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Howard Stern Blows 'Air America' Away, White House Trembles

The long-sought liberal talk radio hero isn't Air America's Al Franken, but that walking, talking wedge issue, Howard Stern.

Meanwhile, Stern's revamped website looks more like Mother Jones magazine than Maxim: It features articles about the administration's trade violations in Burma and includes a link to the contributions page of the John Kerry for President site. Indeed, Stern has become an ardent Kerry advocate. "I call on all fans of the show to vote against Bush," he said on a recent broadcast. "We're going to deliver the White House to John Kerry."

Some might dismiss this as bluster, but Stern's words should send a shiver up Karl Rove's spine. Stern has a record of successful election-year activism; political observers in New York and New Jersey remember how his on-air endorsements delivered key votes to George Pataki and Christine Todd Whitman in past gubernatorial races.
Peril in the air for Bush: In persecuting Howard Stern, Bush unleashes enemy

By Judy Rosen
May 4, 2004, 17:39

A STRANGE new sound has been crackling over the nation's radio airwaves, the same airwaves that have been dominated by Rush Limbaugh and other specialists in right-wing "Sturm und Drang." Suddenly, in the thick of an election year, a left-leaning equivalent has emerged, riling a mass audience with scathing, eloquent attacks on the Bush administration. The biggest surprise of all? The long-sought liberal talk radio hero isn't Air America's Al Franken, but that walking, talking wedge issue, Howard Stern.

Fittingly, the politicization of Stern began with a woman's bared breast. The Federal Communications Commission crackdown on broadcast indecency that followed Janet Jackson's Super Bowl "wardrobe malfunction" hit Stern hard. The FCC proposed fining broadcast giant Clear Channel Communications $495,000 for several of Stern's raunchy utterances; Clear Channel promptly dropped Stern from its six stations that had carried him.

Stern has been at odds with the FCC for years, but these latest proposed fines, and the looming threat of more, have driven Stern to a new level of apoplexy -- and to broadcasting the most pugnacious anti-Bush vitriol anywhere in the mainstream media. In Stern's view, he is the victim of a witch hunt, singled out by an administration in the grip of fundamentalist Christian ideologues bent on morality regulation.

These days, Stern's broadcasts are divided between his usual schtick -- interviews with strippers, off-color song parodies, jokes about celebrities -- and rants against the president. Stern will never be mistaken for a policy wonk, but tune in to his show and you'll hear him cogently attacking administration positions on an impressive range of issues: stem-cell research, abortion rights, gay marriage, media consolidation, the handling of Iraq.

Meanwhile, Stern's revamped website looks more like Mother Jones magazine than Maxim: It features articles about the administration's trade violations in Burma and includes a link to the contributions page of the John Kerry for President site. Indeed, Stern has become an ardent Kerry advocate. "I call on all fans of the show to vote against Bush," he said on a recent broadcast. "We're going to deliver the White House to John Kerry."

Some might dismiss this as bluster, but Stern's words should send a shiver up Karl Rove's spine. Stern has a record of successful election-year activism; political observers in New York and New Jersey remember how his on-air endorsements delivered key votes to George Pataki and Christine Todd Whitman in past gubernatorial races.

What's more, although Stern's approximately 8.5 million listeners are often dismissed as overgrown frat boys, they might more accurately be called swing voters. They are overwhelmingly white and male, many are well educated and well off, and they vote. And millions of them listen to Stern's show in battleground states -- Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Missouri, Tennessee, Florida -- where the election will be decided.

Like his audience, Stern has always been broadly misunderstood. Calling Stern a "shock jock" does him an injustice, lumping him in with his lesser imitators and with the gross-out inanities of reality TV. In fact, Stern is a provocateur and comic talent in the tradition of Lenny Bruce. Whether his subject is sex, scatology, show business or his own failures and insecurities, he has brought unprecedented frankness to the airwaves. The real "shock" -- and appeal -- of Stern's show is how, with wit and brutal honesty, it punctures the phoniness of so much media chatter.

That means he tackles subjects that no one else would touch. Where else but on Stern's show would you hear an avowed atheist mocking the Taliban-like religiosity of the president, whom Stern has nicknamed "Mr. Jesus"? (Welcome to the true "No Spin Zone.")

By all indications, Stern's message is getting through. Since the FCC crackdown, his ratings have been going up. For example, Arbitron says he's now No. 1 in Los Angeles in the 25-to-54 age group, a spot he last occupied in 1995. And among entertainer Web sites, his was rated second (behind Oprah's) in mid-April.

If Kerry wins a close election in November, he may well owe a debt to the man who calls himself King of All Media. And political analysts may find themselves enshrining another crucial voting bloc, alongside soccer moms and NASCAR dads: Howard Stern fans.

