then, he was able to exploit the novelty of Wall Streeters, etc. listening to the show; the likes of Mr. Jarvis have obviously stuck around for an hour or two each day, largely on the basis that there ain’t much else of cultural significance happening on the AM/FM dial in the morning. But that’s distinct from the kind of mouth-breathing characters who’d bother making any physical effort to support a source of passive entertainment. It was fun while it lasted … but that part is over. I can’t see Jeff trying to extend the conversation of his site to a sitdown with Captain Janks and assorted “Wack Pack” wannabes (assuming such types exist anymore) … ugh.

  • paladin

    No, it’s not about “us”, it’s about cultural elites finally getting a clue that their influence is waning and they are being marginalized. That’s why they resort to scare tactics. Down with the elites, POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

  • Ryan

    “I repeat: It’s not about Howard. It’s about you.”
    Fritz Hollings’s bill…yes, it’s about us.
    Attempts by the FCC to expand its jurisdiction over cable and internet….yes, it’s about us.
    Howard’s “free speech” fight is about Howard…not me or you. It is ALWAYS about Howard and ALWAYS has been.
    The slippery slope seems to be the major factor here but why can’t lines be drawn? After all it was the slippery slope Howard pushed first starting with naked chicks and lesbians, now Anal Ring Toss & the Lunch Meat Toss barely raise an eyebrow. I am not calling for a return to some mythical golden age but what prevent us from telling the FCC no should they decide to expand their power? Is the fight for Howard the end all be all of free speech?
    But since this is par for the course for Howard could this “controversey” be an issue with his ratings? Or even CC’s decision to suspend him?
    Check out this link for ratings stuff for each city Howard is in.
    http://www.animaux.net/stern/ratings.html
    Now it seems to me, Howard was not at the top of his game in most of the CC stations….that makes it “easier” for them to do this. Now picking a fight with a man that has the airwaves for 4 hours day may likely turn out to be foolish but there are more layers here than first appear.

  • http://kenwheaton.blogspot.com ken

    The FCC is NOT synonymous with The Administration. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Powell lose his job over this because it’s giving paranoid people another reason to hate Bush. And if this is all about Bush being criticized, it seems odd to point to the asininity of a Democratic Senator as part of the argument.

  • http://tvh.rjwest.com HH

    If Stern is such a big force politically he should push his audience to vote Libertarian… Kerry’s already made it clear that if Stern’s fans vote for him, it’s out of the frying pan, into the fire… especially if Joe Lieberman gets a hand in his administration.

  • Charlie (Colorado)

    Yet I very seriously doubt that you and Howard Stern are gonna fight for my right to open up a radio station in my garage that broadcasts non-stop church hymns on Howie’s frequency here in Dallas (if he’s got one) after you achieve your big money unchained market.

    Actually, that’s not necessarily what Jeff is talking about. For example, you could handle it like homesteading, where you get your chunk of nbandwidth and retain an ownership interest in it once you “improve it” by providing content, or you could handle it like cellphone bandwidth, in which a lease is auctioned. In either case, the real point is that the government shouldn’t be able to take away your right to the bandwidth for providing content they don’t like.

  • Charlie (Colorado)

    I am glad to see Jeff take a position on the subject; however, I think this also reveals how his take on the Stern situation is problematic. Jeff is actually for a change in the long-term status quo (FCC regulation of content), rather than fighting against a new slippery slope.

    I’m not sure I buy that. Up to now, the content restriction issue has always been indecency; Jeff seems to be taking the position that Stern is being pressured because of a political position. Were that true, it would certainly be a change in the status quo.
    Mind you, I don’t think there’s any evidence whatsoever — other than a not very convincing post hoc ergo propter hoc — that the political content is the issue, but we might as well try to argue with what Jeff’s actually saying.

  • daudder

    this is not about stern, it is about standing up for “freedom OF speech” in all forms, and not confusing this with the gov’t efforts to regulate “freedom FROM speech”.
    the marketplace and technology have taken care of the “from” part through more choice, more voices and viewpoints. It was always possible to turn the page, turn the channel or turn the damn thing off…but now everyone has a variety choices to turn to something else if you don’t like/agree with/believe what you are seeing/hearing/reading.
    which leads one back to which side of free speech you are on. for or against.

