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The New Gestapo

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I, for one, would like to see Clear Channel get themselves a backbone. They certainly have enough money to buy one, perhaps they could do that and get it surgically implanted. They are walking on eggshells and cringing in fear of the FCC, and now the NAACP. Some shock jocks on a show called The Monster in St. Petersburg, Florida have now said some offensive things on the air and Clear Channel is running with its tail tucked between its legs again. Apparently their list of offenses includes the use of the words “spic,” “nigra,” “jigaboo” and “fag.”

Sure, those words are offensive to those derided by them, that goes without saying. But political correctness has gotten way out of hand these days, and I don’t recall seeing the right not to be offended in anything penned by the founding fathers. But despite that, after complaints from the NAACP, the hosts of the show are being pulled until July 19th so that they can attend sensitivity training. What’s even worse, according to this story, is that “Part of the retraining might include an on-air talk upon their July 19 return with civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson.” That should have read “civil rights extortioner” but that might just have been an editorial mistake.

This is a free market society, and I myself am a big fan of “change the channel if you don’t like what you’re hearing.” If enough people are angry with what these people are saying, they will quit listening to the show, or the station altogether, and call the advertisers and complain, which is what happened to Whoopi. Once enough listeners have tuned out and advertisers have dropped off, the problem will fix itself because the station will either be forced to realize that the offenders are costing them too much in revenue and will fire them or go out of business. It’s as simple as that.

It’s at the point now where Clear Channel seems to be in such fear that some poor radio host is liable to get fired for just burping on the air. What really scares me, and this one of many issues I have with the Bush administration, is that the FCC is now looking for a power grab. They want to have jurisdiction over what happens on cable, satellite television, and satellite radio. I certainly hope that does not happen. I can fully understand government regulation of what goes out over public airwaves, but people have to pay for cable and satellite, and part of the reason they pay for it is so that they can see things that you wouldn’t be able to see on FCC-regulated stations. That could well mean the end of shows like The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, and South Park. I’ve been a huge fan of South Park since the beginning of that show, and although I’m not fully versed on any legal battles they may have had to wage, they’ve pretty much offended anyone out there who could be offended, and are still finding new ways to offend people. They haven’t let someone like Jesse Jackson bully them into quitting or taming down the content of their show.

Perhaps Clear Channel could hire Matt and Trey as consultants.

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About Evilwhiteguy

  • boomcrashbaby

    Disc jockeys who use those terms on the public airwaves don’t need sensitivity training. They need to be fired. I visited your website, the name is right, it is pretty evil. I left you a note in the ‘about me’ section.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    I’m not sure why you have a differing view of what Slim Fast did to Whoopie and what Clear Channel did to the disc jockeys. Seems to me that both companies took actions when their employees made public statements they didn’t like.

    The only difference I can find is that one company waited to hear from customers and the other didn’t.

  • http://www.evilwhiteguy.com/blog Evilwhiteguy

    Boomcrashbaby,

    Sure, they should be fired, but not just becuase they used some words that offended some people. The first ammendment is there to protect unpopular speech. Popular speech needs no protection. They have the right to say what they want. And if people complain, their employer has every right to fire them.

  • boomcrashbaby

    So I take it you are totally against the FCC? There should be no restrictions on what goes on public airwaves? It would be alright for Oprah, or say Sesame Street to say ‘f*ck’?

    Free speech does not mean one can just say anything and be absolved of the responsiblity that comes with it. Free speech is a right. And with any right comes accountability.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    So, what exactly are you complaining about, whiteguywhosoundsjustlikeanotherBCmember? As bhw pointed out, your rant is so contradictory it makes no sense. If Ms. Goldberg was let go because of her alleged remarks (instead of the fact that her ads were getting old) then it may have been a response to complaints. Maybe so. Maybe not. The shock jocks being disciplined in a very minor way means they got off very light. Furthermore, since Ms. Goldberg’s alleged behavior occurred outside of her usual role, there is little nexus between them and Slim Fast. The deejays, on the other hand, are directly implicated, having made their remarks in the course of their ‘work.’ The jocks work in a government regulated field, so there are First Amendment concerns. This entry is a model is very poor thinking. At the very least, if you are going to write about freedom of speech, you need to know that government action is required to have a complaint about First Amendment protection. It does not apply to what supposedly happened to Ms. Goldberg — withdrawal of support by a private employer. That is the most significant difference between these two episodes. It is not possible to write intelligently about them without understanding the difference.

