(Believe it or not, I listen to Howard Stern. I like when he makes fun of the news and interviews celebrities. I turn it off when he points out women's "problem areas" on their bodies.)
Posted on Sun, Jul. 18, 2004 The Philadelphia Inquirer
America Votes | Shock jock veers into fray of election
Howard Stern leaves little to the imagination about whom he supports. It's not Bush.
Inquirer Staff Writer
Posted on Sun, Jul. 18, 2004
The Philadelphia Inquirer
To the naked ear, Howard Stern is still our regent of raunch. Lately, he has groused to his loyal listeners about the zit on his nose and the cellulite on his butt, dished about his morning trysts with his model-girlfriend, and opined on the watchability of DVD porn.
But Stern has also ushered in the era of shock-jock politics, so when he split for a long vacation at the start of July, he minced no words:
"I'm not only anti-Bush, I support John Kerry... . He's going to be the guy who gets us back on track... . Our audience is really making a difference in this upcoming election... . It turns out everyone listens to us, especially a lot of dudes who are swing voters."
This might seem a bit outlandish, the idea that Stern, who features a 30-second audio clip of flatulence on his Web site, would fancy himself a presidential power broker. After all, this is a guy whose ill-fated 1994 New York gubernatorial bid was based on only two issues: "Fix the roads at night, and kill the criminals."
But he has been railing against Bush for months, on everything from Iraq to gay rights, and this is a guy who each week commandeers 8.2 million pairs of ears; only Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have bigger audiences. Stern is a fixture in a number of key states, including Pennsylvania, Ohio and Missouri. And, starting Monday, he is picking up three new markets in Florida, including the swing-voter cities of Orlando and Tampa, along with Pittsburgh.
"The Bush campaign is ignoring Stern's attacks, which began in earnest in March after the Federal Communications Commission cracked down on his crass talk. Bush spokesman Kevin Madden hews to the high road: "The American people are going to choose their President based on careful consideration of the big issues facing the country, namely the economy and winning the war on terror."
Other Bush backers are willing to utter Stern's name, if only to shrug him off. GOP pollster David Winston says: "Listeners may find it interesting that Stern opposes the President, but they'll put it in the context of entertainment. He's an entertainer, not a political sage."
Stern has been dissing Bush daily, calling him the kinds of names that ticked-off motorists usually use in traffic, and generally painting him as mortal danger to the republic. He has also retooled his official Web site, adding a plethora of anti-Bush links, and featuring a 60-second anti-Bush audio attack ("You committed American troops to war, but when it was your turn to go to war, you went to Daddy and said: 'Boo hoo...'. ").
And fan Web sites record his every utterance. Here's a typical excerpt from June 28: "Howard said that [Fahrenheit 9/11] is scary because it's so real and you see what the President is up to while in office. Howard spent a couple of minutes on that and then took a call from High Pitch Erik who was flushing the toilet."