Howard Stern yanked off six Clear Channel radio stations
February 26, 2004 1:47 AM   Subscribe

Howard Stern yanked off six Clear Channel radio stations The kingdom of the self proclaimed king of all media has been trimmed after Clear Channel dropped the Stern show on Tuesday after he allegedly aired sexually obscene and racist material. The offensive exchange reportedly occured when a caller asked ex-Paris Hilton boyfriend (and sex-tape co-star) Rick Salomon if he had ever had oral sex on a black woman. The caller used the N-word to describe the black woman. Then the caller asked Salomon if it tasted like watermellon. Is this grounds to fire the talk show host, or is it more politically motivated and the beginning of the end of free speech... of highly rated powerful talk show hosts who blast the FCC and aren't Republican. entire stern show here. (BitTorrent rq'd)
posted by tsarfan (91 comments total)
 
Ha! Like i've never heard a caller say the N word on the Howard Stern show before. BaBaBooey! Howard Sterns penis! 6 clear channel stations? Thats a dent.
posted by Keyser Soze at 1:52 AM on February 26, 2004


I found it curious that this happened just after Stern had done a segment praising Al Franken's book (Lying Liars). He said something like "if you read this book you'll never vote for George Bush," & then labeled himself Anyone-but-Bush. Hmmmm.
posted by jbolton at 1:57 AM on February 26, 2004


The thing that I find interesting about callers who make comments like this (there are a few here and there on the Stern show, I'm a listener) is how stupid they sound to anyone with a decent set of values in the first place. I heard this comment yesterday and actually laughed out loud, but more because of how retarded the caller made himself look than because of the nature of the comment. Still, I'll laugh at an ethnic joke (caucasian, too) every time, if it is a funny joke.

Do people really think of a string of words as indecent? What is indecent is a society that still incubates racism in real and tangible forms and throws together a gestapo to police entertainment while the good ol' boy Washington fatcats screw everything up for all of the decent people in the world.
posted by internook at 3:23 AM on February 26, 2004


Stern is - and has always been - an idiot. It's about time his employer/carriers wised up and started doing something about him.
posted by davidmsc at 4:21 AM on February 26, 2004


An idiot, granted, but at times he's a funny idiot. Fewer and farther between, though. "Doing something about him" should have nothing to do with "taste" in this case, but the fact that he's gotten less and less funny while talking more and more about stoopid infighting among staffers and "oooh, what celebrity was at that party that I wished I was invited to?" discussions.
posted by adampsyche at 4:43 AM on February 26, 2004


both Stern and Bubba the Love Sponge are republicans...they're anti-FCC anybody-but-Bush republicans, though....and that helped get them sacked.

i think mankow (republican) might be next on the hitlist...after him, i haven't the slightest idea....but i expect an instant (if somewhat temporary) cease to anything on the radio that could even mildly be considered obscene.
posted by taumeson at 4:54 AM on February 26, 2004


Yes, this is nothing unusual for Stern. But I don't know why they'd bother to censor him. It's not like he's not fading away on his own. He used to be on the Toronto radio station Q107 and although it caused some furor when he first got the spot they ended up cancelling him because of waning interest on the part of the audience. When your entire performance relies on shocking people with vulgarities, you have to try harder and harder and eventually you look pathetic and your audience tunes out from boredom.
posted by orange swan at 5:10 AM on February 26, 2004




This has nothing to do with Bush and everything to do with radio execs getting nervous after Janet Jackson broke the camel's back with her nipple.
posted by konolia at 5:17 AM on February 26, 2004


"Is this grounds to fire the talk show host"

Any grounds that get Stern fired are a good thing. The man is a puss-filled boil. Censoring is too good for him.

posted by y6y6y6 at 5:28 AM on February 26, 2004


This has nothing to do with Bush

whew, I'm so glad to hear that Clear Channel isn't acting on a Republican agenda.
posted by Domain Master 666 at 5:35 AM on February 26, 2004


Nothing to do with Bush??

From the Clear Channel press release:

“If the FCC accuses us of wrongdoing by issuing a proposed fine, we will take immediate action,” Mays said. “We will suspend the DJ in question, and perform a swift investigation. If we or the government ultimately determine the offending broadcast is indecent, the DJ will be terminated without delay,” Mays said.


If we or the government ultimately determine the offending broadcast is indecent...

So where does this end? How far does it go? How much are you willing to sacrafice because you're too lazy to change the channel or talk to your kid?
posted by GernBlandston at 5:48 AM on February 26, 2004


Any grounds that get Stern fired are a good thing. The man is a puss-filled boil. Censoring is too good for him.


Or, in other words, I don't like what he says; therefore, he shouldn't be allowed to say it.

Wake up and see the bigger picture. Our freedoms are slowly being chipped away.
posted by archimago at 5:49 AM on February 26, 2004


Janet Jackson broke the camel's back with her nipple

I'd pay to see that.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:55 AM on February 26, 2004


Does anyone doubt he'll be back on Clear Channel?