  • Trump

    Daudder-
    “Free” speech? Stern uses Infinity equipment to broadcast. THEY impose rules. Right or wrong?
    Stern did use CC stations to distribute his show. THEY imposed rules. Right or wrong?
    Stern used Public airwaves to transmit his show on, so the Govt should be able to set some rules. Right or wrong?
    In either case, the real point is that the government shouldn’t be able to take away your right to the bandwidth for providing content they don’t like
    Government hasn’t taken anyone’s right to using that bandwith. You can use it, subject to the same restrictions as everyone else, same as always. You can use those airwaves, but you use it with the knowledge that the govt through the FCC retains certain regulatory rights. EVERYONE KNOWS IT. That’s why you can curse on the street, but not on the airwaves. Please also note that govt is not editing for politics…

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

    Actually, that’s not necessarily what Jeff is talking about.
    Bingo. There are unintended consequences of this holier-and-smarter-than-thou crusade that very damn few of the Sternies can be bothered to look at. Everybody wants to talk slippery slopes, but for some damn-fool reason, they talk like they alone have the power to stop the slipping on their chosen slopes. They don’t.
    Think about it. If this set of rich dudes get the content restrictions lifted, what’s to stop me, a rich dude (in theory only, believe me) from deciding that this here frequency is the one I’m going to get my unrestricted content out on? The answer is nothing but continued government regulation. Whoops! I slipped on a slope again. Ouch, my back!
    Don’t misunderstand — we “could” do a lot of things. But all we get from the Mediots are hysterical false patriotism and voodoo chicken dances about black helicopters spreading out from Crawford in massive waves with magical morality dust to sprinkle on the Republic.
    But, you know — Jeff’s blogs, Jeff’s rules.

  • Ryan

    “this is not about stern,
    I would disagree here. Not in a fan sense but Howard doing the manufactured controversey thing.
    “it is about standing up for “freedom OF speech” in all forms, and not confusing this with the gov’t efforts to regulate “freedom FROM speech”. ”
    Again, it comes down to why now? Are our backs against the wall or is it because Howard will fight because that’s what Howard does and how he has made his career?
    Personally I agree with you, any dumb shit who wants to be a racist or bigot or misogynist or just an asshole should be free to do so and if they can sell it all the better. The Larry Flynt quote about “if the laws protect a scumbag like me” and all that jazz.
    See I am having trouble seeing beyond the whole Howard issue here. I guess it makes it easier to put a face on media consolidation but still he got SUSPENDED by a panty waist owner who is trying to kiss the ass of the conservative movement and maybe score some points with the Fed on a whooping 6 stations mostly in midmarkets or less.
    For all the bluster about Howard, it just seems tempest in a teapot that we as Americans will shrug off soon. Media Consolidation, speech codes, free speech zones, shit Martha Stewart’s prosecution had more to do with freedom of speech than Howard.
    There seems to be 2 major impetuses here for the Howard saga to live on
    1)The point Jeff makes in regards to inch and mile. I am glad he is bringing up other stuff like the Holling’s bill.
    2)The Stern I hate Bush conversion. Now Howard has always been fighting with the RR and such but until recently he could at best described as luke warm about Bush. Willing to make fun of him but supportive of the war etc. This is being pushed as the subtext of this “censorship” no bashing bush and this issue likely dies quickly. But given another avenue to attack and a relatively powerfull ally in Stern and this will be milked for all its worth. And for what for a Dem who thinks the suspension was okay? Who probably won’t do anything about media consolidation, whose own party is setting up free speech zones for their party convention? Granted I read the far out stuff but some familiar faces in the crowd of Howard defenders had no problem discussing say Rush being banned from the airwaves because of FCC regs about broadcasting intoxicated. I don’t even like Rush but I just don’t trust some of the more fervent defenders who would gladly go after those different in their ideology if they had the power. See Clinton’s applauded speeches in regards to the OKC bombing. That’s not to gratuituously bring Clinton up (in fact I hate doing so)but could you imagine Bush saying these words “we must also stand up against those who say that somehow this is all right, this is somehow a political act — people who say, I love my country but I hate my government. These people, who do they think they are, saying that their government has stamped out human freedom”
    I believe you and I take our free speech a little more seriously than cheap political and/or market manuveuring. And that is what the Howard saga strikes me as.
    Sorry for the long rant.

