The Passion of Howard Stern

By Kevin Forest Moreau, Arbiter of Indecency
February 27, 2004
Shaking Through.Net

Forget Mel Gibson and the furor over the portrayal of Jews in The Passion of the Christ. If you truly want to witness an account of unspeakable suffering inflicted on innocent, undeserving souls by gleeful, salivating, malicious devils, wait for the inevitable TV-movie docudrama or Oliver Stone film about the Breast Bared 'Round the World. To hear FCC chief Michael Powell tell it, the second-long flash of Janet Jackson's mammary during this year's Super Bowl halftime snooze-fest inflicted unendurable agony on legions of virgin-pure viewers, all of them happily huddled 'round their TV sets expecting a "celebration."
Never mind that the collection of "talents" assembled -- Nelly, Kid Rock, P. freaking Diddy, for crying out loud -- has historically proven incapable of celebrating anything but their own (largely undeserved) celebrity. Never mind that none of the performers -- including Justin "Pretty Fly For A White Guy" Timberlake -- are known for their cuddly, Mr. Rogers images. None of this tipped off Mr. Powell or a large portion of the news media to just what kind of mediocre crap they could expect from the halftime show. Powell sputtered so ferociously at this "outrage" that you'd think Gandhi or Mother Teresa had jumped onstage spitting venomous racial slurs.

The bonfire of the hypocrisies that resulted has proven only that Janet and Justin don't own the copyright on shamelessness. CBS, showing less backbone than the French people exhibited during World War II, declared itself "shocked, shocked" by the display. This is the same CBS that had earlier folded like a rickety card table under pressure from right-wing groups and pulled its "controversial" biopic on Ronald Reagan, a figure whose holiness is apparently second only to Jesus himself. Powell, whose FCC had recently declined to condemn Bono for letting slip the F-word during a Golden Globes ceremony, climbed awkwardly onto his moral high horse and announced an immediate investigation. Since any developmentally impaired infant could see that the whole thing was obviously staged, maybe Powell is donning his paper Torquemada robes to investigate just what that thing was on Janet's chest. It's called a boob, Mikey. Never seen one before? Take a look in the mirror.

No, the real victim here is us. Not because network over-reaction denies us any further glimpses of hooters (there wasn't much to see, even for those who froze the image of that bizarre nipple adornment on their TiVos).

We should be afraid -- we should be very afraid -- because the media corporations are jerking away with whiplash speed from anything related to the controversy. From anything, in fact, even remotely controversial, without regard to ideology. So far, we've shied away from things that might po ssibly rile religious conservatives (bare breasts on ER), the politically correct (sci-fi Indian dances) or, um, people who don't like JC Chasez (most everyone, I'm guessing).

And now Clear Channel, the communications behemoth, is trying to make a straw man out of Howard Stern. As of this writing, Stern's show has been indefinitely "suspended" from the six Clear Channel radio stations on which it had been airing. (In the bulk of Stern's markets, the show is carried by a rival network, Infinity Broadcasting.) Clear Channel President and CEO John Hogan conceded that there was nothing out of the ordinary about the Stern program that prompted his decision, one in which a caller used the "n" word before Stern hung up on him. "I don't think he's changed his tune; we have changed ours," Hogan said. "We're going in a different direction."

This is a canny move by Clear Channel and the burgeoning forces of cowardice. Stern, after all, has long been the poster boy for verbal excess, and a whipping boy for the FCC to boot. Clear Channel knows that "taking a stand" against this once-provocative personality will play well with Mr. And Mrs. Middle America. It's an easy posture, full of sound and fury, signifying a need for the company to position itself on the right side of the new culture debate -- the one that allows the forces of religious piety , political conservatism and moral righteousness to tell the rest of us what's acceptable and what's not.

But Stern's moment has long passed. Outside of his core listening base, he doesn't attract much attention these days; we're a long way from the brief moment in the mid 1990s when Private Parts made him King of the World. No one who's likely to be offended by Stern is in any danger of stumbling across his program unwarned. He's not a threat: He's a non-issue. And that's what's telling -- and troubling -- about this posturing.

The fact that Clear Channel is willing to puff Stern up into a bogeyman of inappropriate broadcasting only shows that the forces of apple pie and morality are desperate to create villains in this drama, the better to serve their own ends. What 9/11 was to the war-mongering Bush Administration, Boobygate is poised to do for Pat Robertson, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Powell and the Arbiters of Decency in their never-ending war on a plethora of ills. Using Jackson's breast as a Trojan horse, they can manipulate the current climate of overly cautious overreaction, cowering already courage-deficient broadcast networks into removing anything they might find offensive: Gay marriage, rap music, swear words in the movies, liberals in the White House -- you name it. "First we clamp down on the Grammys, then Howard Stern, then all of prime-time TV, and then, the sky's the limit!" If Stern ends up looking like a certain other martyr who's in the news at the moment, well, that's apparently a small price to pay for the cause.