~ ~ ~

Jody Rosen is an arts and culture writer. She wrote this piece for the Los Angeles Times

 http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2004/05/03/peril_in_the_air_for_bush/

homepage: homepage: http://www.axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/article_7206.shtml

you can never tell 04.May.2004 20:32

me

Howard Stern? Who knew? If he can get the truth out there to an audience ready to vote Bush out of office, i'm all for it. But he's still a sexist pig.

so what? 05.May.2004 04:39

run

stern's current listeners don't vote for bush anyway. hes not likey to pick up a lot of new listeners. Also, does Air America want to be associated with cheap smut and gutter language so early? He still falls under the FCC's control, and at $500,000 per offense, he won't last long on a station with only 6 affiliates.

If you want to beat bush, you need to offer the public not only a clear alternative, but someone they want to vote for. The election won't be decided in Texas, or NY, or California. It will be decided by about 12 battle ground states in the Midwest.

Stern's current approach doesn't play well there. Some listen to him, but most find him a pervert.

Stern is a Wild Card... 05.May.2004 09:58

Varro

Howard Stern attracts swing voters, more conservative frat-boy types, and people with little interest in politics. They are potential Democratic voters - if Stern radicalizes them by telling them how Bush is lying and bumbling, it can only help Kerry.

Air America is preaching to the choir of people who will already be voting for Kerry.

Stern Matters 05.May.2004 11:52

Learned Fist

Like Stern or not (and most reading this do not) his potential influence is real. The guy wrote a couple of best-selling books, had a money making movie made about his life, is broadcast daily nationwide on the radio and on television.

So who listens? Plenty of patriotic blue collar men driving trucks, working construction, and in jobs where they can listen to hours of radio. Mostly non-southern and non-evangelical men between 18-45. My guess is they may have supported Bush in 2000 and their vote is up for grabs now.

Go ahead and call Stern a sexist, but in a close race, be glad he is identifying some of Bush's evil doings.

Might get some movement. 05.May.2004 12:05

Hi

Seems that stern fans are massive perverts. So if Stern can divert some of his own energy into a less overt sexual feild such as politics might be a few of his listeners will follow. I mean regestering to vote and going to the polls takes about the same output of energy as say a run to the porn shop. The results seem to be the same as well. In both cases you get some images of people to jerk around with. After awhile you get tired of em and go get some new ones. Anyways I dont feel that Bush is very respectfull of personel self delusion. Well at least when it comes to sex. I just hope that the object of it "its got to go somewhere" appreciates all the effort he's put into diverting its natural course.

Go Howard! 05.May.2004 12:06

Lawrence J. Maushard

This post by "run" only shows what an uninformed idiot he/she is. Howard Stern reaches millions of voters, and millions of swing voters in swing states. This guy absolutely has more reach and credibility with his audience than Air America or just about any other radiowave media that is remotely anti-Bush.

If you naysayers would take the time to listen to Stern (oh, but he's a sexist pig and pervert, right?), you'll understand that the man is absolutely committed to defeating Shrub. Period. And he is absolutely committed to replacing that war criminal with Senator Kerry.

Sorry if you believe Kerry is just as bad as Bush. You've got other issues to deal with. Like reality.

Howard Stern is one of the MAJOR weapon in the working class' war against these murdering GOP criminals. If you don't understand that, you don't understand the American electorate, or our fucked up system.

Wake Up!

Howard reaches more people than Jay Leno, believe it or not 05.May.2004 13:57

GRINGO STARS

...at least according to ratings I saw 3 or 4 years ago.

Despite being an egomaniac objectifier of women, Howard is occasionally funny. When he's not ogling women like a typical divorced middle-age trick, he and his crew are capable of making me laugh outloud.

Before he read Al Franken's most recent book, Howard actually supported Bush and his "war on terror" (tm) abroad. Within two days of speaking out against Bush, ClearChannel dropped Stern from 6 markets, like CC has done with 7 other radio personalities who spoke out against Bush.

The self-obsessed Stern never gave too much thought to serious politics besides brain-dead warmongeriung rah-rah (especially after 9-11, being a NY native) and helping to elect local candidates.

Now he has Franken and Huffington and other safely liberal types on the show to debate with Scott The Engineer, his anger-problematic token Libaugh-listening conservative crew member. Scott always loses.

Howard's audience are the definition of apathetic swing voters, many of which don't usually vote. Yet Howard mobilized over 1,900 of his millions of listeners to write the FCC informing them of Oprah saying things (about sex acts) identical to what Howard said previously that earned him FCC fines for "indecency."

I haven't seen the ratings for AirAmerica, but my mom loves it. But I wouldn't call AirAmerica devoid of smut. Jeanane Garofalo gained her fame as a particularly lewd standup comic. The little I heard of her night-time AirAmerica show was heavy with sexual and drug references, not so different than Howard's show.

By the way Lawrence, Kerry is WORSE than Bush, concerning war. He wants 40,000 more premanent troops, compared to Bush's 20,000. Democrat presidents have historically been far worse war-wise, bringing the US into WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Cuban Missile Crisis, and nuking Hiroshima/Nagasaki, among many others.

