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February 26, 2004
Stern and Limbaugh, Together Again For The First Time

Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh -- not exactly the Bobbsey Twins of radio -- have both blasted what they see as government infringement on free speech on their shows today. First, Stern said this:

"They are so afraid of me and what this show represents ... I could blow my stack, but ... ," Stern said, trailing off. "A caller used the N word, and I hung up on him."

"Janet Jackson is now forgotten and I'm on the front page of every newspaper," said Stern.

The only thing surprising about Stern's reaction is how mild it appears to be. He's known for loudly proclaiming his victimization whenever he's disciplined for on-air stunts. His autobiographical movie, Private Parts, is about almost nothing else (and is rather funny, in its own way). Surprisingly, Rush Limbaugh supports Howard Stern and complains that the government intrudes too far into talk radio (all in caps, via Drudge):

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 RIGHT AND WRONG... WHAT HAPPENS IF A WHOLE BUNCH OF JOHN KERRYS, OR TERRY MCAULIFFES START RUNNING THIS COUNTRY. AND DECIDE CONSERVATIVE VIEWS ARE LEADING TO VIOLENCE?

I AM IN THE FREE SPEECH BUSINESS. ITS ONE THING FOR A COMPANY TO DETERMINE IF THEY ARE GOING TO BE PARTY TO IT. ITS ANOTHER THING FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO DO IT.

Rush, of course, is being ludicrous. The FCC does not and cannot 'censor' anyone, nor do they fine people for political speech -- only for indecency. Bill Clinton (and, I suppose, Terry McAuliffe) had control of the White House for eight years, and as I recall, Rush Limbaugh did all right during that time. Also, the White House does not control the FCC, although the President nominates the commissioners. The FCC receives its funding and its authority from Congress, who can also revoke or modify that authority at any time.

My response to both is: cry me a river. Both men have made fortunes exploiting public resources and then complain when they're held responsible for their use. Neither of them has a "right" to the airwaves. If they don't want to abide by the regulations controlling the use of this public resource, then let them publish their speech using private resources instead.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 26, 2004 12:37 PM

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