Stern's rather blatantly contrived (and ineffectual) crucifixion on the altar of Family Values would make an eye-opening movie in itself. But don't look for Mel Gibson, whose sadistically gory revenge-flick of a Passion Play seeks to whip the pious into a benevolent, adrenalized froth, to helm such a picture. This is a man, remember, whose Christ-like pacifism led him to say of one of his critics, New York Times columnist Frank Rich: "I want to kill him. I want his intestines on a stick. I want to kill his dog." That turn-the-other-cheek tolerance, however, does make him the perfect director for the aforementioned propaganda film about the death of decency at the hands of a washed-up pop star and her malfunctioning wardrobe. Call it The Passion of The Self-Righteous.

From: King Solomon []
To: All
Subject: Re: Howard Stern - Bush and the Religious Are Crucifying him!
Date: Tue, Mar 23 2004

Many people to whom I have written say they don't like Howard. That's beside the point. It's not about Howard.

It's about what he represents. Freedom to make fun of anything he wants to. Howard is a comedian. A comedian's "job" is to make fun of the human race. That's what he does and he is good at it. No, people don't like him because he hits close to home - with all of us. But we need to have fun poked at us. Howard is like Lenny Bruce. He makes fun of things that people take too damn seriously, - politics and religion. So they use the same excuse against him that they did against Bruce - obscenity. When they really mean blasphemy. Too bad for them that blasphemy is not a crime here - YET. I am sure a that Constitutional Ammendment can fix that tho.

Howard Stern is being crucified. Can he be resurrected? That is the question!

From: Janet
Date: Tue, Mar 23 2004
Subject: Re: Howard Stern - Bush and the Religious Are Crucifying him!

I was around for both Lenny and Howard. Lenny was my hero because he said relevant things that pissed people off and he was the first. He was pressuring the establishment and it was his downfall. But while Lennny died broke on the toilet possibly killed by the FBI, Howard is making 12 million dollars or more. He's not relevant and he hates women and blacks and he is a right wing Repulican who has actually swayed elections with what he calls the Stupid Vote or something to that effect.

A fan of his even called a hotline while they were inverstigating the OJ case and said BaBa Booie. Howard encourages this. His Miss Howard Stern show was a mysogenistic nightmare and when one of the contestants later killed herself, he had her husband on his show and made fun of the urn with the ashes in it.

I agree that Howard should have the right to say whatever he wants. It's free speech and it's guaranteed by the First Amendment. However, maybe the radio stations that carry his show also have the right to not broadcast a show that they don't like or is offending their listeners, and the sponsors have a right to not pay for a show that THEY don't like and is not promoting their products.

Now it comes down to this. Do I think that Howard Stern is a champion of free speech? The answer is no. I think Howard Stern is an irresponsible guy who hates a lot of people, who has a big fanbase and is making a huge amount of money. I think he's using the free speech issue now to promote himself and his own agenda which is to keep himself on the air and to keep making money period. I also think that the radio stations are not necessarily aginst free speech. I think the whole thing boils down to money. Probably sponsors threatened to pull out if Howard were not off the air. Do I think it has anything to do with Bush and the religious right? Only if they are buying the products that the radio stations are selling It's a pretty sad state of affairs.

From: Willow
Date: Tue, Mar 23 2004
Subject: Re: Howard Stern - Bush and the Religious Are Crucifying him!


I don't think it's that people don't like Howard Stern. They don't like the fact that he does mean comedy. He does and he's vulgar. Working class people like him because he's crass and loud. I personally don't care for him, because he's too working class for me.


To: - Join This Group
From: Poetic Georgia []
Date: Tue, Mar 23 2004
Subject: Re: [kickbacklounge] Re: Howard Stern - Bush and the Religious Are Crucifying him!

My personal opinion on all this is ... it doesn't matter if I like Howard or Limbaugh or Bush for that matter. It is my right to voice my opinions, thoughts, views or beliefs. In any manner that I chose to do so as long as I respect those in public places around me. Now ... as far as the radio, movie and TV stars ... they should have the same right as I. It is up to the viewer/listener to choose to turn it off if it upsets them. Such as the Superbowl... My son, who is 8, was watching the halftime along with me. He was able to make it out enough to know what had happened but not enough to actually SEE anything such as a nipple. I think that was taken way too far. But on the other hand ... I can understand it. That was/is somewhat family based. Everyone knows Howard Stern and what kind of shows he puts on. Sooo ... obviously they chose to listen to his show and therefore in my opinion. have no right to bitch about what he does or doesn't have or express on his shows. This is just one opinion out of the billion that exist.


