No Nanny Needed
No Nanny Needed -- Listening to our morning radio fix, my wife and I are vacillating between depression and anger at what is happening in this country. With issues like deficits, wars, CIA failures, health care mismanagement, and the economy to worry about, it seems that the news outlets have been shanghaied (Maybe Tienamen-ed is a better word.) by silliness around a singer's breast, a bloody movie, gay relationships, and morning radio. After complaining to the probably deaf ears of my Republican congressman and to my spineless Democratic senators, I find myself at a loss for words. Thank goodness for Jeff Jarvis, who hits the nail on the head...
The death of broadcastAs a regular listener, I don't believe it's the "n-word" or the "f-word" that is the problem today. It's far more political than that. Stern's been at this for long enough to understand where the real lines are (and should be). What I believe has caught him up this time is his inciteful (and entertaining) commentary on the situation. He's be specifically asked by his bosses to stop pointing out the absurdity of some of the statements coming out of a particular congresswoman on the current witch-hunt committee. It's not about indecent speech. It's about political speech.
: Clear Channel has cut off Howard Stern. When Janet Jackson's outfit opened, it opened a door not on her breast but on censorship. Clear Channel even sent out a press release bragging about cutting off Stern. MarksFriggin, the unofficial Stern site, says those stations are in Pittsburgh, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, Rochester, Louisville and San Diego. Clear Channel also fired Bubba the Love Sponge.
: Here's how I predict this will play out:
- Stern will engineer his firing from Viacom.
- Stern will sign with satellite, giving satellite the boost it needs to become a viable business.
- Buy satellite stock now. Sell radio stock now.
- Broadcast radio will quickly falter, losing attention to MP3s, satellite, and cellular broadcast. Broadcast radio will die. Consolidation won't kill it. Censorship will.
- Satellite will grow rapidly, getting more consumer revenue and ad revenue.
- Broadcast TV will suffer similar blows.
- Cable and satellite TV will grow.
- The bottom line: Any medium that can be government-regulated will shrink; any medium free of government regulation will grow.
- Government censorship will grow until, at long last, libertarians and Republicans and Democrats wake up and realize that this is not the role they want for government, this is not the America they envision. But in the meantime, they will have destroyed a medium or two.
: And why don't you tell the FCC what you think. Here's how.
I don't need a government nanny, do you? I didn't think so.
: The more I think about this, the more enraged I get. One tit flopped out and the government -- the Bush administration -- can't wait to play to its far-right fringe and censor speech and intimidate speech and chill speech. How dare they? This is not the role we expect of our government. We don't need a nanny.
Let's hear a little libertarian outrage at government meddling in our lives and our speech.
Let's hear a little conservative outrage at government growing beyond its bounds.
Let's hear a little liberal outrage at goverment stiffling free speech.
I don't give a damn whether you like or despise Howard Stern; that's beside the point. If you're American, you cherish free speech and you should be appalled at what is happening to it. This is not coming from media consolidation. This is coming from government intimidation.
F Michael Powell. F the FCC. F Clear Channel.
Defend Howard Stern. Or lose your own rights to say what you want where and when you want to say it.
: I know that many constituencies want to tell Clear Channel to f off. Here's where and how.
As Pat Buchanan suggested a few years ago, we are in a "culture war." And as in most wars, the first casualty is a sense of proportion. It might seem that worrying and venting about a radio show is out of proportion given the seemingly big things that face us, but it, and the brouhaha over Jackson, and constitutional amendments denying rights instead of assuring them, and knee-jerk reactions to bloody movies are all symptoms of a very big issue...big enough that the founders of our nation addressed them as the first of what they deemed important, the first amendment to our founding document.
I guess I'm no longer at a loss for words.