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XM Satellite Radio Backlash

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the making-unhappy-customers dept.

Censorship 594

mrchubbs writes "Sponsors and subscribers to XM Radio are protesting the decision by XM management to suspend the Opie and Anthony show for comments made on an uncensored channel. Subscribers are canceling subscriptions — some estimate that between 20,000 and 40,000 have cancelled. Some are even smashing their radios in protest. Sponsors are pulling ads. Also, there is some evidence of XM not honoring cancellation requests, forcing multiple calls to finally get accounts canceled." Of course this dispute isn't a free-speech issue. "Free speech" refers to a prohibition on censorship by the government; XM is free to do as it wishes with the content it broadcasts, within the law.

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594 comments

Response (5, Insightful)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197325)

And, as The Dixie Chicks found out, the public is free to respond as they see fit.

Re:Response (-1, Troll)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197501)

By giving them the top Grammy awards? (Best record, song AND album)

Re:Response (5, Insightful)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197805)

By giving them the top Grammy awards? (Best record, song AND album)

The public doesn't award Grammy Awards, it's an industry award including some of the beloved RIAA members [wikipedia.org]

Of course, they're sooo with it. Like when they gave "Jethro Tull" a Grammy for "Best Heavy Metal Album" or something like that.

It's a political award: nothing else.

Re:Response (1, Insightful)

briancnorton (586947) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197647)

This is certainly not a troll. Corporate censors need only answer to their customers. The Dixie Chicks are the perfect example. They made comments that offended people, those people stopped buying records. Radio stations stopped playing them because people were mad at them. The Grammys are certainly not given by "the people" but rather by the RIAA that everybody here claims to hate. It was given to them as a political statement, rather than a reflection of their album being the best. (note: I like the Dixie Chicks, but their last album was just "ok")

I knew something was wrong with XM... (4, Funny)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197349)

That's why I performed the ultimate protest and never signed up with them in the first place.

I'm glad this situation validates my accidental act of protest.

Re:I knew something was wrong with XM... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19197725)

Other things wrong with XM they need to boost their signal, illegally, with terrestrial transmiters which operate at greater power than is allowed by the FCC. They don't have the NFL, and lost Nascar. I'm looking pretty smart for buying Sirius stock early. (Although I must confess that was entirely based on their exclusive NFL deal). Not that Opie and Anthony don't suck, they do, they sucked on terrestrial radio, and they suck from space. And not because they're contraversial, no, they just suck. But when they're the only thing that XM has going and XM gets rid of them, that not so much shooting oneself in the foot as it is shooting oneself in the mouth.

Re:I knew something was wrong with XM... (0, Troll)

Afecks (899057) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197729)

Too bad it doesn't validate your accidental birth...

ZING!

Must Be A Joke (4, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197355)

Problems with XM? Surely you can't be Sirius. ;-)

Re:Must Be A Joke (5, Funny)

chrono13 (879557) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197381)

Siriusly, my name is not Surely!

Registration Required? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19197369)

Login: abuse@slashdot.org
Password: slashdot

Enjoy!

Re:Registration Required? (3, Insightful)

BinBoy (164798) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197575)

If you support the right of adults to pay for and listen to whatever speech they want, I strongly suggest creating your own account to add to their numbers and join in the fun.

Re:Registration Required? (1)

kasek (514492) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197683)

tell me how creating your own account on the LA Times website so you can read the article helps you 'support the rights of adults to pay for and listen to whatever speech they want'

Re:Registration Required? (1)

BinBoy (164798) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197727)

Sorry, I thought he was referring to the peopleagainstcensorship.org [peopleagai...orship.org] web site, which is organizing the protest. But now I don't even see a link to that site. I must be going crazy.

Re:Registration Required? (4, Insightful)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197701)

Why does the toerag editor have to come in and assure us that this is not a free speech issue?

Free speech is not merely the absence of censorship. That is why we built the Web in the first place. A world where only Robert Maxwell and Rupert Murdoch have a voice is not a world of free speech.

There are only two satelite radio systems and there will soon only be one. Even if you are Bill Gates you cannot set up your own because they require a license for the radio band.

So censorship by XM is certainly a free speech issue even if you beleive that only censorship by governments count.

In reality most repressive governments end up outsourcing their censorship. That is how it happens in Iran most of the time. In Russia the Putin regime makes sure that only its allies get to keep a radio or TV license.

This is of course a result of the defenstration of Imus for his racist remarks. Of course Glen Back and Bill O'Riely still spew their filth every day. And the talking heads on the cable networks see absolutely no contradiction between accusing the blogosphere of being 'angry' and 'hate filled', then interviewing someone like Ann Coulter who has just written a book accusing liberals of treason.

The difference between the Opie/Anthony and Imus situations is that Imus targeted a bunch of college kids with racial abuse. Opie and Anthony made fun of three powerful women, all of whom are fair game.

Re:Registration Required? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19197713)

Idiots merely malformed the URL. Just chop off all the arguments getting passed and it should work just fine without registration. (cookies may or may not be a different story, didn't bother to try).

People Against Censorship (4, Informative)

MrP- (45616) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197375)

http://www.peopleagainstcensorship.org [peopleagai...orship.org]

Re:People Against Censorship (0, Troll)

The Dobber (576407) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197397)

It's hardly a censorship issue. XM, as a private company can hire ad fire whoever they like, so long as they don't violate anyones rights. XM took offense as to what they did and handed them their walking papers.

