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February 26, 2004

JAMES LILEKS weighs in on the Howard Stern matter, and he's not siding with Howard:

The future of civilized conversation depends on men brave enough to ask educated Nigerian immigrants if they ever ate a monkey, and whether men who appeared on Paris Hilton pron tapes slammed a partner up the butt.. God bless Stern. Itís good to know heís speaking out on the issues that matter, and paying the price.

Bravery, thy name is Howard. And I expect that you will stop screening calls now. I mean, there's a guy in the Bronx who wants to make a point about the filthy sp-cs down the hall - who are you to say he's wrong?

It's hard for me to get too exercised about this. I'm opposed to censorship, but Stern was "censored" by his employer. I'm capable of getting exercised about such things, sometimes, but not this time. And if Rush Limbaugh had been canned over the kind of racial comments Stern made, and allowed on the air, nobody would be crying "censorship." Instead they'd be saying that it showed the inherent racism of his show and his audience.

Well? You want to make a case for complete deregulation of broadcasting, it's fine with me. But if you're not willing to do that, then you're a hypocrite, because under pretty much any kind of a plausible content standard Stern loses. And you can't defend Stern's talk while calling for the removal of Michael Savage, Dr. Laura, or other folks that lots of people seem willing to silence, or see silenced, without being a hypocrite.

UPDATE: Radio DJ Big Rick Stuart has more on the Stern affair, noting:

Stern doesn't work for Clear Channel (CC). He works for Viacom/CBS/Infinity. He show is taken on syndication deals from Viacom to 6 Clear Channel stations. The 6 stations are not that big of a deal, it isn't a bold move or whatever people are saying.

It was up for awhile at the Drudge Report but now I haven't seen it. According to what was posted at Drudge a caller on his show asked the guest if he ever banged a famous n*gger and do they smell like watermelon. I don't know the exact quote but those were the words that got him in trouble. . . .

Is the issue Freedom of Speech? Well that's what Stern says, and even what Rush said today according to Drudge. I guess anybody who gets fired from an on air media job could say the same thing. People have been fired for a long time for saying some stupid sheet on the air. Freedom of Speech? If Stern really thinks people will buy that he is crazy. The freedom to hear a woman have mayonnaise rubbed on her butt then have Howard throw slices of bologna and see if it sticks? Come on. So once you get a job on the air you can never ever be fired for something you say because of freedom of speech? Uhh no it don't work that way. Can you unjustly be fired for content of your show? Oh for sure.

Read the whole thing. Here's the link to the Drudge piece on Limbaugh's defense of Stern.