February 27, 2004

HOWARD KURTZ has more on Howard Stern.

My question: Why is this different from what happened to The Greaseman, which didn’t produce any clucking about censorship? Er, except that Stern hasn’t lost his job. Oh, and there’s a Republican in the White House now.

UPDATE: Reader Joe Budzinski emails:

Glenn, that is a great point. And on top of that, the Greaseman ran a totally irenic show, as opposed to the spleen-fest that is the Howard Stern show and the “edgy” Don and Mike, whose spread-the-joy bits include getting people to park in the left turn lane to see how much honking will ensue (asked once how he distinguishes himself from the other shock jocks, Nino said something like “Why all the calumny? Why is it necessary to call someone on the phone and tear them a new one in order to entertain?”) So it is fairly ironic that for one ill-advised remark the Greaseman, a multi-talented and genuinely nice guy, has been exiled to some godforsaken station in West Virginia, while Howard Stern the hate-meister is a budding poster child for freedom of speech.

I don’t think Howard Stern is a hate-meister, though I don’t listen to his show. (I’ve watched him on Comedy Central a few times, getting some stripper to take off her shirt, only to have her breasts blurred out for the viewers, which seems awfully pointless to me.) But I don’t think there’s much of a first amendment issue here — and the double standard suggested by the Greaseman example suggests to me that people are really looking for an issue here for a variety of political and commercial reasons.

My challenge to those who think that Stern being dropped from 6 stations is an example of Bush Administration crushing of dissent — see if you can get Kerry and Edwards to adopt a platform of ending all FCC regulation of broadcast content. Take it to the people!

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