Re:People Against Censorship (5, Interesting)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197467)

It's hardly a censorship issue. XM, as a private company can hire ad fire whoever they like

I hear this argument a lot - That doesn't make it any more accurate.

It very much still counts as censorship - Just not the "protected" kind that the government can't do.

Yes, Sirius has the legal power to get rid of any of their employees, within the terms of their employees' contracts and various antidiscrimination laws. But that doesn't make it right, and we need to stop putting up with crap like this, much less justifying it with "as a private company...".

Re:People Against Censorship (5, Insightful)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197509)

It's totally time that we, the people, are empowered to tell them, those other people (who don't count as much as we), what they can and can't do with their property.

Re:People Against Censorship (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197661)

We're already empowered. For example, these other people can't shoot us with any guns they own, because they don't count as much as we.

Re:People Against Censorship (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197767)

It's totally time that we, the people, are empowered to tell them, those other people (who don't count as much as we), what they can and can't do with their property.

I consider myself rather cynical, but even I wouldn't call employees "property".

More importantly, though, "those other people" don't exist as people! Call me crazy, but I strongly believe that real live humans should have far, far more rights than fictional legal entities.

Why, you might ask?

Simple - You can't imprison a corporation (and only rarely do we imprison the leaders thereof; lookup "hydra" on Wiki for an idea of the effectiveness of that). You can't kill a corporation (well, you can, but in 230 years of abuse by our corporate masters, the government has only used it a very, very small number of times, and never for actual "crimes" such as Bhopal - No, they've used it in reponse to manipulations of another legal fiction, the economy). You can't meaningfully impose any punishment on a corporation, beyond fines (which with very, very few exceptions amount to nothing more than a nuissance, "just the cost of doing business").

So, that leaves us with entities with the rights of real live humans, with absolutely no morals, a single-minded obsession with profit, and no reason to fear serious punishment.

So yeah, I damned well do think we should have the right to tell these legal fictions what they can and can't do with "their" property - Starting with not allowing them to own property in the first place.

Re:People Against Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19197825)

You still reject the blatant reality thtat the Bhopal incident was a blatant act of sabotage, don't you.

Re:People Against Censorship (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197843)

If there were no legal fictions, there wouldn't be satellite radio.

And besides, Opie and the other guy are shouting at the wind without the satellite, which seems like something that can be called property without much hand wringing.

Re:People Against Censorship (1)

noshellswill (598066) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197847)

Property? Own?? The "public" electromagnetic spectrum??? Ohmeohmy ... the business_nazi/Libertoon inspired theft of the commons doesn't just talk greed it SCREAMS. And then arrogates powers beyond that of the commons (ie) government. Who will rid us of this plague .....?

Re:People Against Censorship (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197859)

t's totally time that we, the people, are empowered to tell them, those other people (who don't count as much as we), what they can and can't do with their property.

No, but as you see, the people (listeners), the other people (advertisers), are free to pull their support from that other other's people property, and thus in effect turn the property into nothing (since without listeners and advertisers, what's a radio's worth anyway).

Re:People Against Censorship (1, Insightful)

h2g2bob (948006) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197799)

Yes, Sirius has the legal power to get rid of any of their employees, [...] But that doesn't make it right

So, is making jokes about rape on national radio "right"?

Re:People Against Censorship (1)

nbauman (624611) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197803)

It's hardly a censorship issue. XM, as a private company can hire ad fire whoever they like

I hear this argument a lot - That doesn't make it any more accurate.

It very much still counts as censorship - Just not the "protected" kind that the government can't do.

You're right. For example, if a university fired a professor for expressing unpopular views, as they often do, that would be censorship.

And in this case, if they were motivated by their upcoming merger, then it's government censorship after all.

Re:People Against Censorship (1)

Garrett Fox (970174) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197823)

It's true that XM's actions aren't justified just because the company has a legal right to do them; we just don't have a legal method of forcing that judgment on them. Instead what people are doing is exercising their own right to cancel their subscription, which will influence the company's decision in turn. I see the backlash as normal and healthy.

Re:People Against Censorship (2, Insightful)

Avumede (111087) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197829)

So, you have an opinion that these guys shouldn't have had a suspension? I'm curious, is it that:

1) What they said wasn't grossly racist and offensive?

or

2) What they said was grossly racist and offensive, but once they are hired they can't possibly be fired or have any disciplinary action.

or

3) They are supposed to be grossly racist and offensive, so any complaints about it should be ignored.

Re:People Against Censorship (1)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197793)

I certainly think this was a shameful move by XM. I am definitely opposed to such censorship. What they did is not illegal, but it is wrong. Part of the issue is XM does control the market for satellite radio, and there is little alternative for broadcast over the medium, free of censorship restrictions. Since XM controls the satellites and there is no law that says they must not censor information on leased space on those satellites, there is little alternative for people to broadcast censorship free over the medium. In fact similar laws do exist for terrestrial common carriers such as telephone companies, and as well they should apply to ISPs, that require them to carry customer data free of censorship and modification. This is essential, given the monopoly position of the telephone company, and their position in society in providing a telecommunications link which needs to be used by customers, information providers and users, to distribute content. Content distribution should not be centralised but decentralised, this assures freedom of speech, and this requires that one should not need to own a communications grid to do it, but rather should be able to rent space on another communications grid which is shared with others. The communications network can be more easily be funded as such with many users who alone couldnt afford to build their own network using it, and it encourages intellectual diversity in society, keeping access to these networks open and affordable for all.

