Opie & Anthony

Last week an outrage occured over the suspension of satellite radio shock jocks, Opie and Anthony over similar content to what got Imus canceled.  I’m sure some special interest groups are sitting back in their chairs sipping some kind non-alcoholic beverage and giving each other high fives.  However, they could not be more wrong in these kinds of activities.

I do not agree with the content produced by most shock jocks.  This is certainly not limited to Imus, O&A, or even Mr. Stern.  I find most of the content degrading and not to mention rude.  However, I also believe in something that most people forget when they attack and get people like the shock jocks suspended or fired, that belief is in something called “freedom of speech” and not “freedom of speech as long as I approve” which seems to be the meaning it is taking these days.

The problem stems from those that feel that should police the speaking of others so as not to offend anyone.  You can not say certain words, talk about certain things, or even mention certain kinds of people on radio or television without the possibility of being sued, fired, or suspended.  But there is another type of problem that exists, and that is pay radio.  You see, I believe that public broadcast radio should be censored to some degree, primarily in the language department.  It is very hard to prevent someone from listening to public radio.  There is no way to block a station or even prevent it from being heard all together.  So yes, there should be some standards that need to be followed.  I know that might sound hypocritical, but it is the way I feel.  My problem is that when these interest groups start attack things like satellite radio, radio that people actually pay money to listen to.   You see, once you start paying for it, it is no longer public broadcast and does not fall under the same needs for standards as public radio.

With pay radio, there is something that can be done at the consumer level to set a standard.  That is something is quite simply, don’t pay for it.  If you do not like the content you do not pay for it, if you do not want someone not listening to a certain station, you can block stations on most satellite radio receivers.  So why are Opie & Anthony being suspended?  The answer is quite simple.  The special interest groups have taken over and are going to ensure your radio does not offend anyone.  My problem with this is that when I was paying for Sirius, I was paying for unedited and uncensored music.  I am not always in the mood to hear cussing in my music, especially when my daughter is with me.  You know how I handle this situation?  I change the channel or song (if I’m listening to my iPod).  It is really that simple.

You see, while these special interest groups are working to stop the kind of behavior they find offensive they are slowly eroding the right to freedom of speech.  My issue is that no one is forcing anyone to listen to anything they find offensive, so the issue really should be moot but hey, what do I know I can actually think for myself.

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