This is a ratings driven business and as long as Stern is getting a decent market share he'll be back -- if his ratings are not up to par they'd fire him regardless of content. This has much more to with CC's ad revenue and listener numbers than censorship. Like any other media business, CC is simply following along with the prevailing social climate and as heavy donors to both parties when that climate changes CC will change right along with it.
posted by cedar at 6:05 AM on February 26, 2004


Heh, Clear Channel, whose station in Atlanta ends one of the station's own promos for itself with
"F you, Steve", "Yeah, f you, Steve."
Pot Kettle Black.
posted by mischief at 6:09 AM on February 26, 2004


So where does this end? How far does it go? How much are you willing to sacrafice because you're too lazy to change the channel or talk to your kid?

Hopefully it ends where the PUBLIC airways are decent. There are millions of us out here that are fed up with having to turn the tv off all the time. This is about enforcing rules that are already on the books. If you think they should be changed, lobby to get them changed-but until then, it's about time someone started enforcing the standards that are there to begin with.
posted by konolia at 6:18 AM on February 26, 2004


konolia is right. The airwaves belong to the public. They aren't the proper forum for indecent speech.
posted by peeping_Thomist at 6:21 AM on February 26, 2004


Hopefully it ends where the PUBLIC airways are decent.

Ah, but not everyone agrees on what is 'decent'. I think that spreading lies about an invisible man-in-the-sky is indecent. Does that give me the right to demand that all religious broadcasts should be censored?

Instead of trying to dictate what should be broadcast, let the listeners decide. If a radio show offends so many people that nobody listens to it, then the radio station will take it off the air since it is not making money. See how simple that is.
posted by jsonic at 6:26 AM on February 26, 2004


jsonic, you are very naive.
posted by peeping_Thomist at 6:27 AM on February 26, 2004


The greatest victory of them all would be to replace Stern on CC with five hours of dead air. Or maybe a faint NPR feed humming in the background.
posted by PrinceValium at 6:34 AM on February 26, 2004


Wow, what happened to this place? People are actually supporting this crackdown on free speech? On Metafilter? It is a sad day indeed..

If you don't like Stern, turn him off. If you want to see some man beaten by Jews over and over and over again, go see the movie. If you don't like porno, don't rent it.

BUT DON'T YOU DARE DECIDE FOR ME WHAT I CAN AND CANNOT SEE/WATCH/HEAR!
posted by eas98 at 6:36 AM on February 26, 2004


jsonic, you are very naive.

jsonic, you are very rational.
posted by trharlan at 6:39 AM on February 26, 2004


jsonic, you are very naive.

Why? Responding to my post with an ad-hominem seems to fit the definition of naive much better.
posted by jsonic at 6:39 AM on February 26, 2004


No, jsonic is spot on. Who's going to decide what "indecent speech" is? You? Me? There is (still, for a while, at least) a First Amendment, and there are courts to interpret it.

There are millions of us out here that are fed up with having to turn the tv off all the time.

You're breaking my heart. No one's making you turn it on.
posted by mkultra at 6:46 AM on February 26, 2004


This is irrelevant posturing by Clear Channel. Most of their stations didn't have Stern, they had Bubba the Love Sponge as the morning guy, who they fired a couple of days ago for the same reason. They only have Stern in the markets where they can have him.

Howard Stern is hugest in New York, on an Infinity station. Nothing to do with Clear Channel. I'm sure he was on this morning.
posted by smackfu at 6:47 AM on February 26, 2004


FREE HOWARD!! FREE HOWARD!!
posted by jonmc at 6:49 AM on February 26, 2004


"Or, in other words, I don't like what he says; therefore, he shouldn't be allowed to say it."

He can say whatever he wants. And he should be fired. Long ago. Just like Rush should have been fired from ESPN.
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:51 AM on February 26, 2004


"Who's going to decide what "indecent speech" is?"

It's not indecent. It's stupid and mean. And more to the point it panders to, and breeds, stupidity and meanness. By giving Stern a national audience you encourage a nation to be stupid. You foster an idea that being stupid and mean is rewarded. You feed some of the worst instincts in humans.

Stern is a hero to pond scum everywhere. Fired him.
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:56 AM on February 26, 2004


Commercial speech is not free speech. Stern's bosses and the FCC have the right to boot him off the air if they don't like what he is saying. Howard Stern private citizen can say whatever he wants, but not necessarily on the radio.
posted by monkeyman at 6:56 AM on February 26, 2004


Then I'm pond scum and proud of it.

Anyone who gets offended by people like Howard Stern is the exact type of person who needs offending. And I might add, is the exact people stern is looking to offend.
posted by jonmc at 7:00 AM on February 26, 2004


"Wow, what happened to this place? People are actually supporting this crackdown on free speech?"

This is not a 'crackdown on free speech', it is a decision by a corporate entity about what they choose to broadcast. As distressed as I am about the homogenization of the public broadcast frequencies this not a first amendment issue but rather corporate cowardice.

Jsonic strikes me as entirely correct, the market will determine what is broadcast. CC, for whatever reason, has determined that their market is best served without controversial programming. If that decision is wrong I have no doubt it will be reflected in the companies valuation as their market shrinks -- leading to a change in policy.

Smackfu, I read somewhere (maybe somebody can confirm this) that Bubba has also been pulled by CC.
posted by cedar at 7:01 AM on February 26, 2004


Yeah, that's what I meant.