From: Marlyn Bumpus
To: "King Solomon" []
Subject: Re: Howard Stern - Bush and the Religious Are Crucifying him!
Date: Tue, Mar 23 2004

Hi there!

FWIW, I don't like Howard either - never have. To me, however, the issue is how he is being treated and why - and the timing. What is happening to him is wrong on a number of levels.

It is a warning of things to come that we ignore at our peril.


From: Deke Barker
Date: Tue, Mar 23 2004
Subject: RE: Howard Stern - Bush and the Religious Are Crucifying him!


I have a feeling that you and (Jim? Grace?) are talking about different things.

There are two issues here.

First, there is the issue of whether someone like Stern should be allowed on broadcast radio or TV. As far as I am aware, nobody here disputes that. (I could be wrong.)

Second, there is the issue of whether someone like Stern should be allowed on broadcast radio or TV *AT A TIME WHEN IT IS COMMON FOR CHILDREN TO BE LISTENING*. Or perhaps more accurately, should Stern be forced to moderate his excesses during such periods.

On the latter point, even I will take issue with you.

From: Elaine Williams
Subject: Re: Howard Stern - Bush and the Religious Are Crucifying him!
Date: Tue, Mar 23 2004

It's not about Howard? Then why make a proclamation that he is being crucified? Just label him a "self-proclaimed martyr", build a shrine in his honor and let his adoring fans keep adoring him through another means... via satellite. :-)

I can credit his show for being aired at a "decent" time, LATE NIGHT. (pardon the phrase)

You say it's about "freedom"; then let me and my family have the freedom to watch network or cable television during 'family hours' without being subjected to either filth, nudity, or indecency when any one can view such things via "pay per view" channels or satellite, IF THEY CHOOSE. It's all about choice, isn't it and when that choice is taken from any of us we rise in defense of it? Okay, take that same principle and apply it to those of us who had the choice taken from us on whether or not we wanted to see Janet Jackson's breast exposed. That choice was taken from us. If any one is angry at any one, it should be directed to whomever orchestrated that half-time celebrity stunt.

I don't want to be in the middle of a family program or the SuperBowl and have tits flashed before the faces of my family ... especially when one of them is a five year old. If celebrities and networks choose not to take personal responsibility, then who should?

Should we remove all boundaries and become like a barbaric nation in which no rules apply to appease all mankind? That's not freedom, Luv, that's chaos.


From: King Solomon []
To: Elaine Williams
Subject: Re: Howard Stern - Bush and the Religious Are Crucifying him!
Date: Wed, Mar 24 2004

Valid points Elaine
BUT I will qualify.

Seeing Janet's breast exposed was unexpected and should not have been done. But - what is the big effin deal? So people saw tit - like so what? Even a child has a right to see a tit. Instead of ignoring Janet, people played right into her and gave her the publicity that she could not afford to pay for.

Yes, you have the right not to hear what you don't want. That's what a dial is for and an on-off switch. Everyone knows the material that Howard Stern does. All they have to do is avoid his station.

From: Elaine Williams
Subject: Re: Howard Stern - Bush and the Religious Are Crucifying him!
Date: Wed, Mar 24 2004

Shlo ... you're not fooling me; I know you love a good debate! So read on ...

Who or what gives a child the right to view nudity at age five, besides a parent or guardian?

Howard's show is also televised but I gave him credit for it being aired at a time when children are not likely to see the program unless some irresponsible adult is not adequately supervising. I'm sure the content of his show can be rated "R". It is definitely not something I would want Jonathan to view at any time to which I'm thankful it is a late night show.

Shlo, we deal with juveniles in the court system everyday from ages 5 years to 17 years of age. You'd be amazed by what many of these kids are exposed via television, videos and media through lack of supervision. Lack of supervision by adults providing no limits or boundaries according to the age group is staggering. It's no wonder many of them have mental/emotional issues along with delinquent behavior that our juvenile system are having to address every day. The flip side of that coin is a home in which the parent(s) are required to work and leave the kids at home to entertain themselves. Many of these parents cannot afford child care due to their limited income. Yes, it's easy to say "turn the channel" but if an adult is not present, then what?

If they cannot rely on the industry to mandate some boundaries for entertainment within the home, to whom can they rely? Children are going to be children. If they are home alone and have access to the remote or television, they are going to watch whatever is made available to them.