Not free speech, free enterprise! (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197379)

And things are happening just exactly as they should! It's a free enterprise system and people are voting with their dollars exactly as they should. I'm really happy to see the enormous backlash even if I am a little surprised by it.

Cable TV was supposed to deliver the kind of raw material that the public craves. It wasn't able to sustain it. Satelite radio is supposed to deliver the kind of raw material that the public craves. It has been delivering but the moment someone decides "too far" then they are removing the key value that the public craves.

They should either reverse their decision immediately (for the sake of stock holders!) or go out of business. They no longer offer on their hype and promise... now they are just another radio source and as such, has nothing to offer over terrestrial radio.

(I felt the same way when Dell outsourced its support to other nations... Dell said "everyone's doing it" and I replied, "but that's the advantage Dell had over all the others...their last unique value and now it's gone!")

Re:Not free speech, free enterprise! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19197409)

Mob mentality for the win. Business can't always cave in on customer demands (ethical, morality issues etc) and vice versa. Theres a fine line between balancing profit and social responsbilities.

Re:Not free speech, free enterprise! (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197535)

Dude, when was the last time a *business* decided not do go with pulic opinion because it felt that the *moral* way was right? You must be new. On this planet.

Re:Not free speech, free enterprise! (1)

Watson Ladd (955755) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197663)

It appears that public opinion is on the side of Opie and Anthony. Besides, if I say i'm giving you an uncensored platform, I should give you an uncensored platform. It's called honesty, and it applies to everyone.

Re:Not free speech, free enterprise! (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197763)

You and I are on the same side, I think you missed my sarcasm :)

Re:Not free speech, free enterprise! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19197819)

It appears that public opinion is on the side of Opie and Anthony.
No, it appears that some opinions are on the side of Opie and Anthony.

To show that the majority opinion is on the side of Opie and Anthony, you would need to prove that:

- People have an opinion one way or another. Perhaps, however, most people, even most XM listeners, have never heard of of Opie and Anthony, and have no opinion whatsover.

- There would not be an even more pronounced backlash against XM if they had done nothing, or had supported of Opie and Anthony's juvenile, violent fantasy talk (think of Imus, Virginia Tech, Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder, Howard Cosell, etc.)

Re:Not free speech, free enterprise! (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197685)

Cable TV was supposed to deliver the kind of raw material that the public craves.

No no no, you got that way wrong. that is what they promised but it is not what they ever intended to do.
Cable Tv was started because a few men with lots of money to invest saw a cash cow sitting there. They promised Advertising free, they broke that promise the second someone showed up with a bag of money wanting to put Ad's on the channels.

Everyone listens to the promises these marketing people make, Companies never honor their marketing promises. They honor what makes them the most money.

Cable Tv, the BASIC lineup costs $50.00. that is full of Advertising, 3-4 shopping channels, and all the drek they cant sell but have to carry by law. You are getting $20.00(valued high, I personally feel it's $10.00)worth of programming for 2.5 times the price and most americans will happily swallow it.

It is no surprise that XM is going the same way. Some big advertiser complained and XM only cares about the money.
I guarantee that the handful of subscriptions lost as well as the advertisers lost that are typical for that show are a pittance compared to what they though they were going to lose. sirius channels get more and more advertising on them. XM will do the same.

all of which are following the plan and path laid out by Cable TV. Now even "premium" channels like Disney have commercials. Some other channels like FX has a 50-50 mix of commercials to content not counting the pop up crap.

Re:Not free speech, free enterprise! (2, Informative)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197865)

Cable Tv was started because a few men with lots of money to invest saw a cash cow sitting there. They promised Advertising free, they broke that promise the second someone showed up with a bag of money wanting to put Ad's on the channels.

The cost of making a one-hour drama episode has tripled in the last 15 years from about $1m in the early 1990s to $2.7m, according to some studio executives. Costs of thirty-minute comedies have also spiralled to $1.5m from around $700,000. Quality TV squeezes networks [msn.com]

Cable TV began as a community antenna service. There were adds from the beginning - but none that directly benefited the cable provider or subsidized the cost of original programming.

Re:Not free speech, free enterprise! (5, Funny)

Fear the Clam (230933) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197839)

Cable TV was supposed to deliver the kind of raw material that the public craves.

It's got electrolytes.

I have XM, and I'm fine with it. (0, Flamebait)

Artifex (18308) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197401)

Cool, they canceled Opie & Anthony. I don't listen to talk radio. It's useless to me. I'm serious -- maybe they can shove bandwidth back towards music channels.

Too bad they can't dump Oprah, as well, and a bunch of other stuff.

Re:I have XM, and I'm fine with it. (3, Interesting)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197639)

Funny, I listen to almost nothing but talk radio. The new music channels only spoonfeed you crap that the RIAA companies pay lots of money to promote the hell out of, and the classic rock stations (my previous favorites) only play stuff I already have on CDs and can play myself on my iPod.

Talk radio is the only thing left on the radio that's new and fresh and, depending on which show, halfway decent. I never thought I would fit this profile, but the station I actually listen to the most? NPR, definitely. I'm not a fan of classical music, but their news and talk shows are fantastic. I'm a Morning Edition/All Things Considered/Marketplace addict now.

I have to admit, I hate so-called "shock jocks." I've never listened to Opie and Anthony (I don't have XM), and I can't stand the likes of Michael Savage, Howard Stern, and those types. In my mind, they're all the same. Being stupid for the sole sake of being stupid. It's not funny, it's not enraging, it's overdone so much that it's not even shocking any more.