The point is, Clear Channel is a huge radio conglomerate. They own 2000 stations or so. I bet they all have morning shows, and Howard Stern is on exactly SIX of them. This doesn't hurt Clear Channel at all. It just gets them good press with the FCC.
posted by smackfu at 7:06 AM on February 26, 2004


"Anyone who gets offended by people like Howard Stern is the exact type of person who needs offending."

I have a vast porn collection. I think George Carlin is brilliant. "The Meaning of Life" gets funnier every time I watch it. I think Janet's breast was obvious and harmless. I enjoy belching in elevators.

It doesn't have anything to do with being offended. Howard is a bad person. His meanness has lead people to go home and kill themselves. He actively encourages us to be vile and stupid. His job is to raise the level of stupidity in this country.

Fire him.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:11 AM on February 26, 2004


It doesn't have anything to do with being offended. Howard is a bad person.

That sounds like a contradiction. "I'm not offended by him, I just think he's evil."

I have a vast porn collection. I think George Carlin is brilliant. "The Meaning of Life" gets funnier every time I watch it. I think Janet's breast was obvious and harmless. I enjoy belching in elevators.

Ditto here. I also sometimes find Howard funny. Seems like it's a matter of taste more than anything.


His meanness has lead people to go home and kill themselves.


Yes, and my Black sabbath records made me kill my parents.
I think that a lot of the hostility towards Stern has to do with the fact that he offends both the Church-Lady crowd and the PC NPR people. He's perfectly willing to shred anyone's pieties and I respect that.
posted by jonmc at 7:18 AM on February 26, 2004


Howard Stern, no matter how hard he tries, will never be Lenny Bruce.
posted by ashbury at 7:19 AM on February 26, 2004


This doesn't hurt Clear Channel at all. It just gets them good press with the FCC.

...which they sorely need if they want to maintain their 80% monopoly. Trouble is, what they're now calling indecency is their stock in trade.

Stern may be a prick, but he isn't the problem. He's managed to make the rules work for him for an alarmingly long time in morning-radio years. (I don't listen to him, but I would defend to the death his right, etc.)

No one's been more successful than he has at it, but if this is the beginning of the end of his run, I bet he, for one, wouldn't mind too much.
posted by chicobangs at 7:22 AM on February 26, 2004


y6, it's actually a pretty funny show. you'd like it.
posted by lotsofno at 7:24 AM on February 26, 2004


Bleh. I never liked Howard Stern. I don't think he's very funny... more whiny than anything else and like some one said above, mean. On one hand, I totally hear what y6y6y6 is saying, and I feel the same way about the majority of the crap on the radio, and TV, and in the movies and in my personal perfect world that I got to rule, Jim Carey and morning drive time DJs would be first against the wall. But on the other hand... I'm not the queen of the universe so who the hell am I to assume that my tastes are superior to everybody else's? All I know is that they work for me.

And thus, I never listened to Howard Stern or watched his TV show. There was never a time that I was forced to hear anything he said because, hey, I just didn't turn on his show! Marvellous how that works.

I did, however, feel somewhat safe in speaking my own mind because if this moron can get on the air and spank topless women and make fun of little people, certainly I can say that I think George Bush is a total wanker without fear of punishment.

I'd rather have to actively avoid speech that I personally feel is objectionable than have my own right to say things that others might feel are objectionable limited in any way. So, bummer that they fired him.

(Interesting about how his meanness led some people to suicide... I have to ask. If they were so emotionally fragile that a man like Howard Stern could convince them to take their own lives, what on earth were they doing going on the show in the first place? Had they confused him with Dr. Phil or something?)
posted by jennyb at 7:27 AM on February 26, 2004


Wow, jennyb gets it! The point here is NOT Howard Stern. The point is that the current administration is bowing to the will of the Religious Right in the false belief that this will gain them votes. What we are seeing is Moral McCarthyism, and I for one, am more than a little afraid of what may happen to Freedom of Speach as a result.
posted by JeffK at 7:35 AM on February 26, 2004


Instead of trying to dictate what should be broadcast, let the listeners decide. If a radio show offends so many people that nobody listens to it, then the radio station will take it off the air since it is not making money. See how simple that is.
posted by jsonic at 8:26 AM CST on February 26


jsonic, you are very naive.
posted by peeping_Thomist at 8:27 AM CST on February 26


How so Thom? Sounds like he is describing textbook capitalism to me.
posted by Ynoxas at 7:36 AM on February 26, 2004


Stern is over some people's heads... usually the one's who think he is beneath them.
posted by internook at 7:53 AM on February 26, 2004


Three cheers for jennyb. Comment of the Week, as far as I'm concerned. You would-be censors: don't you grasp that there are other people who dislike the stuff you favor just as much as you dislike Stern? "Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!"
posted by languagehat at 8:03 AM on February 26, 2004


We don't get Stern in Europe, so after a lot of recommedations like "dude ! Stern is cool !" by some friend from the other side of the atlantic pond I listened to some of his material.

People are "offended" by that over there ? He's a clown and he doesn't attempt to hide that ; his target is probably people who never understood more then college crass humor ? It's hard to take him seriously.

