: Howard Stern said this morning that he is “a dead man walking” and that he will end up being pulled off the air.
Many readers here have made amply clear that they don’t like Stern. That’s fine: your choice. But that’s also irrelevant.
The issue isn’t Stern. The issue is government interference in, regulation of, and chill upon free speech.
There is no question that Stern is off Clear Channel and may be pulled off their air because of government pressure. Stern changed nothing. The government put pressure on.
That should scare every one of you.
And, no, I won’t shut up about this. It’s frightening. It’s important. It’s dangerous.
: UPDATE: I keep getting asked about Savage and Dr. Laura and so here’s what I just said in the comments:
The difference in the cases from the past is government pressure. Public pressure got rid of Savage and Dr. Laura; companies chose to drop them for business reasons.
Clear Channel admitted that Stern is doing NOTHING differently; instead, they dropped him a day before the head of the company was called to the woodshed in Washington and he offered up Stern as a peace offering to keep from being fined and regulated.
That move came from government pressure and it’s government pressure I abhor and fear.
I do believe in free speech and hate boycotts and think that if people actually want to listen to Savage and even Dr. Laura (she is obnoxious and offensive in the extreme) then that’s fine by me; I’ll change the channel. I don’t think people should try to STOP people from listening to what they want to hear; that is what free speech is all about, in the end. I’ve argued in years past against such tactics as advertiser pressure to stifle speech.
But I fear government pressure much more. That is dangerous — for who in government is to say what is and what is not acceptable and what recourse do the stifled have (if they so much as fine Stern, he’ll be knocked off without appeal)? That is unconstitutional.
So whether you like Stern or not — and clearly, many don’t and many do — you should pay careful heed to what the government is doing right now. It is chilling free speech. And that is always dangerous, whether it happens in Iran or in America.