  • http://www.evilwhiteguy.com/blog Evilwhiteguy

    bhw,

    The difference is that in the Slim-Fast case, it was customers complaining. With Clear Channel, the story did mention wary advertisers, but it’s the government and a political organization putting the main pressure on.

  • http://www.evilwhiteguy.com/blog Evilwhiteguy

    No, I’m not against the FCC regulating public airwaves, if you drop the f-bomb on Sesame Street, you’ll get what’s coming to you, and that’s how it should be. Or several other words as well, all which George Carlin could rattle off for you from memory.

    As for Ms. Goldberg’s remarks occurring outside her normal role, that is true. However, when you are a spokesperson for a company, your personal actions do reflect on the company you represent in a business relationship. Not in any legally binding fashion, but in the public’s eye. And advertisers are well aware of that, hence Slim-Fast’s actions.

    Let me boil my point down to a much shorter version. To my knowledge, the words the DJs spoke have not been deemed as obscene by the FCC. If I am wrong about that let me know and I will stand corrected. That being the case, I feel the market should be able to take care of these guys without pressure from political organizations. If the listeners are offended, they will let the station and the advertisers know, and as the station depends on that revenue to exist, they will have no choice but to fire the offending parties. I hope I have made that a little clearer.

    And what exactly is a BC member?

  • boomcrashbaby

    Profane material is defined as including language that denotes certain of those personally reviling epithets naturally tending to provoke violent resentment or denoting language so grossly offensive to members of the public who actually hear it as to amount to a nuisance.

    Like indecency, profane speech is prohibited on broadcast radio and television between 6am and 10pm.

    source

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    the problem with this definition is that it is not uniformly enforced, the case of oprah vs. howard stern being a good example.

  • http://www.evilwhiteguy.com/blog Evilwhiteguy

    Yes, I did see this on the FCC’s website:

    Indecent programming contains sexual or excretory references that do not rise to the level of obscenity. As such, the courts have held that indecent material is protected by the First Amendment and cannot be banned entirely. It may, however, be restricted in order to avoid its broadcast during times of day when there is a reasonable risk that children may be in the audience.

    However, I am still unaware of any ruling where the FCC has deemed those words profane, and I have been actively looking.

  • boomcrashbaby

    I don’t believe that the FCC has a checklist of words it considers profane. It is probably reviewed on a case by case basis. I do believe those words fall under the definition of profane.

    As for Howard vs. Oprah, yes there is a double standard. Going after Howard was 100% a political move instigated by the right wing, since he has been saying nothing new for years.

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    we don’t know that the polical motivation is there (can’t really be proven), but it does seem a little suspect.

    on the other hand, levying fines for material broadcast 3 years ago makes no sense.

  • boomcrashbaby

    surprise, surprise Mark. Howard was on Clear Channel. The same right wing corp that won’t put up billboards with liberal viewpoints. The same Clear Channel now in bed with the FCC and having corporate members who have such a cozy money-making relationship with Bush. The same Clear Channel that sponsors right wing rallies.
    source.

    I can’t really prove that my daughter got in the cookie jar, but the crumbs around her mouth, yes, are awful suspect. I’m not going to assume she’s innocent though until I can analyze the contents of the diaper. Thankfully I can draw my own conclusions without having to do so.

  • http://www.evilwhiteguy.com/blog Evilwhiteguy

    As far as Howard Stern goes, I completely agree. As mentioned, that is one of the big issues I have with the Bush administration. And I am sure there is some political motivation, but what exactly that is I couldn’t say, unless some rather large campaign donor asked for it, which isn’t beyond the scope of possibility.