Oh yeah, and at home, I stream some Internet stations that play independent artists, if that counts.

Re:I have XM, and I'm fine with it. (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197665)

P.S. Before I get busted on a technicality and the point of my post is lost to needless bickering over unimportant points, I realize that Marketplace isn't an NPR show, it's an American Public Media show. But my local public radio station carries both NPR and APM shows, which is why I lumped it in with the others.

It's the best sort of reaction to censorship. (2, Insightful)

Scott Lockwood (218839) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197417)

It's called "Vote with your feet". Perhaps if the people at XM would do what these people have asked, namely, admit their mistake, and put O&A back on the air, then things would be different. As it stands, this is unlikely, and thus, XM's survivability is also unlikely.

Re:It's the best sort of reaction to censorship. (1)

itlurksbeneath (952654) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197455)

Still, aren't there a couple HUNDRED other channels on XM that one could listen to besides the O&A show? It's like canceling your cable because of bad reruns of the Rosanne show or something that "offended" you on the Colbert Report. Just change the channel, people. If nobody listens to that channel, it'll get canceled eventually.

Re:It's the best sort of reaction to censorship. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19197531)

You obviously haven't grasped what the protest is about. Go read the story.

Re:It's the best sort of reaction to censorship. (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197553)

It's like canceling your cable because of bad reruns of the Rosanne show or something that "offended" you on the Colbert Report.
Whoa there ... let's not mislead anyone into thinking that there are good reruns of Rosanne out there or that Stephen Colbert can do anything wrong. Offensive statements like that could get you banned from the intertubes or even XM Radio.

Re:It's the best sort of reaction to censorship. (1)

avdp (22065) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197567)

Actually, no. It's not at all the same. The cable company is just the carrier of the crappy programs, they don't produce it and have no input on content. XM is the carrier and also produces the stuff. Opie & Anthony work for them. IF you disagree with what XM (or Opie & Anthony) has done, it's entirely appropriate response to cancel your service.

Re:It's the best sort of reaction to censorship. (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197677)

Are you suggesting that one could just change the channel and get quality commentary as good as that on the Colbert Report?

Re:It's the best sort of reaction to censorship. (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197717)

Are you suggesting that one could just change the channel and get quality commentary as good as that on the Colbert Report?

No, the only other place you can get quality commentary as good as the Colbert Report is on the same channel, but a half hour earlier...

Re:It's the best sort of reaction to censorship. (1)

electr01nik (598106) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197709)

It's like canceling your cable because of bad reruns of the Rosanne show or something that "offended" you on the Colbert Report

Well, if you want to talk cable, I think it'd be more akin to HBO handing Bill Mahr his walking papers for something he (or a guest even) said on Real Time, and you canceling HBO. Which, if it were to happen, I'm sure a lot of people would be just as apt to do.

Bill Mahr already got in trouble once for something he said on air (on ABC), and he was handed his walking papers. But the rules are a little different on ABC then on HBO. Just as they are on terrestrial and satellite radio.

Or so we were lead to believe it seems...

But why... (1, Flamebait)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197425)

Now why can't people start to protest Microsoft on a similar scale?

Re:But why... (1)

Karganeth (1017580) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197447)

There is no need? Exactly what has Microsoft censored recently?

Re:But why... (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197611)

Not in the States, but they sure censor stuff here in China.
That's not what I meant, though. I meant that I noticed a large number of people here that are dissatisfied with Microsoft. Why are they just spending their time complaining instead of protesting (as these people have done)?

Re:But why... (1)

magores (208594) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197667)

Umm. I live in China.

What does Microsoft censor here?

Sure, there is lots of censorship. But, what exactly is MS censoring? ...

? Web searches? - Replace Microsoft with *
? WGA? - Puh-leez

If MS is doing something, that I don't know about, I would actually appreciate you filling me in.

Re:But why... (1)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197547)

Now why can't people start to protest Microsoft on a similar scale?

Offhand, I'd guess that most people's employers don't force them to listen to XM at work...

Re:But why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19197583)

a full fledged, all out, balls to the walls protest? im game.

you wipe all your companies servers and workstations, first, though.

practicality ftl :(

Speech, Schmeech... It's a Business (5, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197437)

Calling the channel "Uncensored" is a marketing ploy. Every workplace -- especially radio stations -- have limitations. XM logically figured that an impromptu bit of business in which the US Secretery of State is raped crossed those limitations, particularly since XM's uber-management is in the process of calling in every US government favor it has to grease the skids for a clearly lucrative merger with their lone competitor, Sirius.

It fascinates me that this is framed as a "Free Speech" issue. The airwaves that XM uses aren't of the public variety, it has nothing to do with constitutional amendments.

You know, for a generation raised on digital music, you sure all get caught in the same groove, sounding like broken records, a lot.

Re:Speech, Schmeech... It's a Business (5, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197597)

You know, for a generation raised on digital music, you sure all get caught in the same groove, sounding like broken records, a lot.
Please refrain from analog analogies. Surely you meant to say something along the lines of "You know, for a generation raised on digital music, you sure all report the same sector as bad, a lot" or maybe even "share the same invalid address space, a lot".

