Two editorials showing support for indecency poster boy Howard Stern hit newsstands in the last several days. Both USA Today's Tony Mauro and Public Radio talk show host Ira Glass (via The New York Times) find inconsistencies in recent indecency rulings against Stern when compared to other alleged "indecent" incidences on Oprah, in politics and in news reporting, and in the context of debating the indecency issue itself.
Mauro even goes as far as suggesting that the massively covered President Clinton sex scandal, by today's FCC standards, would be off limits. His support for Stern's free speech rights is encapsulated in his closing remarks: "You may find Stern to represent the most objectionable humor and commentary known to man, but in his battle against censorship, he stands for us all."
Glass, who considers himself "a brother to Stern as never before," comments in his piece that "context doesn't always matter" and that if a word on his show could "increase a child's vocabulary, if some members of the public find something 'grossly offensive,' the FCC can issue fines."
"What's craziest about this new indecency witch hunt," Glass continues, "is that it's based on the premise that just one exposure to filthy words will damage a child. (I've yet to hear a scientific study proving even repeated exposure affects children)."
Glass closes by recounting an appearance on his show by Brent Bozell, who's Parents Television Council has organized write-in campaigns against Stern. When Glass asked Bozell what harm Janet Jackson's breast or Stern's use of the term "anal sex" had on young listeners, Bozell replied that it "destroyed the innocence of childhood." At that, Glass points out that Bozell had just used the phrase "anal sex" himself, presumably doing as much harm to kids as Stern did on April 9, 2003.