Skip to comments.Could the ''Howard Stern Voter'' cause a Kerry Presidency?
Posted on 08/18/2004 10:19:55 AM PDT by crushkerry
With the election being so close, both in the polls and in 2000, a new voter subgroup has caught the eye of some pundits. This year, instead of "soccer moms" and "NASCAR Dads", there is talk of the "Howard Stern Voter". To those of you on Mars (like Fred "Eric" Norris) Stern has for the last few months been launching daily broadsides at President Bush and the Administration due to fines and harassment by the FCC.
The media profile of a "Howard Stern Voter" (HSV for short) is an 18-30 year old man who has in the past either not voted and is politically apathetic. The thought among some is that Stern's daily comments will energize the HSV into getting to the polls, not as much to vote for Kerry, but to vote out the President. Even the respected paper The Hill has weighed in on the subject.
Herein, we examine the question of whether or not the HSV will make any difference in the 2004 election.
First, before examining the political aspects of the HSV, let's get out some facts and our opinion on the underlying issue. We have been Stern fans for about the last 16 years, some of us first discovering him when he came on in Philadelphia, and have listened to him ever since. Not only is he one of the best interviewers around, but has helped many of us start off a dreary work day by laughing our heads off. Many of our family and friends don't like him. That's fine, we say - turn him off.
In the wake of the Janet Jackson episode at the Super Bowl the FCC began cracking down on "indecency" on the airwaves and their first target was Stern. They began issuing large fines against the radio stations that carried him for show material sometimes years old. Congress, at the behest of Sen. Brownback of Kansas (where Stern is not on the air), has been pushing for even greater regulation of "indecent" material on the airwaves, including a provision that could cost some companies their radio licenses. In fact, Clear Channel Communications pulled Stern off 6 stations nationwide (he was promptly hired by other companies in those areas).
As conservatives we feel that Stern is mostly correct in his complaints that the FCC fines are not only unfair, but a governmental intrusion into speech. The main problem is that Stern, and every other radio or TV broadcaster, have no clear guidelines on what the FCC considers "indecent", thus you are stuck with schmucks like Tom Chiusano sitting by a "dump" button without knowing what is not considered "indecent". Given the harsh penalties associated with a finding of "indecency" no one wants to take the chance on allowing questionable material to be aired. Further, and most galling to fans, is that Stern is doing and saying nothing different than he did before, and was never fined for those comments.
Here's our ultimate message to Stern haters. Turn him off. And let us, not the government, "protect" our children from what is on his show. What you find offensive, some of us find funny.
But here is where we part company with Stern. His recent harangues against the Bush and the Bush Administration are misplaced. First, the primary FCC member trying to push Stern off the air is Michael J. Copps, former Chief of Staff to DEMOCRATIC Senator "Fritz Hollings. President Bush has likely never paid one second of attention to Howard Stern, yet Stern, rightly feeling his career in jeopardy, not due to ratings but to being fined out of existence has turned both barrels on the President and conservatives in general.
In fact, John Kerry has indicated he wouldn't do anything different with regard to Stern, and voted the "Brownback" position in raising fines on broadcasters.Pulled into this discussion by Stern is John Ashcroft who has nothing to do with Stern or his license, yet remains a handy left wing whipping boy. Further, Stern insists that Clear Channel's removal of him from 6 stations after the fines was not a result of the fines, but rather, his criticism of President Bush and Republicans. Clear Channel PAC and its employees have given almost $250,000 to the GOP.
This charge is pure conspiracy theory. It's quite possible Clear Channel felt the huge amounts of money brought in by Stern did not outweigh the potential fines and possible loss of license. Unfortunately, this is not the only conspiracy theory Stern has latched on to in his criticisms of the President. He has done heavy promotion for Michael Moore's "F911" movie, despite the fact that it has been proven to contain numerous lies and distortions. He has also spoken highly of left-wing America hater Al Franken, and makes many comments concerning the President's supposed "draft dodging" and his "lying" to the American people about WMD's, and manipulation of the terror threat warnings. Sadly, in venting and discussing his entirely legitimate complaint against the FCC, Stern has ventured into the realm of cranks in his specific criticisms concerning President Bush's actions.
So now comes the political question. Can Howard Stern turn out enough HSV's to make a difference in the election?
