JWR Roger SimonMona CharenLinda Chavez
Larry ElderJonathan S. Tobin
Thomas SowellWilliam PfaffRobert Scheer
Don FederCal Thomas
Left, Right & Center
Jewish World Review / April 10, 1998 / 14 Nissan, 5758

Cal Thomas

Cal Thomas CBS: touched by a perv

THE ONCE-GREAT COLUMBIA Broadcasting System, which mined a lot of gold during television's Golden Age with such talents and shows as Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Jackie Gleason, Red Skelton, "CBS Playhouse" and Ed Sullivan, and more recently has presented the uplifting and highly rated "Touched by an Angel" and the family-oriented "Promised Land," is now about to grant legitimacy to Howard Stern, the king of all filth.

Stern has signed a deal to begin televising his radio program on 12 of the 14 CBS-owned television stations in August. It will be similar to the show he produces for the cable network E! Entertainment Television.

In commenting on the deal, Stern Howard-the-perv correctly observed: "Television is ready for someone like me ... standards have gone to an all-time low, and I'm here to represent the change."

Stern has read the polls that people don't care if the president of the United States is harassing women or having sex in the Oval Office. He figures if they'll tolerate outrageous sexual behavior there, they'll support such behavior on television. He may be right.

While Stern's appearance on CBS stations may be an acknowledgment of society's lower standards, it is also an indication that CBS is a co-conspirator in the decline.

One person who has refused to lend her name and reputation to CBS is nationally syndicated radio talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger. A source close to her program told me that "Dr. Laura" was ready to accept a lucrative offer from CBS to do her own show on morals and values until she heard the network had signed Stern. Then, the source said, she immediately rejected the contract offer for an "Oprah"-like show on the same stations on which Stern will now appear. To Schlessinger's way of thinking, accepting the CBS deal would be akin to "going to bed with the devil."

In our me-first culture, one rarely sees such commitment to principle demonstrated, though a case could be made that she should have done the show anyway to counter Stern and let the best ratings win. But Schlessinger isn't like that. She reportedly "has no intention of getting into a spitting contest with a skunk."

The signing of Stern follows by a week a decision by CBS Sports not to offer a broadcast analyst contract to the Green Bay Packers' star player, Reggie White. White delivered a speech to Wisconsin legislators in which he called homosexuality a sin and mentioned how different racial and ethnic groups bring unique gifts to the culture. Certain groups, always on the lookout to be offended in order to call attention to themselves, took offense at White's remarks. CBS Sports, which has been burned in the past by the late Jimmy "the Greek" Snyder's comments about athletic skills he linked to race, quickly caved.

So the message is that Howard Stern, who recently "auditioned" porno actors by having them drop their drawers and showed it on the E! channel, will now be delivering his social effluent to a wider audience on CBS.

Perhaps goodness has become offensive to some CBS executives, who must socialize with people who undoubtedly mock shows like "Touched by an Angel" and "Promised Land." Hollywood critic Michael Medved has written that most producers and executives prefer the approval of their peers to that of critics and audiences. If that is true, the Howard Stern show will be a hit among the elite and the perverted. One wonders, though, what the ghosts of Skelton, Gleason, Sullivan and Lucy and Desi would say.

Thank God for Laura Schlessinger, who has higher standards than CBS' toothless Office of Standards and Practices. By hiring Howard Stern, CBS wins the race to the sewer.


4/8/98: Judge Wright's wrong reasoning on sexual harassment
4/2/98: How about helping American cities before African?
3/31/98:Revenge of the children
3/29/98: The Clinton strategy: delay, deceive, deny, and destroy
3/26/98: Moralist Gary Hart
3/23/98: CNN's century of (liberal) women
3/17/98: Dandy Dan
3/15/98: An imposed 'settlement' settles nothing
3/13/98: David Brock's Turnabout

©1998, Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Inc.