If somebody out there is really in witchhunt mode he/she could leave innocuous Stern alone and pay attention to egregious asshats like Bill "Cut his Mike but this is Land of Freedom "O'Reilly and pay even much more attention to people like Michael Moore , who will not (hopefully) turn into a real clown thanks to some phat contract.
posted by elpapacito at 8:08 AM on February 26, 2004


I certainly think a private company has the right not to provide him or anyone else with a microphone, but it does get kind of dodgy when said company has a near- or partial-monopoly. However, if Clear Channel keeps Michael Savage, I think they lose any semblance of fairness whatsoever.
posted by callmejay at 8:11 AM on February 26, 2004


"It's hard to take him seriously."

You aren't supposed to... it is meant to be funny.
posted by internook at 8:24 AM on February 26, 2004


GOD, save me from your followers...

this is fucking nuts...

it's like we have regressed 50 years in the past 4 years.

Thomas Jefferson where are you?

...we really need your help

=-(
posted by Dreamghost at 8:43 AM on February 26, 2004


Suggestion: if, in 2004, you are still listening to Howard Stern, you are either living in the hinterlands, or are a pathetic loser. The guy stopped being funny 8 or 10 years ago. He's still doing what he does for the money; are you being paid to listen?
posted by ParisParamus at 8:52 AM on February 26, 2004


Time to start looking at XM or Sirius.
posted by scalz at 8:53 AM on February 26, 2004


The offensive exchange reportedly occurred when a caller asked ex-Paris Hilton boyfriend (and sex-tape co-star) Rick Salomon if he had ever had oral sex on a black woman. The caller used the N-word to describe the black woman. Then the caller asked Salomon if it tasted like watermelon.

What I find most interesting about all this (in common with Nipple-gate and Bono Swears, incidentally) is that in all cases its not the person who actually did the offensive thing who is being punished. I'm sure an argument can be (and will be) made that Stern creates an environment on his show where callers feel that its acceptable to say such things, but nowhere have I read anything that detailed Stern's responses to the caller.... I can't imagine that even Stern would let that go by without some kind of comment, 'humorous' (note quotes) or otherwise.... Or is the allegation that Stern somehow knew what the caller was going to say in advance....?

Live feeds always run the risk of something unplanned (offensive or otherwise) happening -- the risk is part of the appeal. Why fine the network when Bono swears on live tv? Why not fine/punish Bono (who was presumably warned prior to the show about language, as almost all nominees/presenters are)? Why fine the network or NFL for the revelation of Janet's nipple? Why not fine/punish Jackson or Timberlake? Everyone presumes that this was a pre-planned publicity stunt, yet everything I've seen indicates that the network will get a fine, while Jackson loses some work and Timberlake (the ripper) gets away scott free.... If it was a true publicity stunt, hefty fines to Timberlake and (if it can be proved to be pre-planned or pre-approved) Jackson would be the best deterrent to keep it from happening again.
posted by anastasiav at 8:57 AM on February 26, 2004


So let me get this straight - lots of you think that we should have no standards whatsoever for what can be broadcast over the public airwaves, is that correct?

I dunno, my mind wanders to horrid rape / torture / murder scenarios (let us suppose the material was created in another country outside US jurisdiction)... would that kind of stuff be A-ok in your estimation, as long as it was commercially viable enough?

I mean... I am not one to argue for strict Puritanical limits or anything. But no limits at all sounds kind of scary to me. Is that really fair to the people to whom the airwaves belong?

I am not claiming I have the perfect answer, and I recognize that meanings of "decency" vary from person to person and among different areas of the country. Just because a reasonable standard is hard to achieve doesn't mean that we shouldn't even try.
posted by beth at 8:58 AM on February 26, 2004


More and more, the FCC is starting to remind me of the Ministry for the Protection of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.
posted by necessitas at 9:08 AM on February 26, 2004


This really has nothing to do with free speech at all. The free speech/indecency issue is just a smokescreen for silencing someone who, due to the luxury of his position as a radio personality, has the ability to influence votes.

It's a swing vote thing, people.

Any regular listener of the Stern show will have noticed that after September 11th, Stern was one of Bush's staunchest supporters. Stern was and is vociferously anti-Arab. But in recent months he has become increasingly wary of the Bush administration. What we are witnessing, and what Stern embodies, is the erosion of support for Bush among libertarians. And patriotic garbagemen. And soldiers. I don't think Clear Channel was given a direct order to silence Stern, but it sure was convenient given that Karmazin is going before Congress to testify TODAY.
posted by piedrasyluz at 9:09 AM on February 26, 2004


I used to listen to Stern quite a bit. I used to have a long drive into work each day and his station was my station of choice for braving the commute. But, to be honest, I really find him boring now. At one time his act was fresh and interesting, now it's the same stuff day in and day out. I'm sure it's different for each person but sooner or later hearing Stern tell his female guest that he wants to bang her quits being funny. Not because it's offensive but because it's worn out.

That doesn't mean I think he should be censored. But this isn't censorship. It's capitalism. ClearChannel has every right to set and enforce standards. It's their radio station. It's their business. Stern is like any other employee. If you break the rules, there are consequences.