  • http://www.evilwhiteguy.com/blog Evilwhiteguy

    Yes, but if the FCC and Clear Channel are in bed together, why is the FCC fining them so much? You would think that if they were in bed together, they wouldn’t be getting fined. And as for the billboard, they felt that a bomb on a billboard where two really large buildings were taken out wouldn’t be appropriate. So the company wanting to put up the billboard resubmitted the ad with a dove in place of the bomb. Paul Meyer, who runs the billboard division of Clear Channel, said his company would have no problem with the ad as long as the dove image replaced the bomb.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Jeez. Where to start?

    With Clear Channel, the story did mention wary advertisers, but it’s the government and a political organization putting the main pressure on.

    A. Broadcast entities are quasi-public because the frequencies belong to the citizenry. If a business person wants to avoid government rules he should avoid investing in a regulated industry. Whiteguy wants to believe the government is somehow an outsider interfering. It is not.

    B. Anyone can bring a complaint to the FCC. The notion that the NAACP, favorite bogeyman of the Right, and Rev. Jackson, second favorite bogeyman of the Right, are empowered to do something beyond the norm is ridiculous.

    C. As Steve (Boom) guessed, FCC complaints are considered on a case-by-case basis. The standard is what is in the public interest. It is possible that encouraging abuse of millions citizens on our (remember who they belong to) airwaves, by calling them ‘“spic,” “nigra,” “jigaboo” and “fag,” is against the public interest, despite whiteguy’s approval. So, the complaint against the shock jocks is not without grounds.

    I do understand the subtext of whiteguy’s poorly reasoned entry. He wants the good things to happen to the shock jocks because of their physical traits and politics. He wants bad things to happen to Whoopi Goldberg and Jesse Jackson because of their physical traits and politics. Therefore, he is pleased that Goldberg has been ‘put in her place.’ But, he is disgruntled because the shock jocks, who he approves of, are being subjected to a little discipline for offensive behavior. If whiteguy had written an entry just saying that, it would be better. Trying to cloak his biases in a poorly understood critique of freedom of speech doesn’t work.

    (And, oh, considering that Ms. Goldberg was one of the highest paid entertainers during the ’80s and ’90s, whiteguy’s hope she will be in trouble financially now is unlikely.)

  • boomcrashbaby

    Note that this first paragraph is pure speculation on my part:

    I am under the impression that Janet’s booby infuriated the right wing. The right wing is led by Bush. The FCC, in an attempt to show it is’t a horrible government entity like the DMV, got into bed with Bush/right wing. So it’s Clear Channel that wants to make it a threesome. Hence Clear Channel’s actions of late.

    As for you sticking up for their decision to not show a bomb (which last I knew of, was not profane or indecent), what happened to the original viewpoint of ranting about free speech and let the public decide?

  • http://www.evilwhiteguy.com/blog Evilwhiteguy

    A. I never said the govenrment is an outsider interfering, I said, “I’m not against the FCC regulating public airwaves, if you drop the f-bomb on Sesame Street, you’ll get what’s coming to you.”

    B. The NAACP didn’t take their complaint to the FCC, they called up the station.

    C. As I said, I’m not aware of the FCC ruling on those words before, but if they did in this case, the law is the law, and they should be dealt with accordingly.

    And I never said I wanted good things for the shock jocks, nor did I say I approve of them. If you’ll note, I said they should be fired. And I have no idea what their physical traits or their politics are.

  • http://www.evilwhiteguy.com/blog Evilwhiteguy

    I wasn’t sticking up for them, I was basically copying and pasting from this CNN story:

    http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/07/12/billboard.lawsuit/

  • boomcrashbaby

    so do you agree then that their refusal to put up the billboard is the same violation of free speech as what you feel the jocks are going through? If not, then why?

  • http://www.evilwhiteguy.com/blog Evilwhiteguy

    I think they should have run the ad as is, if that’s what the advertiser wanted to pay for.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Well, that is an interesting evasion, whiteguy. Considering that you approve of what the shock jocks did, why would you want them to be fired? I thought you were being inconsistent before, but this ratchets it up substantially.

