I must admit I have never been a fan of Howard Stern. I know many who are, though. They all tell me a similar story: Spend a few weeks or months listening to Stern before forming an opinion. Well, I have spent a few hours listening to Stern. I think that is enough to decide I prefer NPR or some classic rock to whatever weird nonsense Stern and his gang have on their show. It is also enough time to tell that Stern really believes he is the “King of all Media.” If Stern’s ratings crashed, I cannot say I would be upset.
Take some time to check out the Stern show. It will not be much different than it has been for years. It is crude and rude, but to be honest, at times quite funny. Anyone who turns on Stern should expect nothing less. Anyone who wants to hear him tunes in, and anyone who does not is free to listen to something else.
The Federal Communications Commission does not seem to agree. Ever since Janet Jackson flashed the breast seen round the world, the FCC has been on the lookout for obscene programming. One “shock jock” was fired in Tampa, Florida, after large fines were levied against Clear Channel Radio, his former employer. In addition, Clear Channel removed the Stern show from six markets where they had broadcasted his show. Supposedly, Stern is next on the FCC hit list.
All this comes in the wake of Stern making some very public anti-Bush comments. On Feb. 23, Stern said on the air that he had become one of the people who want anyone but George W. Bush in the White House. On Feb. 26, Clear Channel pulled Stern from the air. The president of Clear Channel is a well-known supporter and friend of the Bush family.
Is the Bush administration capable of this kind of retaliation?
Certainly they are, if what happened to Valerie Plame is any gauge. If they could expose a CIA operative as an act of revenge, why would they hesitate at trying to get a radio personality fired?
Bad move, Mr. Bush. Howard Stern fans are loyal, and there are millions of them. Attacking Stern, or threatening their ability to hear their man Howard interview a lesbian stripper, and you have given them a reason to go to the polls to vote for anyone who can defeat President Bush. In addition, Stern does not like to be attacked. The “king of all media” knows how to use his radio show to hit back, and he seems to be doing just that.
As I said, I am no fan of Howard Stern. I choose not to listen. George Bush’s friends should have done the same. Instead, they once again show their colors by seeing any opposition to them as a mortal insult bordering on treason. Other radio personalities have claimed they lost their jobs because they opposed Bush administration politics. What makes Stern different is he has the audacity to fight back. I hope he does. Then I may end up being a Howard Stern fan after all.
William Lodge can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.