Re:Speech, Schmeech... It's a Business (1)

Therlin (126989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197625)

I'm not a fan of those guys (I don't think they are funny) and I still have my XM subscription. But I gotta defend them here. As far as I know, they never said that they would rape Rice or (Laura Bush or the Queen of England, both of them also mentioned.) A homeless person went on the show and said that he would "love to fuck that bitch." That's it. You can start making deductions and say that Opie and Anthony wanted to rape Rice. But that's not what was said. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Speech, Schmeech... It's a Business (2, Informative)

dc212 (573966) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197697)

What you're leaving out is while he was saying that Opie and Anthony were joking that they would hold her down and punch her in the face. I don't know about you, but that's pretty far over the line - even for an "uncensored" show.

Re:Speech, Schmeech... It's a Business (1)

MrP- (45616) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197797)

That comment was making fun of homeless charlie, not condi or anyone else. It was basically saying "imagine the disgusted look on her face as a drunk smelly homeless man was having sex with her". It wasn't about the horror of being raped, it was the horror of having rough consensual sex with a stinky person.

Re:Speech, Schmeech... It's a Business (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19197653)

It fascinates me that this is framed as a "Free Speech" issue.

It fascinates me that people insist that their free speech right is only to be protected from the government, as if it's perfectly ok for someone else to come along and violate them at will.

Just about every other right people believe they have is protected by law: right to life and liberty (murder and unlawful imprisonment), right against search and seizure (theft, robbery) and quartering others against your will (trespass). Hell, we even have laws that protect our right to privacy that the scotus believes are "unreasonable", such as stalking and peeping tom laws.

Re:Speech, Schmeech... It's a Business (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197731)

It fascinates me that this is framed as a "Free Speech" issue. The airwaves that XM uses aren't of the public variety, it has nothing to do with constitutional amendments.

Free speech is not just applicable to public venues. Consider the old chestnut about yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. The theater is not a public venue, yet you do not have theright of free speech to yell "fire" at will (unless, of course, there really is a fire).

Free speech is not absolute, if it were, the SCOTUS would have nothing to do.

Re:Speech, Schmeech... It's a Business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19197811)

It fascinates me that this is framed as a "Free Speech" issue. The airwaves that XM uses aren't of the public variety, it has nothing to do with constitutional amendments.
What we see here is a clash between two stories Americans tell about themselves. (All you dirty foreigners can now go off in a corner and quote Locke at each other or something; we've already l00ted all your political philosophers.) These stories are not just formal law; they express values that are part of our cultural identity.

The first is the right to one's property without undue interference. This is expressed in images such as the cowboys of the West, the Jeffersonian farmer, the iconoclastic captain of industry who crawled up from humble roots, and so on.

The second is the right of anyone to speak their own mind. I'm really not going to do too much better on the propaganda than Norman Rockwell's "Freedom of Speech" painting.

Notice this is phrased as an individual right. It's not we agree that facilitating freedom of speech and diversity of opinion is necessarily a communal good; the only thing we all agree on is just that nobody-can-shut-me-up.

I don't think there are many people here actually saying that the actions described in the article are illegal. Columbia University alum Jack Shephard (CC'89) tries to call Kate in flashbacks off the island. However, what people are saying is that these actions seem to them contrary to part of the core American identity; the First Amendment is just one way this spirit is expressed.

Because these values are clearly in conflict, these kinds of stories are perennial money-makers for Slashdot. You can get a lot of page views debating the relative values of things core to the American identity. And as it happens, it seems like these values are also widely shared in the international geek community too....

The government is still kind of censoring this (4, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197451)

in a very roundabout way. The reason XM suspended the show is mainly out of financial self interest; they were afraid that if it seemed like they condoned this type of behavior they would be sued, and they are probably right. The fact that they can be sued over something this banal is the fault of the government. The government can get away with making people afraid to say what they want(no matter how dumb it may be) without directly abridging someone's first amendment rights by awarding huge law suits to whomever feels offended enough to sue. It's still government censorship, but with a better disguise.

Re:The government is still kind of censoring this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19197673)

Wrong answer. (And wrong anyways.) The reason the government could be considered involved is XM wants to merge with Sirius. And guess what kind of speech the government and XM does not want on the airwaves when considering this, the free kind criticizing the government.

Re:The government is still kind of censoring this (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197703)

Lets not get ahead of ourselves here. This wasn't a criticism of the government any more than me offering to fuck your sister is a criticism of you.

Re:The government is still kind of censoring this (1)

MrP- (45616) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197755)

When I first started reading your post I thought you were going somewhere else...

I don't think it's about lawsuits, it's about the merger. Which makes it even more about the government. They're kissing the FCC's ass "Look at us, we have control over our hosts, see? Can we merge now? Please?!"

The government is not kind of censoring this (1)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197827)

No, they were afraid they would be portrayed as condoning jokes about women getting raped, and that would have caused many people (who don't think the Secretary of State getting raped is funny, which believe it or not represents the majority of the public) to cancel their subscriptions or just never subscribe anyways. There are certain things you can't say in today's environment, not because the government won't stand for it but because the public won't stand for it. Just ask Don Imus. He wasn't pulled because of FCC regulations or because CBS thought the Rutgers basketball team would sue them, he was pulled because of pressure brought on by the public.

And btw, the government does not award huge law suits just because someone feels offended by something. Only juries have that power. So even if you buy your argument that they were afraid Condi Rice was going to sue XM radio (which seems very unlikely), it still wouldn't be government censorship.