    On a re-reading of Comment 3, I gather you want advertisers to be able to impact what is said over the air by pressuring employers. But, you want the FCC rendered toothless:

    Sure, they should be fired, but not just becuase they used some words that offended some people. The first ammendment is there to protect unpopular speech. Popular speech needs no protection. They have the right to say what they want. And if people complain, their employer has every right to fire them.

    Strange. If a quasi-public industry isn’t to be policed by the government agency empowered to do so, why should advertisers do the policing? Is there some reason to believe, say, McDonalds, is a better protector of the public interest? Seems perverse.

    Let’s also consider ‘some people,’ whiteguy. You say that ‘some people’s complaints should not be heard by the FCC. You obviously mean the NAACP and Rev. Jackson, since you name them. Why should their complaints about broadcasts, or anything, be treated differently from, say, yours? What do you base your demand for selectiveness deafness on? Furthermore, you do realize that you approved of people complaining (meaning a different sort of people, I gather) in Comment 3?

    The concern with limiting the rights of ‘some people,’ coupled with your gleeful response to Ms. Goldberg’s situation, could lead people to wonder if you have an agenda other than concern about alleged misbehavior by the FCC, whiteguy.

  • http://www.evilwhiteguy.com/blog Evilwhiteguy

    You seem to be putting a lot of words in my mouth that weren’t there before. I never said I approved of what they said. I never said I approved of what they did. I never said I wanted the FCC rendered useless. And I never said that anyone’s complaints shouldn’t be heard by the FCC.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    That is a denial of the entire entry. You are saying you don’t have a gripe, afte all. So, why did you write the entry?

  • http://www.evilwhiteguy.com/blog Evilwhiteguy

    No, that is me saying I didn’t say the things you attributed to me.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    You now say you really don’t have a double standard for your bogeymen and that you aren’t really opposed to the FCC regulating broadcasters, whiteguy. I don’t see how that leaves any content for the entry. Unless. . . you meant to write an accolade to the FCC and became confused. Bingo! I knew there had to be an explanation.

    Typo in Comment 24 = after all.

  • http://www.evilwhiteguy.com/blog Evilwhiteguy

    Well, I’m tired of repeating myself over and over. If you can’t grasp:

    1. If it’s a legal problem, the Feds will take care of it.
    2. If it’s not, the market will.

    then there’s nothing more that I can say. And since you are putting words in my mouth that I didn’t use and then based on that, insinuating I’m something that I’m not, I have nothing further to discuss.

  • Eric Olsen

    Context is everything and without hearing the actual bit it’s impossible to know if there was any mitigating context here, but it sure sounds like Clear Channel let them off easy.

    I favor clear and unambiguous enforcement of FCC regulations as they now stand, or however they freaking stand, but enforcement should be regular, impartial and across the board.

    I am completely against the FCC regulating the content of the Internet cable TV or radio, satellite TV or radio for the reasons Evil states.

    And having also followed the link mentioned in comment 1, I want to see Boom, Evil and Mac Diva march hand-in-hand.

  • boomcrashbaby

    I want to be in the middle!

  • http://www.evilwhiteguy.com/blog Evilwhiteguy

    I get to be on the right :)

  • Eric Olsen

    you guys are both funny

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    The difference is that in the Slim-Fast case, it was customers complaining. With Clear Channel, the story did mention wary advertisers, but it’s the government and a political organization putting the main pressure on.

    That may be true. But it also might be true that Clear Channel has decided it doesn’t like the language the DJs used. That’s possible, isn’t it? I mean, it’s not like the words weren’t offensive to, say, most people.

    When I went out to your web site, it seemed like you definitely had a problem with Whoopi’s recent commentary. I get concerned about free speech — as Mac and Boom can tell you — when people are less worried about some messages being stifled than others.

    Personally, I think that the FCC should stop regulating what’s on TV because we have the technology to lock out shows we don’t want children to see. But the radio is a harder case.

