The King of All Media used to get regularly trashed by his royal subjects.
The press loathed Howard Stern, the granddaddy of shock jocks. To be fair, he brought plenty of it on himself. He punched back twice as hard when hit in the press. And anyone who makes millions from Lesbian Dial-a-Date isn’t looking for fawning profiles.
Still, Stern’s monumental achievements in radio — from terrestrial to satellite — rarely got the respect they deserved. Shock jocks typically fade away or wear out their welcome. Not Stern, who still commands a massive salary via SiriusXM radio more than 30 years after joining W-NNNNNBC in New York City.
Things are different lately. Not only has Stern shelved much of the bawdy shtick that made him famous, but he’s getting more respect from reporters.
Stern recently sat down for an exhaustive interview with The Hollywood Reporter. He’s plugging a new book, Howard Stern Comes Again, a collection of his pop culture interviews. THR recalled Stern’s recent cancer scare, how years of therapy matured him and why he no longer craves fights with the likes of Rosie O’Donnell.
The chat also touched on his many interviews with then-real estate mogul Donald Trump.
Despite the host’s history with the current president, who’d regularly call in and discuss such subjects as his sex life with Melania or his daughter Ivanka’s “very voluptuous” breasts, Stern was an ardent supporter of Clinton, both in 2008 and again in 2016. Still, he says he saw before others how tough it would be for her to beat Trump.
Stern even suggests Hillary Clinton could have taken down Trump had she appeared on his radio show. He didn’t plan to grill her, mind you, but prop up her anemic campaign.
Stern dishes on Trump, again, in a New York Times interview. He doesn’t slam the president a la Robert De Niro, but it’s clear he’d rather someone else be sitting in the Oval Office right now. He also suggests any new Trump/Stern interview, if it were to happen, would be “contentious.”
He wasn’t done.
There’s a reason I didn’t vote for Donald. I believed in Hillary Clinton, because she was a career politician. She was into the job in the way her husband was. Bill Clinton, he didn’t want to take a vacation. Donald, I knew he would spend more time golfing than serving the White House. What can I say? I don’t get the focus of the administration, and I don’t get its divisiveness. I think Donald was a lot happier not being in the White House.
Hmm. The quickest way to the media’s heart in 2019 is to attack President Trump. That’s clearly playing into the media’s new respect for Stern.
There’s something else afoot, too. The media got Stern wrong. They figured he would be a flash in the pan, and reporters stuck with that narrative for years. Decades even.
Once again, a media narrative proved incorrect. For Stern, dumping on The Donald simply made their late mea culpas easier to type.