Right now, the FCC has a wild hair up it's butt because of the Janet Jackson incident. They're just looking for somebody to make an example out of and since they have a great deal of influence over the business ClearChannel is in, ClearChannel is rightly trying to appear that they're doing everything in thier power to walk the straight and narrow.

People who claim this is censorship don't really understand the concept. Censorship is removing your freedom to say what you want to say. Howard Stern can stand in Times Square and shout the N word all day if he wants to (or until he gets beaten to death). There is nothing in the Constitution that guarantees you the forum to say what you want to say or that other people want to listen to it. Despite what Stern or Bill Maher might think, there's no Constitutional right to have your message heard on radio or television. Maher's claims of censorship were even more comical as advertisers were pulling out of his show making it economically unattractive for ABC to continue airing a show that was already on the verge of having the plug pulled.

Applying the concept of censorship to people like Stern or Maher only cheapens the meaning of the word. Go to a country where they routinely kill journalists who print things they don't like. Go visit a country where the only source of news is government run and controlled. That's censorship. Some corporation booting a celebrity because in the cost/benefit analysis the costs outweigh the benefits is a business decision.
posted by billman at 9:14 AM on February 26, 2004


Howard Stern is an ass, and should have been put to sleep years ago.

The point is that the current administration is bowing to the will of the Religious Right in the false belief that this will gain them votes. What we are seeing is Moral McCarthyism, and I for one, am more than a little afraid of what may happen to Freedom of Speach as a result.

On Thursday, February 19, 2004, Los Angeles radio station KROQ-FM 106.7 (Viacom/CBS and therefore Infinity), eliminated “Sex University,” a weekly segment on the comedic “Kevin & Bean Show” that dealt — sometimes explicitly — with sexuality and relationships. Trip Reeb, the station’s vice president and general manager, said the cancellation had been planned.

Sex U came on at 8:00 a.m., had a distinctive opening theme music and Ralph always warned listeners of the sexual content of the segment. The program educated the public about sex (in all its infinite varieties), the direct opposite of Stern's show. Its cancellation is clearly a case of censorship, since per Kevin and Bean, the station has never gotten a single complaint, investigation, fine, or caused ANY stir in the FIVE years that Ralph Garman had been doing it!
posted by lola at 9:31 AM on February 26, 2004


beth, get a grip. No one is suggesting that otherwise-illegal things be allowed on public airwaves. The last I heard, taste and classiness aside, it wasn't a crime to refer to the smell of a black woman's genitalia. Some of you are acting like he is doing things that no one in their private lives are doing. His show is an adult show, and as an adult I can handle the adult topics he deals with. Allowing your child to listen is the criminal action, IMO. Choose another station if you find him offensive. It's that easy, really. I personally find Mother Angelica offensive. I don't tune into her cable show. I could care less that she is on TV preaching because no one is forcing me to watch her show.

I'm a very well educated and rounded gay man who finds Stern's show stimulating despite the fact that there is some obvious homophobia in his staff. If you only listen to him for 5 minutes and hear him spanking a woman with a fish, and determine that that is what he is about, then you have a very narrow understanding of what the show involves.
posted by archimago at 9:32 AM on February 26, 2004


scalz: XM is partially owned by Clear Channel. It owns a small chunk, but it's a player with XM nonetheless.
posted by raysmj at 9:34 AM on February 26, 2004


I don't want government telling me, a grown adult, what I can and cannot listen to! That's called censorship and the way the government is doing it in this case is devious and underhanded. The FCC isn't censoring anyone, but they're causing the owners of the radio stations to implement self-censorship in order to avoid fines because of breaking the FCC standards. The problem, as Stern aptly notes, is that the standards aren't defined anywhere. "I can't describe pornography, but I know it when I see it" is the way the FCC hands out fines.

Stern has had callers on for years that have been offensive. But only now are they getting attention because suddenly, we're in PC world again and you can't say or think anything outside the norm without having your right to say it shouted down.

I'm sorry, but nobody forces you to not only turn on the radio or TV, but to turn it on and change the station to the Stern show! Throw out your radios and TV if that's the way you feel, but don't punish me by turning this country into a bunch of Jay Leno rip-off skits and generic elevator music. Heck, I don't particularly care for country music (in fact, I often find it offensive), so what do I do about it? Do I lobby the local country music station and yell at the FCC to get them off the air?? Or do I simply choose not to listen to country music?

Geez....
posted by docjohn at 10:03 AM on February 26, 2004


Rush says he's never heard Stern, but he thinks the government censoring what it thinks is "right" and "wrong" is a bad idea.
posted by emelenjr at 10:08 AM on February 26, 2004


Not to get offtopic... but I think the whole Janet Jackson affair is because of racism.

If Madonna had done the same thing, everyone would have been just as shocked, but no one would have blamed CBS. "That Madonna, always causing trouble," they would have said.

But MY GOD! we can't see an old, black woman's breast. That will destroy our children!

Its also sexism. Justin Timberlake's a man. He can claim he didn't know that Janet would not be wearing anything underneath, but I don't believe it. Personal belief aside, even if he admitted knowing about it, he would have gotten away with it because he's a white male, and that's what white males are supposed to do - be cads with the ladies.