Helluva poster boy wait till endless advertising (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197461)

It's insanely funny that these are the poster boys. I can't wait to hear the crickets chirp once XM decides it can have 26 minutes of advertising each hour like regular radio. I think XM's got us exactly where they want us.

opie n anthony are retarded (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197481)

this just goes to show how completely retarded the management + opie n anthony show really were. They found a way to get kicked off of an uncensored channel... how dumb do you have to be to have that happen to you? Talk about lack of faith from management!

Re:opie n anthony are retarded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19197621)

Bababooey, Bababooey

Re:opie n anthony are retarded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19197747)

Not Uncensored It's called the FCC

An FCC issued license is required for satellite radio transmitters to work and the FCC can and has suspended, canceled,fined, refused to renew a license in many services for many reasons including of late as we see, character suitability.

the FCC can act on any licensee
So, uncensored is not real it's media hype

Uncensored is BS plenty media hype

XM not canceling account (4, Informative)

fontkick (788075) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197505)

This happened to me... XM is definitely messing with people's accounts. I canceled my service about a year ago, but a few months after canceling they started charging my card again. I can't think of a worse way to treat a customer. If someone charges your card out of the blue just because they have your account info, they are committing credit card fraud.

Re:XM not canceling account (2, Interesting)

dattaway (3088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197617)

I had the same problem canceling with Vonage. Since I took every reasonable step to cancel, I called my card company and gave them the information to document my problem. I was contacted the next day for clarification of the problem and was properly reimbursed for my expenses and time.

Companies who cheat do NOT want to lose their merchant accounts. Card companies are not amused when a large percentage of customers are cheated. The card companies know where their profits come from and it doesn't come from a bad vendor.

Re:XM not canceling account (3, Informative)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197851)

Yes, ditto on the suggestion to contest it with your card company. If you've already made a good-faith effort to settle it with XM, then contest the transaction every month and it should be reversed. Every chargeback costs $15 or so, it's quite a disincentive for trying to charge $10 or so on a monthly rate when it comes back as a $15 instead, and if there are too many chargebacks (I heard 1% chargebacks are not tolerated), the merchant account gets pulled. Once it's pulled, it's hard to convince a bank to give you a merchant account.

The XM merger will have a hard time going through on other accounts, The Sirius CEO got a very lucrative of a bonus, too lucrative for a company in trouble: here [nypost.com] , and XM admitted that some 40% of their retransmission antennas were not located in their approved locations, heights or power ratings: here [bloomberg.com] .

In this day and age: (1)

redblue (943665) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197539)

1. Why aren't they broadcasting on the internet?
2. Why isn't there a link to the offending content in the article?
3. I for one welcome... wait.. who are the new overlords again?

Re:In this day and age: (1)

BrownLeopard (876112) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197601)

They do broadcast on the internet, you just have to have an XM Radio Online account. Kind of nice to listen to a show in the truck, get out, go inside, and finish listening to it.

Re:In this day and age: (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197631)

1. Why aren't they broadcasting on the internet?
Because most of us who use our laptops in the car are frowned upon by those who can't 'surf while they drive'. Go figure.

2. Why isn't there a link to the offending content in the article?
Because /. didn't want to get banned from the intertubes, silly.

3. I for one welcome... wait.. who are the new overlords again?
I think we're waiting to see who wins the scheduled steel cage match on 'Celebrity Death Match' between Opie, Anthony, Ms Rice or Mrs. Bush. The Queen drew a bye in the first round and will take on the last one standing.

Why not a free speech issue? (1, Offtopic)

delirium of disorder (701392) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197541)

The government grants private monopolies for speech over the airwaves supposedly for the "public interest", but really for the corporate elite that run America. You don't have the right to broadcast audio speech over radio waves at frequencies and strengths that would give you a mass audience unless you pay massive licensing fees that are prohibitive to any working class individual. This means that religion and capitalism maintain their cruel grip on the consciousness of the American public through manufactured deceptions on a massive scale. AM, FM, Satellite, it's all the same. How anyone can justify this by saying that it's a "free market" that lets people "vote with their dollars" is beyond me. How can "voting with your dollars" be democratic? One class of people have literally billions of these dollar-votes at their disposal while another has negative dollar-votes (debit). We need social democratic management of the means of speech in a mass society. True free speech can only prosper when both the right to speak and the right to be heard is available to all equally.

Re:Why not a free speech issue? (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197739)

AM, FM, Satellite, it's all the same.

And that's where you're wrong. The FCC (aka, the Gubmint) regulates AM and FM broadcasts. They do not, however, regulate satellite broadcasts.

Freedom of speech is NOT a "right" to be published (2)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197751)

You have freedom of speech if they can't lock you up for saying what you say. But freedom of speech does not include a right to be published. And there's a corresponding freedom not to listen to you, and certainly a corresponding freedom to refuse to publish your garbage.

You want to be published? Buy and run your own printing press or radio station.

Social democratic management of the means of speech? Your mouth is your own, and pens and paper are really, really cheap. Beyond that, it's not about speech, it's about publishing, and that's a different story.

Re:Why not a free speech issue? (2, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197809)

True free speech can only prosper when both the right to speak and the right to be heard is available to all equally.

We have both of those rights in the United States. That's not the problem ... the problem is having the ability to speak and be heard, and the fact of the matter is that broadcasts from the major media and content producers no longer provide even a semblance of that. Which is why, in practice, nations that may otherwise have fewer legal protections on public speech can be freer, in that regard, than the U.S. is today. It's just like the DMCA: sure, we have fair use "rights" but if we're unable to exercise them because of technological restrictions then we don't effectively have them. We have free speech rights, and the right to be heard ... but only a few of us are granted the privilege to exercise them using traditional media.