    And there’s no way the FCC should get involved with cable or other pay services. Ugh.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    This reminds me that it is time to revisit public libraries and censorship of the Internet on computers. There’s some new case law. You might also want to consider whether the new rules, which go the ‘carrot’ route are a good idea, bhw.

    I will march with the two fellas, on the left, but insist on wearing a glove on my right hand.

  • http://www.evilwhiteguy.com/blog Evilwhiteguy

    If they don’t like the language used on their radio stations, they have every right to fire the guys, it’s their company. Although I imagine that would probably stem from anticipation of FCC fines and/or advertisers leaving more than a corporate sense of values.

    And yes, I had a problem with what she said, but I think she has every right to say it. Frankly I wish there had been video of it so people could have seen her saying it. That would have had more of an impact than just reading what she said. I may not agree with what people say, but I will always defend their right to say it, provided it doesn’t break any laws.

  • boomcrashbaby

    No problem, MD. Since I would be in the middle, just make sure those gloves are elbow length and bright blue, so they don’t clash with my hotpants.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    MD, can you elaborate? I’m not sure what you mean by “carrot” rules. Thanks!

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    A great tableau, Steve (Boom). Whiteguy walking through his neighborhood with a gay man on one side and one of ‘some people’ on the other. I might break out a halter top and show the Ds for that-:).

    bhw, we were a test case for the minors and Internet access controversy here. The Multnomah County Public Library won the first round, but lost the second. There will be some censorship. I haven’t gotten around to reading the later case yet. But, you can familiarize yourself with the issues here.

    Which reminds me I need to renew books. There is a reason I always have library fines.

  • http://www.evilwhiteguy.com/blog Evilwhiteguy

    Sounds great to me, let me know when you’re ready to go and I’m there.

  • http://calblog.com Justene

    Strange. If a quasi-public industry isn’t to be policed by the government agency empowered to do so, why should advertisers do the policing? Is there some reason to believe, say, McDonalds, is a better protector of the public interest? Seems perverse.

    The basic premise of free-market theory is not that McDonalds can be trusted more than the government. That would be perverse. The theory is that the people, who truly hold the power, can control McDonald’s with their buying power just as much and probably more than they can control the government with their vote.

    Now there are a whole lot of criticisms to that, notably that the rich have more dollars than the poor, but unionism in this country has shown that the poor can use their economic power too.

    Here’s what I see as a critical problem, and I do mean critical. Most Americans are economically illerate and haven’t the slightest idea how economics work. I have had that problem for a long time and would now say I have maybe a proper elementary level education. Start talking about something like the importance of the federal reserve and my eyes glaze over.

    Most Americans understand enough about government and politics to form an opinion that matches their values. Teach the poor and disenfranchised economics and watch real change happen. If you believe the rich have too much power or if you believe that money rules in this country, you are doing them a disservice when you don’t give the poor the knowledge of economics.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    Thanks for the link, MD. If anything, I think there should be opt-in filters only. In other words, the parent should have to ask for it to be turned on at the library computer the kid is using.

    Why aren’t the parents responsible for what their kids see? If your younger-than-thirteen-year-old child is going to the library to do an internet search, it’s your responsibility to monitor them, not the library’s.

    And what’s so magic about the age of 13? Seems very arbitrary to me.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    Oh, and Justene, excellent point about getting truly educated in economics. I wish I’d taken one or two courses in it in college, because I really don’t understand most of it.

  • JR

    I’m not sure how much power an education in economics will give the average consumer. If I object to, say, China’s political policies, the problem is in finding shoes or CD players made somewhere else; otherwise I can’t really make any kind of statement. How is understanding the Federal Reserve going to increase our consumer options?

    Bueller? Anyone?

  • http://calblog.com Justene

    JR,

    1. If I had a clue about the Federal Reserve, I might be able to guess.

    2. It’s not helping the consumer, it’s helping the citizen. THere’s not a whole lot the average voter can do about whether Bush or Joe Wilson lied but they deserve to have the info and as much explanation necessary to understand the info. I am asking for the same treatment of economic info as political, government, civics info.

    3. Voters wield power as a group. Consumers wield power as a group.