When I paid home visits, I was appalled at the age of children in a living room who were viewing content on their cable channel that should have been a crime for any minor of their age to view.

There needs to be some accountability in place at all levels... individually, parental, celebrities, networks, and even government, if these others fail in their responsibility.


From: George Hays
Subject: Re: Howard Stern - Bush and the Religious Are Crucifying him!
Date: Wed, Mar 24 2004


There's only one recourse, obtain a list of their advertisers and write to each and everyone of them telling them that you no longer will purchase their products or services until Howard is back on the air. Personally, I don't like Howard or any of the other talk radio personalities - left or right, but I strongly believe in freedom of speech and thought.

Items from Feb 23 - Feb 29

Howard Stern finally turns on Bush, gets silenced in return Posted by Jon on Thursday Feb 26, 2004 at 8:12 PM Pacific Time Disclosure: I am a diehard Howard Stern fan. I generally listen to the entire show, daily, and have done so for about 14 years.

In late 2002 and during much of 2003, Stern was so ridiculously pro-Bush and pro-Iraq War, I almost stopped listening. Almost.

And so it was, then, that I nearly wept with joy weeklong vacation, announced: "Over vacation, I read Al Franken's ["Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them"]; it's great. He is phenomenal."

Stern's impromptu ass-kissing session occurred despite the fact that Franken takes a shot at Stern at the very beginning of the book.

"The first page, he insults me," Stern said. "He talks about how Ann Coulter and I are McCarthy-ites. It was just really insulting. And I just said, 'You know, I can get past this, if Al doesn't like me.' I'm not even sure why I'm like McCarthy, but, evidently, I am, according to Al. But you know what? If Al says it, it must be true, because I love the book, and he seems to be right on about everything."

And then Stern said the words that made my day: "If you read this book, you will never vote for George W. Bush. ... I think this guy is a religious fanatic and a Jesus freak, and he is just hell bent on getting some sort of bizzaro agenda through--like a country-club agenda--so that his father will finally be proud of him. ... I don't know much about Kerry. but I think I'm one of those 'Anybody but Bush' guys now. I don't think G.W. is going to win. What do you think about that?"

Stern admitted that his change of heart was, in part, brought on because of the FCC crackdown that began after Janet Jackson exposed her breast on television during the Super Bowl Half-Time Show.

On recent shows, Stern had been airing audiotape of the post-breast Congressional hearings, during which Congresswoman Heather Wilson (R-New Mexico), in a ridiculously over-the-top, dramatic performance, lectured Mel Karmazin--CEO of Viacom, the company for which Stern works--about the "nasty" half-time show and how it severely affected her 4th-grade son. Stern subsequently exposed Wilson's poor voting record on gun control and a myriad of other issues, as well as the enormous amounts of money she has accepted from Enron, defense contractors and other special-interest groups, and suggested that perhaps Wilson is more of a threat to child welfare than is the media.

So it's no surprise, then, that against this backdrop, media conglomerate Clear Channel--a Texas-based organization with ties to Bush--announced on Wednesday (2/25) that it had yanked Stern from its radio stations in Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando, FL; Rochester, NY; San Diego, CA; Pittsburgh, PA; and Louisville, KY. (It's worth noting that two of those five states--most notably Florida--are still considered "swing states" in the upcoming election.)

Coincidence? Not likely. Stern even hinted during his show on Thursday that some of the behind-the-scenes action that led to his muzzling may have included communications that Wilson--or someone connected to her--had initiated with someone in a position to yank Stern's chain.

"This regime--and I will now call it a regime--has gotten absolutely bizarre. Between Aschroft and Cheney ... and their puppet Bush, and Powell and his son [FCC chairman Michael Powell] ... I mean, this has gone berserk. I mean, I'll be off the air, and I won't be able to talk to you about it anymore, but, listen, it's bad. This is the most unbelievable thing, what's going on, where people are being thrown off the air without a trial."

Stern seemed intent on making the most of however much time he has left to broadcast, telling his listeners: "These fascist, right-wing a-holes are getting so much freaking power, you gotta take back the country. [Those are] my last words to you. I don't know how many more days I have [left] on the air."

Click here to contact Fear Channel:

Click here to contact the FCC:

Does Howard Stern read

Posted by Jon on Monday Mar 1, 2004 at 6:39 PM Pacific Time -

Late last week, I posted an item in which I suggested that Clear Channel's decision to yank Howard Stern off of its radio stations just days after he lashed out against the "president" was likely due to the company's ties to the Bush administration--a possibility virtually ignored by the mainstream media. Stern fan-site King of All Media ( posted a link to the story, and thousands of you came here to read it.