  • Anti-Stern

    Anti: You are just plain frightening
    Too bad. You know what frightens me? A press that is so biased and compliant towards the left that they can’t (or won’t) even put 2 and 2 together and note that the 9/11 families against Bush were part of an organization with monetary ties to the Kerrys. THIS IS NOT HARD TO FIND OUT! If you had 5 minutes and google, you could do it. So why did our press not do it? THAT frightens me. While you’re whining over some idiots non-existant right to total free speech on a radio show, you ignore the real issues.
    You know what frightens me? A compliant media that carrys Terry MacAuliffe’s playbook and jumps on his AWOL issue, and refuses to back off even in the face of proof- while at the same time bending over backwards to not even mention the Kerry-adultery story.
    You know what frightens me? A major political party and their media fellow travelers who try to censor the Presidents’ political speech by crying out against the use of 9/11 footage through paid lackeys. You know what frightens me? A media that will suppress at all costs pictures of WTC jumpers, but will allow Bonno to say F**K on live TV, no standards for violence or sex or language.
    And I frighten you? Man oh man….get your priorities straight. This is LIFE and DEATH, and you’re kissing butt of some radio lowlife who would spit in your face even if he knew how strongly you defended him.

  • http://stribs.blogspot.com Robert S.

    Excellent post, Jeff. Thanks for all the helpful info.

  • Tokin

    If Howard Stern (speaking of “self-indulgent pap”) truly believes this FCC uproar is all about him, then he’s lost his grip on his own ego. No one can possibly be that self-involved. He’s making this rant for the same reason he went into radio in the first place, he desperately needs the attention.
    Anyone who takes political advice from Stern is a bigger fool than he is. You would be better off by only watching Lettermans Top 10 list or the Leno monologue.

  • http://www.tonypierce.com/blog/bloggy.htm tony

    Jeff,
    i sincerly hope you are keeping these comments in a safe place for the day that Rush gets yanked off the air because of something equally ridiculous.
    Yes, theres lots of people who are unsympathetic to Howard. But there are far more who straight-up HATE Rush Limbaugh and his ilk.
    I’m not even saying that the pendulum will swing any time soon, but it will swing.
    And all these people who comment on here will be trying to call BS, but they wont have an ear.
    Because Howard Stern will be president.
    and he will say bobba-booey to you all.

  • No

    Give ‘anti’ a radio show! Or better yet, an HBO or E channel TV show…no, won’t work. No Republicans allowed. There’s your precious free speech Jeff. Free for libs.

  • susan

    Jeff,
    If you are truly concerned with the First Amendment, as you say you are, I hope you will put as much energy into the issue of ‘content control’ being dictated by university and college administrators.
    I have a friend who recently came from Germany to attend Brooklyn College and in his application package was a document he had to sign with regard to the ‘business of content.’
    Within a majority of university and college campuses, students are expelled for violating any content adminstrators deem offensive.
    It appears as though entertainment issues are far more important than educational issues.

  • Dan Herzlich

    IT’S ABOUT YOU!
    As a service to all dedicated Buzzmachine readers, I’m announcing here exclusively that I’m working out a deal where I can offer a newly-designed, cloisonne-style, lapel pin entitled: Fight for Free Speech!
    It shows a desk microphone in the shape of a p*nis against a backdrop of the American flag with the words “Free Speech” emblazoned in bold letters. Let your voice be heard, get involved, proudly display your sentiments everywhere you go. (Maybe even hook up with some free-thinking, hot women who dig Stern.)
    For $14.95 you can be part of the Free Speech revolution! Special discount to important media types, are you listening Bababooey?, on the first case they order. Will eventually become a collector’s item representing an historical period in our country’s ongoing debate over constitutional freedoms.
    DH – Stay tuned for the “I’m gay, marry me!” line of personal jewelry and clothing accessories! Don’t be afraid to be outrageous–it’s YOUR RIGHT. (Offer not valid in states where the majority believe in g*d.)

