It looks like Jimmy Kimmel just might have lit a new fire in the indecency battle last night and it's not surprising that Howard Stern started fanning the flames less than six hours later. During last night's Jimmy Kimmel Live, the budding late-night television star started talking about the fines levied against Stern yesterday.
"Finally, the FCC today fined The Howard Stern Show and they fined NBC because of some alleged profanities," said Kimmel during the broadcast. "It's all nonsense. It's all a kneejerk reaction to Janet Jackson pulling her shirt open at the Super Bowl. They go after stuff they don't even listen to and they don't even watch to make people who write letters happy, but do they go after the filthiest broadcaster in American television? No. Untouchable. They leave her alone. And of course I'm talking about Oprah."
Kimmel then went on to play two different clips from The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Clip one went like this:
Oprah: Lets talk about that secret language Michelle.
Michelle Burford: Yes
Oprah: I didn't know any of this.
Michelle: I have yeah, I have gotten a whole new vocabulary let me tell ya.
Michelle: Okay a tossed salad is, get ready hold on to your underwear for this one, oral anal sex. So oral sex with the anus is what that would be.
Here is clip number two:
Michelle: A rainbow party is an oral sex party. It's a gathering where oral sex is performed and rainbow comes from all of the girls put on lipstick and each one puts her mouth around the penis of the gentleman or gentlemen who are there to receive favors and makes a mark, um, in a different place on the penis. Hence the term rainbow.
The bit got a good laugh from Kimmel's audience, and he cracked a good one liner, but when compared to the fine levied against Stern yesterday for defining terms like "blumpkin," "balloon knot" and "the David Copperfield," you can imagine The King of All Media's outrage.
So, during his show this morning, Stern played the portion of Jimmy Kimmel Live that included Kimmel's set up, the Oprah clips and made sure he got in the one-liner. ("I have a feeling Stedman's in for a pretty good weekend.") Soon after airing the clip, WXRK/New York GM Tom Chiusano was in the studio to inform Howard that they bleeped the graphic sexually descriptions.
"You bleeped it?" an alarmed Stern said. "But it aired on Oprah."
When Chiusano confirmed that it did not air, Stern said, "There it is ladies and gentlemen. That's why I want to get out."
"We don't have our free speech," added Robin Quivers.
"I think the point is that there is a double standard," explained Chiusano. "The standard we're trying to adhere to is the standard that we believe is the correct one. That, in my mind, is a clear violation of the standard."
Stern and Chiusano went back and forth on why each thought their position was correct about whether the clip should air or not, with Stern at one point saying: "If they fine Oprah Winfrey for indecency, people are going to be outraged." He also added, "My point is play it, Tom. Don't bleep it. This is what's going to expose the hypocrisy. If they fine me for this, they are going to have to fine Oprah. And if they fine Oprah all hell is going to break loose."
Stern might not be far from the truth, considering the times that Oprah's show airs on television. According to oprah.com, the show airs in her top markets at these times: WABC/New York @ 4pm, KABC/Los Angeles @ 3pm and 12:35am, WLS/Chicago @ 9am and 12:05am, KGO/San Francisco @ 4pm, WFAA/Dallas @ 4pm, WPVI/Philadelphia @ 4pm, KHOU/Houston @ 4pm, WJLA/Washington, D.C. @ 4pm, WCVB/Boston @ 4pm and WXYZ/Detroit @ 4pm.
Despite the fact the the FCC dropped a fine on him yesterday, Stern actually started off his show quietly today, talking about MTV veejay JJ Jackson passing away and the continuing Courtney Love sideshow that made a stop at Bowery Ballroom last night. It wasn't until Mike Walker showed up on the show that Stern finally broached the FCC fine subject after the National Enquirer editor asked, "Do you think Karl Rove might have made a phone call to little general Powell, little Michael and said, 'Let's get this over with. Let's give him the fine and get this done with before Stern gets us all voted out of office.'"
"First of all, I know that for a fact," Stern replied. "I can't even tell you how, just like you can't reveal your sources. I have two sources inside the FCC. They know exactly what is going on. They had a meeting two weeks ago, freaking out. I seem to be making enough noise that people are realizing we could hurt George W. Bush in the elections. So they are trying to figure out at what point do they fine me. So, you are absolutely right."
"This new fine that just came out is three years old," continued Stern "It has nothing to do with the new rules that came out. They are coming up with new rules every day. They are coming up with a new sensibility every day. So they went back three years ago, found a complaint, trumped one up against me and hit me with a fine. So now they have the old fine going, then as soon as the Senate passes this bill, they are going to hit me up with some new fines. The timing of this is such that rather than hit me with the massive fine, they figured they would do this one so it looks like they are doing something."
When Walker suggested that Powell and the FCC's crackdown has now created a "left-wing Rush Limbaugh," Stern agreed that "they unleashed a monster" and he could "do a show 24/7 like that" but he wasn't interested in a doing that type of show. "I'll tell you what," Stern added. "I will get George W. Bush probably out of office. My fans are energized. 18-24-year old white males, who sometime vote, and sometimes they don't. They just need a cause and their cause is me. You know why I'm their cause? Because in the morning, they've got something to listen to and they know their show is being taken away. If you go to howardstern.com, I am now putting up there everything they bleep out on the show. And you start to see how the show is being dicked with, these guys who listen to me, working men and women, will vote against him, just because they are dicking with the show. They don't need any other reason."
"Florida is a swing state," said Stern, going into political mode. "Miami and Orlando, there are so many pissed off fans that can't get the show now, that you have no idea how many votes this guy cost himself. Keep fining me. Throw me off the air, dudes. I am ready to go just to see you go too."