That also explains why so many people in power have a real problem with the Internet, on so many different levels. The Internet is a worldwide end-run around what those who own big media, and big government, want their customers/citizens to see and hear. The Internet gave that ability to billions of people in a few short years, and power brokers worldwide are still having trouble coming to grips with that. The Internet also serves as a collective memory: politicians hate that because once they say something it's available and accessible forever. People that publish nude pictures of themselves have the same problem.

So far as I'm concerned, broadcast radio (AM, FM, XM, Sirius, whatever) can take a hike. They've had nothing to offer me since the seventies. Talk radio? News?! Bah. Music? What music? If I want music I'll jack in my MP3 player, if I want news ... well, there's a whole lot of that available on the Web for free, and you don't have to live with the limited perspective granted by our domestic talking heads. I tend to go to Canadian and British news sites a lot, among others: I may (or may not) agree with what they have to say, but it's a different point of view and I like that. Makes you think.

Paranoid delusions. (-1, Flamebait)

Eevee (535658) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197557)

some estimate that between 20,000 and 40,000 have cancelled.

Get over the not honoring cancellation requests bit. If there's actually a groundswell of support of customers cancelling their accounts, then XM's staff is going to be overwhelmed. Even in normal times there's going to be mistakes; in the midst of a consumer revolt it's a miracle they're getting anything done correctly.

Re:Paranoid delusions. (1)

teflaime (738532) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197619)

Have XM stock, do you? If they are charging people who have cancelled their accounts, they are stealing from those people. They should be facing criminal charges.

isn't a free-speech issue (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197571)

Its not, so why is it under the free-speech topic?

Sounds like bad business practice to me. Offer a service people want and pay for, then yank the rug out from under them when they get what they want. And, if they are refusing to cancel subscriptions, sounds like a class action lawsuit. Putting them out of business would make a good point.

Because of exclusive rights to spectrum (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197693)

Its not, so why is it under the free-speech topic?
Because United States law considers spectrum access an exclusive right. If XM won't relay your show, and Sirius won't relay your show, and the FCC prohibits a startup from launching satellites and relaying your show, then the government has had a hand in stopping your show.

Yes, it is a free speech issue (3, Insightful)

sam_handelman (519767) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197585)

We are endowed with natural rights as an intrinsic property of our human nature. The constitution may or may not *recognize* these rights, and it may or may not recognize them in the full scope to which they intrinsically apply - however, a political prisoner in China has the *same rights* as you are I, although his government may not recognize them.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_rights [wikipedia.org]

  If those who own the printing presses censor what the rest of us write, we do not have freedom of the press.

  If those who own the medium of communication censor what we say, we do not have freedom of speech.

  In the market context, freedom of the press is dependent on the existence of a large group of publishers, so that if one publisher refuses to carry what you wish to publish uncensored, you can find another that will. Essentially, this requires a true market (an effectively infinite number of players, low barriers to entry, etc.)

  Radio broadcasting is not a market.

Re:Yes, it is a free speech issue (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197749)

If those who own the medium of communication censor what we say, we do not have freedom of speech.

These guys are still perfectly welcome to say what they want, they just aren't necessarily being given the biggest soapbox to say it from. So no, it is not a free speech issue as you've framed it.

Re:Yes, it is a free speech issue (1)

keraneuology (760918) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197773)

If those who own the printing presses censor what the rest of us write, we do not have freedom of the press.

If those who own the medium of communication censor what we say, we do not have freedom of speech.

You could not possibly be further off the mark.

First, the only people to whom the guarantee of freedom of the press apply are those who own or otherwise control a press. You are guaranteed the right to say whatever you wish, but you are not guaranteed a medium nor an audience. This is where the spammers get hung up when they whine that spam is protected - they think they have a right to an audience, a notion shot down in the early 70s in Rowan v US Postal Service.

In Rowan the direct mailers in America were complaining that the Postal Service had a mechanism designed to prevent people from receiving unwanted prawn. In the lower courts the marketers were told to get bent because, among other things, "A vendor does not have a constitutional right to send unwanted material into someone's home, and a mailer's right to communicate must stop at the mailbox of an unreceptive addressee." This policy was enforce by the USPS, which flies in the face of your 2nd assertion above. This probably isn't your intent, but you aren't following the train of thought past the first station.

There are two rights at issue here: freedom of speech and rights of property ownership. You are focusing on the first and giving no consideration to the second, a dangerous mindset. The owners of XM have the absolute right inviolate of deciding what they air and do not air on their network. If you own a printer you have the right to print whatever you want - or refrain from printing what you don't want - in your own home. You are challenging this notion by saying that O&A's right to free speech guarantee them the right to use somebody else's property according to their own whims. Would you mind if somebody used your backyard to stage a KKK or a Black Panthers rally? If you object, aren't you obstructing their freedom of speech?

Freedom of speech is not at issue here - property rights are. You have a right to subscribe to XM or not as you desire. If you think the XM execs are incredibly stupid for their decisions then by all means cancel your subscription or smash your radio. But if you tell them that they ~have~ to accept certain speech on their property and their network then you are seeking to exert state control over the private sector, thereby eliminating the private sector and the very freedom you claim to support. You are advocating one tiny little seed of socialism - and if you start to use the government to control who can and can't say what, how long do you think it will take for your one tiny little seed to grow into something much larger?