  • Jay

    I think the FCC could solve this problem by forcing all radios to have a button on them that lets the listener “switch” to another station or “off” if they don’t like a certain program…

  • Ryan

    I thought Anti was making me chuckle hard until I came to Dan H’s post.
    My god man, don’t you know that coffee stains keyboards!

  • Dan Herzlich

    Ryan: I guess by now Jeff would love to beat the sh*t out of me. But, I AM coming around to the enlightened side.
    Why bother trying to make a sensible point when I can more productively spend my time finding ways to make easy money and scoring hot babes?
    DH – being outrageous and loving it, if only the THOSE PEOPLE would stop attacking me.

  • http://tvh.rjwest.com HH

    Earth to Stern: It’s not about Bush. The names I see here are Democrats…
    http://tvweek.com/news/web030904.html

  • weimdog

    March 9, 2004
    The Senate Commerce Committee, following its House counterpart, voted Tuesday to increase the fine for indecent programming from $27,500 to $500,000.
    The bill also would delay the Federal Communications Commission’s new broadcast ownership rules from taking effect until investigators at Congress’ General Accounting Office can study any relationship between media consolidation and indecency.
    http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/nation/20040309-1442-indecentprogramming.html
    Here’s the Senate bill info-
    “Committee Passes Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act”
    Washington, DC

  • Charlie (Colorado)

    Why bother trying to make a sensible point when I can more productively spend my time finding ways to make easy money and scoring hot babes?

    This may be the most succinct statement of the problem with US media I’ve ever seen.

  • John

    Howard isn’t a Democrat, he’s more of a small ‘l’ libertarian who supports minimal restrictions because that’s what benefits Howard Stern. That’s why he could rant about Cuomo a decade ago over daytime highway construction and the death penalty and make those his two main reasons for backing Pataki (actually he wanted to run for governor himself on those two platforms, get into office and OK the death penality and overnight road construction for NYS and then resign). But he’s also very savy about self-promotion, which why this has to be about him and Bush, not about him and Powell or a dozen congressmen 90 percent of his listeners have never heard of.
    Howard also knows how the game is played, that’s why he used his power within Infinity to silence his rival shock jocks, and why he now plays martyr over the Clear Channel fight, in order to gain as much support as possible for maintaining his income base. If he can make people believe that Howard Stern=First Amendment, then he stands a chance of getting wider support from people not just in the talk radio business, who would object to any FCC action, even if it is in response to public pressure stemming from the over-the-top Super Bowl halftime show.
    As far as Stern’s power to enlist a vocal group of protestors on his side (as opposed to people who call Dan Rather up and give phony reports about plane crashes), we have a perfect opportunity to find out how powerful Howard is a little under six months from now when the Republican National Concention takes place. Bush and all the GOP people Howard says are trying to stuff him in a burqa will be in New York City, and — assuming it isn’t vacation week — Stern will be in New York, where he can call on his minons to go to the barricades on Eighth Avenue or cry out in the bowels of Pennsylvania Station beneath Madison Square Garden in the name of freedom of expression on the airwaves. Then we’ll see what his level of support is.
    Of course, even if only a handful of Howard fanatics show up to fight the power, Stern probably won’t be willing to give it a rest any time soon, so long as it keeps his name in the newspapers, on TV and, of course, in blog entries.

