As I mentioned over at electablog, tonight, many ABC affiliates will not be showing Saving Private Ryan out of concerns that the FCC will fine them for profanity and violence
This cowardice shouldn’t surprise anyone at this point. This is the new era of knee-jerk, right wing conservatism on one hand and free expressionists with their tails (and tales) between their legs on the other.
The biggest disappointment of this new era is Howard Stern. Sure the FCC was out to get him. And sure, he has the right to trade in his paycheck for a significant piece of an up and coming company. But the bottom line is that the broadcast thought police are getting exactly what they wanted. Howard will soon be ghettoized on satellite radio. And if satellite radio goes mainstream, they’ll try to chase him away from there as well.
Howard may have won, but his listeners lost (and not just because his entire shtick is based on poking a finger in the eye of a nemesis that will soon disappear). Many folks out there defended Howard Stern, not because they like him, but because it was important to make a stand for free speech and to let the obsenity police know that it wouldn’t be so easy to remove Howard from the airwaves. For better or for worse, Howard was a vocal representative of a larger cause.
And any way you look at it, he left his loyalists in a state of defeated silence. But don’t worry. They’re getting used to it.