Hudson Valley Water-Cooler
Jane Fonda, who has “apologized” on many occasions for being photographed with American POW’s in North Vietnam (only when she needed to promote something that benefited her career) now wants someone removed from the airwaves.
Mizz Fonda (‘cause she’s a feminist activist you know) along with Gloria Steinem and former “Ms” editor Robin Morgan are calling for the Federal Communications Commission to have right-wing radio personality Rush Limbaugh kicked off the air. (Note: Newspapers are not censored in any way.)
I believe the FCC’s need to exist is to make sure radio stations, TV stations, cell phone and other devices with radio frequency (RF) are all in technical compliance. Meaning, stations shouldn’t interfere with each other, modulate incorrectly and basically stay within tolerances established by engineers.
Any other actions should be the province of our legal system. Heck, the FCC can’t even decide what words or speech is truly indecent. Ask Howard Stern about that one.
I’m not going to get into the political milieu of just why the 3 Mizzes want to compel the FCC to take a person who gives opinions for a living off the air.
Jane Fonda was allowed to give her opinion on the Vietnam War back in the day. She was then a 34 year-old who traveled to North Vietnam and wanted to make a “statement” about America being in the war to begin with. That free speech (as much as it was distasteful to millions of Americans, and perhaps agreed upon by millions of others) was protected under our system, and covered extensively at the time. (My father, a WWII vet wasn’t too pleased.)
Jane and the other Mizzes wrote in a recent opinion—please read that again…opinion piece, that Limbaugh needs to be forcibly taken off the airwaves because of his speech and opinion.
Why? Let me say that I have performed on talk radio during my 42 years in the radio business. I have cherished the fact that I was always given the liberty of speaking my mind on a variety of topics. Some were political in nature (though I prefer to discuss things about lifestyle or entertainment issues). But along the way, I was NEVER told what to say by management or ownership.
Surely, there are guidelines and those dreaded 7 words that I shall never utter on the air. I adhere to that because not only would I be fired, the radio or TV station would be heavily fined for each word that was uttered that are supposedly not allowed, but I would also be fined the same amount of money (which is over $300,000 per infraction) as well!
Rush knows this. Don Imus knows this. John & Ken on KFI Radio know this (I was their Program Director just before they became stars on talk radio in Los Angeles). Every person who has ever spoken into an open microphone meant for broadcast knows this. But this isn’t about those bad words.
This is about giving an opinion, but in his case, a choice of words (for which Mr. Limbaugh has apologized on a couple of occasions). Again, this isn’t about politics. Or is it? The woman who was the target of Limbaugh’s unwise verbiage is very plugged-in to the side-taking political machines. She had an agenda, much like Limbaugh does. So this became political whether either person wanted it to or not.
Advertisers and listeners will ultimately decide his fate.
But what do the 3 Mizzes ultimately want? “It’s time for the public to take back our broadcast resources,” they claim. Huh?
Take it back from whom? I don’t agree with what the 3 Mizzes believe, just as I don’t agree with everything Limbaugh has to say. But I will go to my grave defending his and their right to have an opinion, distributed in any way we now know or may in the future of communications. And nobody can or should take away someone’s right to speak freely on a public airwave.
If people don’t like what is being said, every radio and television device ever made has two buttons: on/off and volume. I have tuned-in to so-called comedian Bill Maher’s rhetoric on TV (although that’s on cable, where you can say the 7 same bad words you can’t say on broadcast—but that’s another column) and I sometimes move the dial to something else. But I will defend his right to say what he does with every breath I take. BE BIG!
Discuss. Email: BigJay@BigJaySorensen.com