We all knew this was just a matter of time: the FCC has ruled that the Howard Stern radio show is… wait for it… a NEWS show. From the Post:
The Federal Communications Commission accorded Stern’s show that status yesterday in granting it an exemption from federal equal-time rules, which enable candidates to demand airtime from television and radio stations when their rivals have been interviewed or featured on the air.
… The ruling will allow Stern to interview Schwarzenegger on his program, which is heard on 44 stations nationwide, including locally on WJFK-FM (106.7). But more broadly, the FCC — which is controlled by deregulatory-minded conservatives — signaled that it would go easy on enforcing the equal-time rules, which have been in existence since 1934. The commission said entertainment programs similar to Stern’s, which feature some news elements, would qualify for exemptions in the future.
“What this means is that every ‘morning zoo’ disc jockey whose brother-in-law is running for city council can put him on the air without worrying about giving equal time to anyone else,” said Andrew Jay Schwartzman, a communications lawyer who heads the Media Access Project in Washington. “They’ve removed the notion that a bona fide news interview show is supposed to apply to journalists. If Howard Stern is a real journalist, real journalists should be upset.”
In an era where a large portion of the population gets it’s “news” from such journalistic mainstays as David Letterman and Jay Leno, this is hardly surprising. Evidently, the FCC doesn’t understand the difference between “current events” and “news.” I’m disgusted.
And another thing – isn’t it scary how conservatives on every level, from Federal to local, are doing whatever they can do to ensure that Schwarzenegger takes the governorship of California?