But those "black whores", we have to watch out for them stealing our white men.

My point is actually on topic. People think the issue is about decency and free speech, but its really about racism and sexism and the power structure in this country that wants to maintain the status quo.

People aren't concerned about 'decency', they're concerned about their 'children' being subverted by people who have different beliefs and values than they do.
posted by PigAlien at 10:56 AM on February 26, 2004


PigAlien, you haven't supported your racism accusation with a single shred of... anything.
posted by callmejay at 11:01 AM on February 26, 2004


This all could've been avoided if someone at the studio did their job and hit the bleep button, since all radio stations are supposed to have a seven second delay to protect against this sort of things.

On the other hand, its Clear Channel, who caters to the lowest common denominator. So I'm willing to bet that they were just looking for a reason to get out of a few contracts and that in a few weeks they'll come up with thier own 'locally produced' replacement morning show for those six stations that happens to be cruder and crasser than Stern ever was.
posted by Darke at 11:05 AM on February 26, 2004


My point is actually on topic. People think the issue is about decency and free speech, but its really about racism and sexism and the power structure in this country that wants to maintain the status quo.

Please. First of all way to shoehorn your pet issue in here. Interesting how a discussion over the yanking of a radio show by a white, heterosexual male somehow works it's way back to someone's obsession with racism.

Obviously, there's plenty of racism (and other prejudices) in modern society, but it's not at the root of Nipplegate or this Howard Stern thing. But thanks for exercising your personal neurosis.

And neurosis is exactly what it is. A lot of self-proclaimed "ant-racists" remind me of fundamentalist Christians. Where the fundies are terrified of Satan, these people see klansman under their bed at night and ascribe sinister, crypto-racist motives to absolutely everything.

I ascribe this either to a) guilt feelings, either deserved or not and/or b) a desire to prove ones moral and intellectual superiority and c) a need to see everything explained by neat little theories of cause and effect and complicated conspiracies, because as I've said before: conspiracist derive comfort from their thoeries, it enables them to avoid confronting a chaotic world.

Thank you. Next caller, please.
posted by jonmc at 11:12 AM on February 26, 2004


tempest in a teapot.
posted by crunchland at 11:14 AM on February 26, 2004


this is the end of the world.

not because howard stern is getting fired for something that he didnt say, but because i am agreeing with something that Rush is saying as reported by the Sludgereport.

as equally shocked that i am that Rush is defending one of his most bitter rivals, im suprised that so many of the learned posters of this site seem to think that taste has even a shred of importance in this discussion of free speech, censorship, and the aims of the conservatives.

if even the mouthpiece of the right says that the right has gone too far then it probably has.
posted by tsarfan at 11:26 AM on February 26, 2004


y6y6y6 wrote:
It doesn't have anything to do with being offended. Howard is a bad person. His meanness has lead people to go home and kill themselves. He actively encourages us to be vile and stupid. His job is to raise the level of stupidity in this country.
Are you seriously suggesting that Stern leads people to their deaths?? The misery, emotional instability and depression had nothing to do with, it was Stern that did it?

He only encourages those other values if that's what you take away from his show. Stern's show is like a giant Rorschach inkblot test -- people read into it whatever they want to. The objective reality is much harder to discern. I certainly don't feel more stupid after listening to his show, but maybe that's because he's brainwashed me too!

(But I'm fairly certain that listening to Stern will lead you to suicide is not a commonly held view or criticism of his show.)
posted by docjohn at 11:31 AM on February 26, 2004


Woo hoo, jonmc, where'd you get your PhD in psychology? I'm glad you diagnosed me in one post! You know, I've been wondering what my problem was for years, and thanks to you, now I know!

If you'd like to discuss the topic at hand, I'd be glad to debate you, but I won't be sidetracked by personal attacks.
posted by PigAlien at 11:35 AM on February 26, 2004


If you'd like to discuss the topic at hand, I'd be glad to debate you, but I won't be sidetracked by personal attacks.


Hey, pigalien, you're the one who dragged Janet, Justin and racism into a conversation about Howard Stern. And I was speaking of a certain type in broad generalities. I don't know you, so I don't know what your motivations are.

Woo hoo, jonmc, where'd you get your PhD in psychology?

I need a PH. D. to make observations about human nature? I guess we better close down MeFi since I doubt most of us qualify to discourse on anything.
posted by jonmc at 11:43 AM on February 26, 2004


docjohn - you are correct. In fact, all of this existence is a giant rorschach test. The Torah says, 'we do not receive things as they are, we receive them as we are.'

callmejay - that was my opinion. i have no need of anything to back it up, nor do I claim it to be the truth. it is merely what I believe.

However, what I do believe regarding the 'public' airwaves and free speech is this...

There are only two defences for those who would limit free speech over the airwaves:

1) 'ourselves'
2) 'our children'

I won't bother to address the first one because you already know the answer. Ok, I will - TURN THE CHANNEL!

The second issue is about control. Parents want to be the only influence over their children's lives. Unfortunately, that is unrealistic and dangerous. Unless you live a completely isolated life, you will not be the only influence in your child's life.