What surprises me is that Howard is so much more liberal now, given his past support of Bush and the "war on terror" - this is a strangely heartening sign to me. Howard is probably much too rich to ever be a radical, but he has got more people questioning the schitt that the media forcefeeds them than anyone else working today.

Kerry Over Bush Any Day !!!! 05.May.2004 14:30

Lawrence M.

GringoStars: Before you indict Kerry as mass murder and war criminal before he's even in office(yes, everyone knows he fought and killed in Vietnam, no denying that), let's all take a look at what he's says about Iraq:

"NATO is now a global security organization and creating a stable and secure environment in Iraq must be one of its global missions. Every member of NATO has a huge stake in Iraq's future. NATO agreement to take on this mission should be reached no later than the NATO summit in late June. NATO can take on this mission in phases, beginning with taking control of Iraq's border security, and taking over responsibility for northern Iraq and/or the Polish sector, and the training of Iraqi security forces. This would free up as many as 20,000 American troops, open the door to participation by non-NATO countries like India and Pakistan, and send an important message to the American people that we are not bearing the security burden in Iraq virtually alone."
--John Kerry on his web site

Doesn't this mean he'd reduce US forces by 20,000? Your 40,000 number may represent other multinational forces he'd like to bring in. I dunno.
But I do know that there's no way Kerry would ever have invaded Iraq like Shrub, even though JFK spinlessly went along with the approving Senate vote.

Obviously Kerry is saying a lot of things right now. But I will give him the benefit of the doubt until he proves otherwise.

I recommend you do the same.

Or do you just KNOW he'll be a monster?! Wish we all were as prescient as you.

to "Lawrence J. Maushard" 05.May.2004 14:30

reposter of original article

while I completely concur that Stern has far more political clout than Air America (hence the revamped article title) or other 'anti-Bush' mainstream politicos,

you can take your "Kerry is different from Bush" rhetoric (most especially Stern is a "working class warrior" ?!?) and shove it up your ass. Kerry is Bush's multimillionaire Skull & Bones blood brother, an admitted war criminal, and will continue the US military occupation in Iraq and every (YES, EVERY SINGLE ONE) other policy of the Bush administration.

Clinton/Gore was just a blip in a quarter-century of the Reagan Revolution.

Reality will hit you "Lawrence J. Maushard" in the face during 2005 (if Peak Oil hasn't already hit by then).

the 40,000 number is from Kerry's own website 05.May.2004 18:19

GRINGO STARS

Given that Clinton, the last Democrat president, saw to the UN sanctions that killed over 1.5 million Iraqi civilians, I don't think it's an exagerration to say that Kerry might very well do something similarly genocidal. The sanctions were a Democrat extension of the Republican policy against Iraq. Clinton had an openly stated official policy promoting REGIME CHANGE in Iraq. Which happened in George The Second's reign. Democrat or Republican, it doesn't matter. Their aims are identical. If you can name some ISSUE on which Kerry differs from Bush, I'd be impressed (there are VERY few).

And now that we've seen what Kerry SAYS about Iraq, let's look at what he has actually DONE about Iraq: Kerry has lined up obediently behind every measure Bush has even suggested about Iraq. Kerry was all for the Iraq invasion and occupation the whole way. The only difference is that Kerry wants MORE prominent rapists to take part in the gang rape. Somehow, it makes it all OK if more nations take part in the brutalization of Iraq's people.

I'm not psychic, I just look at history and personal histories instead of believing what POLITICIANS CLAIM. People LIE, LIE, LIE during a war, during an election, and when they have an erection. Kerry is as full of schitt as the next politician. And he is more corrupt than most, since Kerry got more soft money and campaign contributions from corporations and special interests than ANY OTHER SENATOR.

To Reposter 06.May.2004 15:30

Lawrence J. Maushard

I only hope and pray that a Kerry-in-the-White-House-Reality hits me square in the face on Jan. 21, 2005.

Go hide in your cave, Peak Oil Boy. Good to know the Loons like yourself are still freah and active. Keeps things interesting.

"Lawrence J. Maushard" 07.May.2004 13:59

reposter of original article

"I only hope and pray that a Kerry-in-the-White-House-Reality hits me square in the face on Jan. 21, 2005."

--oh, and if it comes to pass will it ever be SQUARE in your face, Mr. Maushard. Keep "hoping and praying" - you are going to reap every last consequence of your mindless obedience to warmongering elites.

"Go hide in your cave, Peak Oil Boy. Good to know the Loons like yourself are still freah [sic] and active. Keeps things interesting."

--"hide"/"cave" - is that some sort of backhanded bin Laden-rhetoric allusion?

regarding Peak Oil, there isn't anywhere for anyone to "hide". the decline and disintegration will occur out in the open for all of us to witness, taste, feel and experience. what we can do though, is prepare ourselves for the adjustment.

"Maushard" - if you read only ONE book for the rest of your life 07.May.2004 14:11

reposter

let it be this one:

The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies
by Richard Heinberg

288 pages
New Society Publishers
ISBN: 0865714827

available at your local Multnomah County Library