Those who say "no" automatically should consider a few things. Howard Stern's fan base is perhaps the most loyal of any entertainer in the country. Anyone whose been to the "DeBella Funeral", or was one of the 25,000 people in line at his book signing can attest to this fact. Further, the mere mention by Stern about a website can overload a server, and if Stern tells his people to contact a politician, he or she better hire a few new interns to handle the mail opening. There is no doubt that Stern has the ability to mobilize large numbers of people. Also keep in mind that despite the complaints of some listeners about the show becoming "too political", Stern's ratings in nearly every market since the controversy started have reached record levels, and most importantly he literally owns the 18-34 year old male demographic, who are historically non-voters.
Clearly, given the closeness of the election it is possible that the HSV's will swing the election. Why?
First, because despite the elitist stereotype of the average Stern listener as a dope, Howard's audience is on whole, a very intelligent bunch. How do we know that (besides the fact that we are listeners?) Because advertisers go after his primary demographic (the 18-34 year old men) that have a lot of disposable income. You don't get disposable income by being an idiot. And anyone who listens can attest to the fact that many professionals listen to his show.
However it is because they are so smart that most listeners realize that in Stern's harangues against the President are based on the lies and distortions of the far left, and thus don't pay them much credence. Most, we believe, sympathize with the specific issue he faces, but realize that he has bought into the land of loonies and will vote for either Kerry or Bush based on factors entirely apart from Stern. Are there some who will get out to the polls purely based on what Stern says, without exploring the issue further? Sure, but how many remains a question. The only thing to be worried about is that Florida in 2000 teaches us that every vote, especially in swing states is vital.
Thus, we need to look at which potential swing state in which the HSV may have an impact. Stern is on in a few swing states such as FL, OH, NV, MO and to a lesser extent WI (We don't consider PA or MI "swing states" - they're Kerry states). Of all these states, and given the recent polls, we think that the HSV's have the potential to have the biggest impact on OH and FL.
So what to make of the HSV? Our conclusion is that unless the GOP does everything possible to Get Out the Vote and mobilize its base, its entirely possible that Janet Jackson and Michael J. Copps could be to blame for a Kerry Administration. And while we certainly part company with Stern on the issue of whom we want to be President, we do hope the government will leave him alone and allow him to continue enteraining those of us who find him The King Of All Media.
BS; steaming pile of BS.
I was a Howard fan for several years. One thing I find about Celeb's, is I don't think people really listen to who they should vote for in elections.
No. I doubt these idiots vote in any significant numbers.
Is Stern Fans even REGISTERED?
No, next question.
I doubt Howard Stern finds can find their polling place, even without the thick cloud of ganja smoke around their heads.
Although, I still think it will be a Dubya landslide, Stern is a gathering storm in Florida. Ironically, just like Elian was the margin of victory in Fla in 2000, the Janet Jackson fallout may be the difference in 2004.
Think that at your own peril. I would hate for them to make the diff. in a close election. The GOP needs to GOTV for many reasons, not just for the Stern Voters.
These ain't DO-ers, they ain't even TALKERS, they're just listeners . Fuggedaboudit...
They play the Howard Stern show here on the local rock station. They used to be all music, but I guess there isn't rock worth listening to anymore. Anyway, if the D.J's at this station are any indication of the average Stern listener, they will be too stoned to vote on Nov 2.
Bush had nothing to do with the War on Stern, which was in earnest during Clinton's reign as well.
Pissing off Howard Stern was a huge, and hugely stupid, error by the Bush folks.
The idea that his middle-school hijinks should be censored when stuff that is 10, 50, 100 times more offensive plays everday, all day long, on cable, makes no sense whatever.
The "Howard Stern" demographic voted for George Bush by a huge margin in 2000, and it cannot help but be diminished by Stern's constant bashing of him.
ROTFL!! This guy can't possibly be series!
Does he play the blackman's blues on a GoGo?
he's a non-factor. only left on about 3 stations.
he bragged about his coming to the Twin Cities , until he got his ratings arse handed to him by the local FM morning show that's been going on for 15 years-he was off air about 3 months later.
Separated at birth?
Pataki, Gulianni and Todd-Whitman would all disagree. All credit Stern with helping to get them elected.
The real question is, do his fans outside NY/NJ actually vote based on what he says, because his fans in NY/NJ have already shown that they do.
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