Responding to Clear Channel Radio’s decision to drop the Howard Stern Show from its stations, talk-radio superstar Rush Limbaugh warned today of growing federal government intervention in broadcasting content.
“I’ve never heard Howard Stern, but when the federal government gets involved in this, I get a little frightened,” Limbaugh said on his program, according to the Drudge Report.
The decision to drop Stern’s show was made by Clear Channel itself, but president and CEO John Hogan said the company is instituting a zero-tolerance policy for indecent content which will include companywide training and automatic suspensions for anyone the Federal Communications Commission alleges has violated indecency rules on the air.
On Tuesday, Clear Channel ousted another shock jock, Bubba the Love Sponge, who was the source of a proposed $755,000 fine by the FCC against the company for more than two dozen claims of breaches of indecency laws over the last three years.
Limbaugh asked: “If we are going to sit by and let the federal government .. get involved in this, if the government is going to ‘censor’ what they think is decent and indecent … what happens if a whole bunch of John Kerry, John Edwards, Bill Clinton, Terry McAulliffe types end up running this country someday again and decide that conservative opinion is indecent, decide that that causes violence?”
Radio seems to be held to a different standard than television when it comes to indecency, Limbaugh said.
“Smut on TV gets praised to the hilt. Smut on TV wins Emmys. Smut on TV gets critical acclaim, yet on radio there seems to be a little bit of a different standard. …
“I am in the free speech business, my friends. I couldn’t survive without it,” he said. “It’s one thing for a company to determine if they are going to be party to it. It’s another thing for the government to do it.
“The government doesn’t regulate movies, and you find more smut in movies than you’ll ever find in radio today. The government doesn’t regulate cable TV; the government doesn’t regulate video cassettes. … When we sit back and say, ‘OK, you the federal government, you can sit in judgment over who can say what,’ then at some point you can rest assured that your day is coming too, when the federal government tells you what you can and can’t say.”
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