Parents must talk to their children about the real world, but they don't want to because it is not easy and it only makes the parents' life more difficult. Because parents are too afraid and too lazy to talk to their children, they want everyone else around them to accomodate their laziness and 'fix' the world around them so that there are no 'unhealthy' influences on their children.

They also don't want their children to learn that there are other points of view than their own parents'. Remember, 'my way or the highway'? Well, its really easy to enforce that rule when your children don't know there's another way.

Having public airways with truly free speech exposes anyone who listens, including children, to the world exactly as it is. The world that we all have to live in. Children are living in this world right now, today, and as much as we want to pretend to be able to shield them from it, we can't.

Children must be exposed to the same things as everyone else. With responsible, loving, caring parents who actually believe in answering their children's questions and allowing their children to think for themselves, the children will turn out much better than if they grow up in some protected fantasyland.

Parents want to be lazy and avoid the real issues in our society, so they try and change society to accomodate their fear and laziness. Everyone gets harmed when this happens - the adults who's rights are restricted and the children who grow up ignorant and disillusioned.

There is nothing I would be afraid to speak to my children about - not rape, drugs, pornography, murder, incest, molestation. If parents really love their children and care about them, there is nothing children can't handle.
posted by PigAlien at 11:55 AM on February 26, 2004


"And I was speaking of a certain type in broad generalities. I don't know you, so I don't know what your motivations are." -- jonmc

Um, jonmc, may I quote you?

"your pet issue"

"thanks for exercising your personal neurosis."

"And neurosis is exactly what it is."

"Thank you. Next caller, please."

Yeah - that sounds like 'a certain type in broad generalities.' No, I think it sounds like a personal diagnosis, and I thank you for it! I would have cost me thousands to visit a real psychologist to get that.
posted by PigAlien at 12:04 PM on February 26, 2004


(oh, and PS jonmc, notice how I've managed to address your statements without actually addressing your character or personality. It feels good to be civil.)
posted by PigAlien at 12:06 PM on February 26, 2004


yawn. stern is rush limbaugh with a different schtick and less political (more primary school scatalogical) bent. good riddance. now, when are we going to chop up clear channel, or will we wait until microsoft buys them?
posted by quonsar at 12:48 PM on February 26, 2004


By giving Stern a national audience you encourage a nation to be stupid.

True, true. And yet, the nation clamors for it. I think Stern is a pestilence and wouldn't listen to him for money, but I do support his right to speak so long as there are those who wish to listen to him.

Of course, that needn't be on Clear Channel's ill-gotten bandwidth.
posted by rushmc at 1:18 PM on February 26, 2004


I think Stern is a pestilence...

Oh, come on. He's tit jokes and ethnic humor. If that's your idea of "pestilence" you need to get out more.
posted by jonmc at 1:26 PM on February 26, 2004


Stern is destructive and pernicious. Sexist and racist jokes are destructive and pernicious. Howard Stern is a troll, and I've hated him for years, but maybe getting him kicked off of clear channel will make the dumb angry white man audience begin to understand what it feels like to be censored.

First they came for the people who looked like they might be arabs and I said nothing, then they came for the political activists, and I said nothing, then they kicked Howard Stern off clear channel and there was a revolution.
posted by goneill at 1:48 PM on February 26, 2004


Howard Stern yanked off six Clear Channel radio stations

Did he broadcast him yanking them off, or what?
posted by kindall at 1:54 PM on February 26, 2004


Stern is a troll, and I've hated him for years, but maybe getting him kicked off of clear channel will make the dumb angry white man audience begin to understand what it feels like to be censored.

Because only minorities and women are allowed to be angry or something? I'm an angry white male and proud of it.

I don't like anybody being censored. I just find the reactions of people here to a ultimately harmless shock-jock to be a bit over the top.
posted by jonmc at 2:04 PM on February 26, 2004


By giving Stern a national audience you encourage a nation to be stupid.
Which came first, the Stupid or the Stern? ;-P
posted by mischief at 2:06 PM on February 26, 2004


Stupid is a fuck of a lot more older than Stern.

Mr. Alien, I must admit; reading your first comment caused me to go a little slack-jawed and made me make a Scooby-Do sound. I'm not down with the racism angle in regards to Janet and have a hard time with your logic in relation to this thread.

Howard IS a paranoid, mean-assed, loud-mouthed prick. It will be sad not to be able to hear him.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 2:31 PM on February 26, 2004


If I worked for a company, and I broke company policy, and my boss made an executive decision that affected me, then I'd either grin and bear it, or I'd quit and move on. I don't understand how these radio personalities think that they can get away with their belly-aching. They have a platform to bitch and moan, and people like us end up involved by debating it.

If you don't like what they say, you turn off the radio. If you really don't like what they say, you boycott their advertisers.

To say they are pernicious is to give them more control over us than they have or deserve.
posted by crunchland at 2:59 PM on February 26, 2004


Hi Kevin,

Admittedly, I had this personal feeling about the Janet Jackson issue that I had not had the opportunity to explore, so I decided to just spill it out here.

