According to the local CBS station in L.A., Councilmember Jan Perry “introduced legislation this week that would call upon media companies to ensure ‘on-air hosts do not use and promote racist and sexist slurs’ on radio and other broadcasts.”
The resolution, which the L.A. Times notes is only a “symbolic” move, passed 13-2.
“It’s exactly appropriate for this council to speak up against the vile things we hear on the airwaves,” Councilman Paul Krekorian told the Times. According to him, he doesn’t want to see free speech stifled, but rather is looking “to seek a greater consensus on what is appropriate speech and to reject what is not.” [Quote is referring to the Times’ paraphrase — it is not Krekorian’s exact words]
That raises the question: Isn’t coming to a greater consensus on appropriate speech the beginning of censoring free speech?
Just consider what local radio host Dominique DiPrima of KJLH-FM (102.3), who supports the resolution thinks.
“Instead of censoring people, or firing people, we want to see representation in terms of hiring and clear standards of what can and can’t be said on the air,” she said. [Emphasis added]
And that raises another question: Who decides what is tolerable and intolerable beyond the regulations already set forth by the FCC?
KTTV reported on the resolution yesterday, before it passed:
“It is easy to become desensitized to what other groups find intolerable which ultimately fosters an environment where negative comments can go unchecked and corporate guidelines and policies are no longer being enforced,” the resolution reads, according to CBS. It calls on the stations to hire a more “diverse” list of talent.
According to reports, the resolution was initially aimed at local radio hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of KFI 640 AM who referred to Whitney Houston as a “crack ho” a few days after her death. (They were later suspended for a week.) But an amendment soon broadened the resolution to all local stations.
Also mentioned in the resolution? Rush Limbaugh for his remarks about Sandra Fluke.
Members of Black Media Alliance, National Hispanic Media Coalition, Korean-American Bar Association, and American Indians in Film and Television all supported the statement.