Stern, Giuliani, ABC and Oprah
May 5, 2004

Today's trip around the maelstrom of Howard Stern's life starts with kudos to his devotees that have helped make sure the FCC was aware of Oprah Winfrey's potty mouth. Her discussion of oral and anal sex in a March 18 broadcast has received the second largest number of indecency complaints in history, with over 1,900 filed. Meanwhile, an article in The New York Observer has a major player in the Republican party showing support for The King of All Media.

"I think Howard Stern is what he is," former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani told the Observer. "Everyone knows what Howard is like. They listen to his show and then they’ve made a decision that they enjoy his kind of humor. I think the FCC or regulatory agencies have better things to look at than that. And I think it does get very close to inhibiting free speech."

Giuliani is the most well known Republican to show his support for the embattled deejay and has made three appearances on Stern's show, twice appearing on the anniversary of 9/11. "The times that I appeared, we were always very careful to make sure what was happening when I was on, making sure it wasn’t something terribly embarrassing or something you couldn’t live with," Giuliani said. "And he was always very respectful. I think he knows the different times in which he’s acting in different ways, and when to be appropriate and when to be inappropriate."

In the same Observer article, Stern's agent Don Buchwald responded to the lack of political support, especially from people such as New York Senator Charles M. Schumer, New York Governor George Pataki and former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman, all of whom Stern supported in their political campaigns.

"I haven’t heard from any of those people," said Buchwald. "Since the Democratic National Committee has the luxury and importance of an editorialist named Howard Stern who is on their side, they kind of got their cake and are eating it too. Now they don’t have to endanger anything, because they have Howard’s very clear voice, who is very important to his constituency and will react to Howard being as lucid and vivid and intelligent and understandable as he is. So they got that."

The Observer also revealed that Senator John Kerry turned down an offer to appear on Stern's upcoming ABC interview show. The show was to debut in May, but will now appear in November just prior to the November 2 Presidential election. The entire one-hour show would have been dedicated to the likely Democratic Presidential nominee, but show producer Lee Hoffman was turned down by Kerry’s chief public-relations official, Stephanie Cutter.

"They weren’t interested in doing the interview and they haven’t been particularly supportive of him," said Hoffman, who not only alleges the outcome would have been different if Katie Couric were making the request, but "if any other person in America called and said, ‘I want to do a one-hour interview with John Kerry, in prime time, on one of the four big networks,’ the answer would have been, ‘Yes, when can we do it?’ So why is it that it was a no for us?"

Hoffman did say that the show wouldn’t clear questions with the Kerry campaign prior to recording, but did assure them that his personal life would not be a subject of conversation and that they were more interested in discussing "the issues that affect Howard’s audience, which is First Amendment issues."

FCC chairman Michael Powell also declined, prompting Hoffman to ask: "Why won’t the FCC chairman sit down with a broadcaster? This is what Howard is, a legitimate broadcaster, with that large an audience -- it’s outrageous behavior, it’s behavior that you wouldn’t have seen five or 10 years ago, when government officials felt they needed to be responsive to the electorate. Clearly they don’t. That’s what I find so offensive in all of this. At least have the courage to address that audience."

 




 
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