The most obvious relationship between Janet Jackson and Howard Stern is that Howard is suffering from the ill-effects of Janet's breast exposure on national TV.

Both issues are related to censorship, as it relates to the FCC and government regulation of 'public' airwaves and concerns with 'indecency'.

The apparently unrelated topic which I injected into the conversation is how racism is related to the firestorm over the Janet Jackson incident. I believe it does play a factor, but I agree I would have to come up with concrete arguments to persuade anyone.

The best argument that I could come up with, and that's all it is - an argument - is that blacks are much more likely to go to jail for ANY crime they commit, compared to a white person.

How does that relate to Janet? Well, for the same reason a jury is more likely to convict a black person of murder, the general public is more shocked to see a black woman expose her breast. That's it - bare, naked racism. You don't have to agree, but that's the way I see it.

On the matter regarding racism and free speech - off the top of my head the only reason people want to curtail 'indecency' over public airwaves is because they want to maintain the status quo.

Free speech has always been and always will be about challenging the system. Otherwise we wouldn't need safeguards to protect it.

Right now, the status quo in America is that it sucks to be African American and to a lesser extent female, and those in power will do all they can to maintain that status quo.

Despite the presence of successful minorities in our government, such as Rice and Powell, et al, the majority of African Americans in our country live shittier lives than their white counterparts.
posted by PigAlien at 3:03 PM on February 26, 2004


As a former radio insider, who gave up on the medium when the three-headed pestilence of Howard, Rush and Clear Channel were all on their early ascendancy, I see a whole handful of issues involved with the current "indecency" situation:

BTW, my so-called radio career included two years in the late '70s as the "Stuttering John" equivalent for a Los
Angeles talk jock named "Sweet" Dick Whittington, who was considered the "shock jock" of his time, yet was never fined by the FCC, plus some time in the '80s writing for KROQ's satirical news features, best known for the "Frozen Embryo Song" (which I had nothing to do with, dammit).


(1) Clear Channel, as a corporation, is going to continue to pander to the Bush-based Establishment as long as it is profitable for them... and it is.
(2) Howard Stern was and is a creation of Mel Karmazan's Infinity Radio, a division of Viacom (CBS, MTV, etc.), which is in piles of political trouble, and now that Mel is firmly esconsed in the top eschelon of Viacom, don't expect him to be too loyal to the troll who turned him into a prince.
(3) "Stuttering John", who just got a job with Jay Leno, is the smartest man in the Media. I'd accuse him of steeling my act but actually, he stole it from Jim "Poorman" Trenton, who stole it from me, and I stole it from two of Whittington's previous sidekicks.
(4) Wiley Miller's "Non-Sequitur" comic strip is a work of genius, pure genius.
(5) Free speech has always been and always will be about challenging the system. Good point. And Howard Stern has never been about challenging the system, which is why it is nearly painless to throw him to the wolves of censorship.
(6) Censoring Howard will do more to turn his followers against Bush & Co. than anything he could possibly say to his audience in the coming months. (And there are still some desperate non-CC non-Infinity stations left that'll keep giving him a forum).
(7) Some of the people who most need to be offended are the people who think Stern is funny.
(8) The one man who will profit the most from this situation is: Ryan Seacrest (who CC is expect to network to replace Stern at their stations). For that reason alone, I am totally outraged.
posted by wendell at 4:47 PM on February 26, 2004


What makes this interesting to me is that I joined the Stern bandwagon late. I just started listening to his show about three weeks ago for the first time just to pass the workday. He is funny sometimes, entertaining most times. What has struck me about this whole thing, and has me wondering about the machinations and motivations behind the 6-city suspension, is the fact that he has been very anti-Bush in recent weeks. Apparently this is a new thing for him, that he is a republican who supported Bush up until a few months ago and only now is reconsidering that stance.
posted by vito90 at 5:34 PM on February 26, 2004


Some of the people who most need to be offended are the people who think Stern is funny.

Brilliant.
posted by rushmc at 5:37 PM on February 26, 2004


How you figure that rushmc?

Like I said, most of his material is (admittedly puerile) titty jokes and ethnic humor. Admittedly, it's nothing revolutionary, but it's good for a chuckle now and then. So why do I need to be offended?
posted by jonmc at 5:48 PM on February 26, 2004


Howard Stern was and is a creation of Mel Karmazan's Infinity Radio.

from what i remember, he was successful long before joining up with Infinity.

"Stuttering John" ... is the smartest man in the Media.

now that is funny
posted by lotsofno at 5:59 PM on February 26, 2004


Thanks for the bittorrent link, tsarfan.
posted by britain at 7:07 PM on February 26, 2004


So why do I need to be offended?

You want to spend your time on this planet free of one of lifes great motivators?
posted by inpHilltr8r at 7:24 PM on February 26, 2004


Savage is now being picked up by more stations than before.
posted by amberglow at 3:48 PM on February 27, 2004


If you don't like what they say, you turn off the radio. If you really don't like what they say, you boycott their advertisers.

Who owns the air waves here and add too, Stern is profiting off the public access.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:25 PM on March 1, 2004


America scares me right now.
posted by Quartermass at 3:06 PM on March 6, 2004


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