Cancelling WHAT ads? (4, Insightful)

ZoneGray (168419) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197589)

Who the hell was advertising on XM? All I hear is ads for gotomypc.com and for other XM shows.

Uncensored only means it's uncensored by the FCC over the F word and topless titty (which, admittedly, isn't a big problem on the radio). But anybody who you sign a contract with is gonna maintain some editorial control over what you do, and if you suddenly started spouting Nazi propaganda, they wouldn't want to be associated with you. Now, we're currently undergoing one of those public hysterias over shock radio, so everybody is hypersensistive, and it's an overreaction in one sense. But....

Mostly what's going on is that shock radio has jumped the shark. It's going out of style, and this is what it looks like. Imus caught some heat, and it turned out he had some listeners but no loyal fans to defend him. Stern went to Sirius and a fraction of his audience followed. It's not that the radio stations are becoming more censorious, it's just that the shows are now disposable, they don't make enough money anymore to make it worth the hassle.

This is all about freedom of speech (1, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197629)

Of course this dispute isn't a free-speech issue.

Yes it is. That's the whole point.

"Free speech" refers to a prohibition on censorship by the government;

No it doesn't. Free speech refers to the ability to speak without anyone attempting to stop you. Free speech can be actively enhanced by private individuals and organisations and can also be restricted (although not so easily). Free speech is a principle. It was the principle that guided the creation of the first amendment. It is not a result of it. XM is free to do as it wishes with the content it broadcasts, within the law.

No they aren't, except legally speaking (but that's a tautology). They are legally free to be total jerks. That doesn't mean we should let them. XM have decided that there are some things that their DJs are allowed to say amd some things that they are not allowed to say. If they break these rules, then they are censured. Does this suggest that they are "free" to "speak"?

Re:This is all about freedom of speech (1)

Usekh (557680) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197669)

They have the right to say whatever they want. They don't have the right to have that broadcast over someones private radio station. Really pretty simple.

Re:This is all about freedom of speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19197735)

Way to totally miss the point. Re-read what the poster said.

Re:This is all about freedom of speech (2, Interesting)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197737)

Who exactly approves the corporate charter?

The government approves the corporate charter.

All parts of government are bound by the Bill of Rights.

A corporate charter is a part of government allowing a group of people to be seen as "one".

Therefore, corporations should be bound by the same restrictions that government is.

Another line of thinking is that corporations were allowed to be made for the public good (which is not true, but a popular viewpoint). In this case, is it 'public good' to allow them to trample over citizens' rights?

Re:This is all about freedom of speech (1)

teflaime (738532) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197771)

Free speech refers to the ability to speak without anyone attempting to stop you. Free speech can be actively enhanced by private individuals and organisations and can also be restricted (although not so easily). Free speech is a principle. It was the principle that guided the creation of the first amendment.

You need to go back and reread the Federalist Papers. The First Amendment concept of "Free Speech" is entirely based on preventing the government from restricting the speech of its citizens. And even that isn't absolute. SCOTUS has offered several cases where the government can "reasonably" restrict the speech of the public: threats of bodily harm, threats against public officials, incitement to violence, incitement to riot...

In the end, the "Free Speech" provision of the First Amendement was primarily conceived of to protect religious and political speech, primarily. That private, personal speech is protected is secondary to those two main aims.

In the end, Opie n Anthony are lucky that they aren't facing criminal charges, instead of just having their show suspended for a month. A hard ass prosecutor could reasonably go after them for a threat against the SoS and probably make it stick. At least through SCOTUS. And with this Supreme Court, Opie n Anthony could get 20 years in Leavenworth.

Certainly, XM subscribers have the right to cancel their subscriptions in protest to this XMs actions. But, this is not a free speech issue. This is a commercial speech issue and as their employers, XM has the right to take Opie n Anthony off the air at any time, for any reason, with in the bounds of their contract.

Opie & Anthony=yawn, Bring back XM51 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19197671)

I signed up for a XM for the variety of programming it offers, not just O&A. If one is hell bent against O&A, then call XM and tell them you want channel 202 removed from your radio. You still get the variety of programming that XM offers and still protest. They *DO* watch the lists that are created by what the customer does NOT want on their radios.

Look, O&A aren't all that important in the big scheme of things...to get angry over this is just petty. Two useless radio jocks, that's all they are! Move on with your lives already!

If you want TRULY uncensored radio, go to XM150, the comedy channel. This channel is not broadcast as part of CBS' radio network, so you won't have to worry about any censorship.

I do wish they would bring back XM51.

Free Speech Def. Doesn't Matter (4, Insightful)

tehwebguy (860335) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197679)

Your definition of "Free Speech" doesn't really matter in this situation.

The real issue is that there are people who actually pay money for, and listen to this program. They want what they want, and right now XM isn't giving it to them.

no limits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19197785)

They were discussing the rape of another person. I must be crazy, because I see this as wrong. I do support free speech, but advocating violence against women crosses the line. Were they advocating it? They didn't say it was wrong, they were laughing and joking and acting like if was funny. When did rape become funny?

It seems to me that the dogmatic adherence to say anything one wants has as many problems as how to define what should be the minimum standards of behavior.
 

XM Not Cancelling Subscriptions (2, Informative)

ticklemeozmo (595926) | more than 7 years ago | (#19197871)

As another blog has posted, I have verified. XM is not canceling accounts when you call. Merely just putting a hold on them. My cancellation date when I called back was May 26th, when I asked for it immediately. May 25th is a shareholder's meeting. Coincidence?
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