If Clear Channel won’t clean up its airways, then surely it’s time for the public to ask the FCC a basic question: Are the stations carrying Limbaugh’s show in fact using their licenses “in the public interest?”
Spectrum is a scarce government resource. Radio broadcasters are obligated to act in the public interest and serve their respective communities of license. In keeping with this obligation, individual radio listeners may complain to the FCC that Limbaugh’s radio station (and those syndicating his show) are not acting in the public interest or serving their respective communities of license by permitting such dehumanizing speech.
The FCC takes such complaints into consideration when stations file for license renewal. For local listeners near a station that carries Limbaugh’s show, there is plenty of evidence to bring to the FCC that their station isn’t carrying out its public interest obligation. Complaints can be registered under the broadcast category of the FCC website: http://www.fcc.gov/complaints
This isn’t political. While we disagree with Limbaugh’s politics, what’s at stake is the fallout of a society tolerating toxic, hate-inciting speech. For 20 years, Limbaugh has hidden behind the First Amendment, or else claimed he’s really “doing humor” or “entertainment.” He is indeed constitutionally entitled to his opinions, but he is not constitutionally entitled to the people’s airways.
That’s certainly correct, that Limbaugh is entitled to say whatever he wants, but he isn’t entitled to a radio show. But using the FCC to boot him? That opens a door to a lot of bad stuff. A lot of folks in the U.S. don’t think that feminism or liberalism or two dudes kissing is “in the public interest.” And yes, obviously there are major differences between dehumanizing hate speech and a gay character on a television show, but that doesn’t matter, because it’s not feminists and liberals who are making the rules.
I would love — LOVE love love love love — to get Rush Limbaugh off the air. I won’t listen to or support Clear Channel stations until he’s gone (which he won’t be anytime soon). I think he’s a vile shitbag, and I think it says something very sad about American society that he’s a national figure. But strategically, going to the FCC is a bad move, and one that will eventually be used against us.