  • h0mi

    this is not about stern, it is about standing up for “freedom OF speech” in all forms, and not confusing this with the gov’t efforts to regulate “freedom FROM speech”.
    Ok so when do we march to get Bubba the love sponge, Opie and Anthony & The Greaseman’s jobs back?
    When is the concert to get Michael Savage back on MSNBC?
    Oh that’s right. When it happens to Stern its “free speech” but when it happens to his rivals, it’s a “business decision”.
    If BTLS’s situation doesn’t fit the description of censorship, Stern’s certainly does not.

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

    i sincerly hope you are keeping these comments in a safe place for the day that Rush gets yanked off the air because of something equally ridiculous.
    Yes, Jeff…please save these so they can be used in the big Planetary Tribunal that is sure to come when the aliens land and they give us Free Howie, and they gelatinize Rush, and they vacuum up all the scary guns, and there are lotus blossoms aplenty to eat so the KKKonservatives can relax and not be so uptight, man.

  • Trump

    You know, Anti may be way over the top, but he does make some valid points about media bias. I submit to you that if you ran a poll, more people would say that leftist media bias (Katie Couric gushes over Castro for gods sake!) is a bigger threat to us than the FCC on Stern.
    I’ll go one better. This is just unscientific of course among the circle of people I know, but I also bet that most people want to see the media get “paid back” or knocked down a peg or two, even if only for a little while.
    interesting….

  • Dan Herzlich

    Charlie C: CBS used to be the network which featured the likes of Edward R. Murrow, until they finally woke up in the 60’s and realized that shows such as The Beverly Hillbillies and Hee Haw better served the hopes and aspirations of the American viewing audience.
    Once you’ve got a winner, why look back?
    And, it just so happens that Murrow did his infamous broadcast in 1954 where he basically built a case against Senator Joe McCarthy which eventually led to Joe’s downfall. Incidentally, his Communist witchhunt is presumed to have been suggested as an issue for him to pursue by *Father* Edmund Walsh. Take a look:
    http://www.thehoya.com/news/040403/news6.cfm
    Could you imagine Barbara Walters or Tom Brokaw taking on a US Senator today?
    DH – Getting rich or dying trying

  • Laurie K.

    Yeah, whatever. News flash: Howard broke Clear Channel’s rules, and some rather hoary FCC rules. And now, because smut is now an issue that concerns people, he, Howard who always brags about breaking the rules, has to pay a little. It’s really unappealing when these self-proclaimed rebels cry like little babies when their inevitable punishment descends. I’m a long time Stern fan, and very little of what he does really offends me because, you know, he works so hard at it. But the depth of the mania that currently grips him has sent me elsewhere on the dial. Probably permanently.
    Laurie K.

  • button

    Dominic Barbara is monitoring Stern’s radio show. He’s a real lawyer, so let him worry about this.
    Take it away, Dominic!

  • Andy Freeman

    > I repeat: It’s not about Howard. It’s about you.
    Repeat all you want, but it’s about boobies and/or media.
    If it was about the First Amendment or me, Jarvis et al would have been screaming long ago. (BTW – reread it – it doesn’t mention to organizations, it mentions the use of communications technologies. My press has the same protections as the NYT’s, so when the NYT helps shut me down….)
    When they came for political speech, you sat on your hands or helped.

  • sol

    Howard’s OK. But when he starts his shows nowadays with things like: “When 3000 people were dying where was Bush? He was reading a book to school children.” and he says it in dripping, disdainful tones there’s nothing else to do but to turn the dial immediately. Who can listen to that? It combines so many things: ignorance, dishonesty, self-serving opportunism, dangerous use of the bully pulpit (considering he seemed to understand Bush was doing an important job in the war on terror before all this), etc., etc.
    And please let’s put an end to the cliche that Howard is honest. “He’s real. That’s his one thing, man. If he’s anything he’s honest.” Yes, in narrow ways he is, he likes to get people on the air who are unaffected or straight-forward with eccentric views and he let’s them do their thing without shutting them up and getting politically-correct on them and etc., but regarding matters of his own self-interest he’s as honest as a used car salesman with gambling debts.

  • Dan Herzlich

    sol: “self-serving opportunism”!!!!!
    In all your self-righteousness, do you use Microsoft products?
    DH