So today, Howard said this:

I gotta tell you somethin': There's a lotta people sayin' that the second that I started sayin', "I think we gotta get Bush outta the presidency," that's when Clear Channel banged my ass outta here. Then I find out that Clear Channel is such a big contributor to "President" Bush, and in bed with the whole Bush administration ... I'm goin', "Maybe that's why I was thrown off: 'cuz I was thinkin' about goin' for John Kerry, because I don't like the way the country is leaning too much to the religious right with this abortion and this stem-cell research and gay marriage and all that." And then, BAM: "Let's get rid of Stern."

I used to think, "Oh, I can't believe that." But that's it! That's what's going on here! I know it! I know it!

I know it too, Howard. Welcome to my nightmare.

Howard Stern case highlights frightening ties between the Bush administration, Clear Channel and the religious right Posted by Jon on Sunday Mar 7, 2004 at 8:37 PM Pacific Time Howard Stern on Friday (3/5) announced that the FCC plans to levy fines against him, predicted the imminent end of his radio program and continued to spotlight how his anti-Bush comments have made him the target of a frightening hybrid of church, state and Clear Channel.

As reported here last month, Stern--who had been a vocal Bush supporter--did an about face, announcing on the air during his Feb. 23 show that he was now "one of those 'Anybody-but-Bush guys.'" Less than 72 hours later, media behemoth Clear Channel--a Texas-based company with deep financial ties to "President" Bush--announced that it was yanking Stern from its stations, citing as its reason a Feb. 24 segment of the show that was no more racy than material Stern has been airing for almost 20 years.

Stern caught wind of our claim that he was actually muzzled due to the Bush-Clear Channel connection, and soon realized he was in the administration's crosshairs. "I used to think, 'Oh, I can't believe that,'" he said on his March 1 show. "But that's it! That's what's going on here! I know it! I know it!"

And now, the plot continues to thicken.

Stern said on Friday that he'd been tipped that the FCC--an organization headed by Bush-appointee Michael Powell, son of Secretary of State Colin Powell--was preparing to fine him. (The Wall Street Journal confirmed the information in an article it published on Friday.) He said he is convinced that the government plans to use the fines as leverage against his employer--Viacom/Infinity Broadcasting--by tying up the company's various licenses and other business dealings until they give Stern the boot; he claims that the government used similar tactics to force the company into paying massive fines levied against his show in the '90s.

"The government is going to do weird, odd tricks, like they did 10 years ago, to pressure these guys to throw me off the air," he said. "That's why I'm saying my goodbyes now. It is inevitable. It is unavoidable. There is nothing you can do about it."

Adding fuel to the fire, Stern said, is Sen. Sam Brownback, who last week wrote a letter to Viacom head Mel Karmazin in what appears to be an effort to pressure Viacom to cut Stern loose. Stern revealed that Brownback--along with several other senators--is beholden to a secretive religious sect known as The Fellowship.

"Senator Brownback is a man who has signed up with President Bush [in] trying to get a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage," Stern said. "He's a very, very conservative, right-wing guy. But what you don't know is that Senator Brownback lives with six members of Congress in a million-dollar, Capitol Hill townhouse that is subsidized by a secretive religious organization. Now, I know you wouldn't think that this is possible. ... I'm not making it up. If I was making it up, I'd be in big trouble, believe me."

Stern then read from an Associated Press article that exposed the seemingly inappropriate connection between the lawmakers and The Fellowship.

"Anybody have a problem with a United States senator being funded by a religious organization? When someone gives you low-cost housing--a gift--do you think you have to answer to them? You tell me.

"'Very few in The Fellowship are willing to discuss its mission,'" Stern read from the AP article. "'It organizes the annual prayer breakfast attended by the  president, members of Congress and dignitaries from around the world. The group leaves its name off the program.' Why? Why don't they want you to know this?

"Friends, all I'm saying to you is, my days are over. This is what's going on in your country.

"Just do me one favor. Wake up. The Republican Party, as we knew it under Ronald Reagan, doesn't exist. It has been hijacked by a bunch of religious freaks who are sitting there and plotting and planning what you should listen to, what music you should buy, and it's working. It's happening. Clear Channel is doing it. And they're even gonna force Viacom to get rid of me, and then buy [Viacom's] radio stations. Watch! Watch  and see if I'm not right!"

Stern said he'll continue to use whatever time he has left on the air to urge his listeners to vote for John Kerry in this November's election.

"Payback has to be a bitch, and I ask any fan of mine to vote George W. Bush out of office," he said. "That's the payback. He suffers. He's got to lose. He's gotta go back home to his dad and say, 'I'm a loser like you; I only served one term.' That's all I ask. Remember me when you go to the voting booth."

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