The Daily Stern


The Daily Stern

: COVER BOY: My cover story at The Nation about the FCC, the First Amendment, and Howard Stern is online. The conclusion:

Stern shies away from no sacred cow. He is a positive force in American media. Just as weblogs tweak big media to keep them honest, Stern pushes the line to keep politicians and celebrities and his audience honest. So I like to listen to him. If you don’t, fine. Listen to something else. I won’t stop you. Just don’t stop me.

And there’s the real question: If the government is going to regulate speech, where’s the line and who’s going to draw it? Is it at the least-common-denominator that makes all media safe for 5-year-olds? Is it at the church door that makes all media safe for church ladies? Is it at my car door so I can still listen to Stern? Is the line going to be drawn just on broadcast or will it extend to cable and satellite–and the Internet? Will the censored be just shock jocks–or newsmakers or bloggers?

I couldn’t say it better than Michael Powell–the old, freedom-loving Michael Powell–did in 1999 when he accepted the Freedom of Speech Award (which one assumes is now hanging in his bathroom): “I have gained a deep and profound respect for the wisdom of having an unwavering principle that stands at the summit of the Constitution, and holds: ‘Government shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.’… Benevolent or not, we did not sign away to a Philosopher-King the responsibility to determine for us, like a caring parent, what messages we should and should not hear.”

So to the barricades, edgy elite! This is not just about Howard Stern. It’s not just about Bono or The Breast. It’s about our First Amendment. It’s about our freedom of speech. It’s about us.

(Unfortunately, the online version doesn’t include links — including a link to this blog.)

: THE STERN BLOG: On the air this morning, Howard said he blogs under a secret identity (he used to chat in hiding, too).

Choire Sicha at Gawker begs for any clues to find Howard’s blog.

Allah thinks it’s me. Well, we’re both about 50, over 6’4″, formerly geeky, and hate the FCC.

: MORE STERN BLOGGING: Choire also sends me a note from a woman who says she was a Stern intern and reports:

While working as an intern for the Stern show last summer, Howard had one of the other interns call from the green room, pretending to be a listener wanting to know what blogging was. Howard answered the question, and then moved on…it was quite bizarre.

As I remember, that’s when Howard said he read Gawker. It’s just a closed loop, our little world.

: TOO DAMNED MUCH DECENCY: Greg Beato says that the cure to indecency is far worse than the disease:

At some point you have to ask: How much decency is too much? A small dose of Tesh is like aural Prozac. His soothing baritone refreshes; his sunny optimism uplifts; his easygoing rectitude inspires. But the John Tesh Radio Show goes on for a full five hours!…