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City of Angels Bans “Hatred”

Finally, a victory for all that is right and good in Los Angeles. L.A.’s city council, busy tackling the very worst problem facing La-La land, says haters not gonna hate, at least on their watch.

In an effort to curb “crude and racist speech,” the Los Angeles City Council has passed a resolution asking TV and radio broadcasters to censor their hosts. This of course comes in response to the overwhelmingly sexist comments made by pundits like Bill Maher and Keith Olbermann.

Oops! I meant it comes in response to conservatives like Rush Limbaugh, and Los Angeles’ KFI 640 AM radio hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou.

As has been widely publicized, Limbaugh came under intense criticism for calling women’s rights activist and Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke a “slut.” Fluke, of course, was arguing that her birth control should be paid for by others because she and her fellow students were going broke paying for contraception. Similarly, the John and Ken show came under fire for labeling late singer Whitney Houston, who had a lifelong battle with drug addiction, a “crack ho.”

The council members, apparently shocked over the use of such words, are specifically calling for Clear Channel Media, KFI and Limbaugh’s parent company, to do “everything in their power to ensure that their on-air hosts do not use and promote racist and sexist slurs over public airwaves in the City of Los Angeles.”

Their resolution also calls for more “women, blacks and other minorities” to be employed by KFI 640 to reflect the “diversity of Los Angeles,” and cites Black History Month and National Women’s Month as reasons for supporting such a resolution.

Councilwoman Jan Perry introduced the legislation with the backing of the Black Media Alliance, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, the Korean-American Bar Association and the American Indians in Film and Television.

Black Media Alliance member and KJLH radio talk show host Dominique DiPrima says this resolution allows an alternative to censorship. “We want to see representation in terms of hiring and clear standards of what can and can’t be said on the air.”

They want more individuals to be hired on the basis of their race or gender, and to not say anything that is offensive. In other words, they want reverse discrimination and censorship.

All the evidence indicates that this resolution is merely an effort to suppress speech some city council members don’t like, as only one group was addressed in the resolution.

Speakers at the council meeting and the writers of the resolution explicitly stated they were targeting conservative radio shows and accused them of racism and inciting violence.

Violence against Whitney Houston? Against Georgetown Law students? Strangely, we never heard about that in the news.

Nevertheless, the resolution passed by a vote of 13-2. One of the two dissenters, showing uncommon good sense for an L.A. council member, was Joe Buscaino, who condemned the distasteful remarks that motivated the resolution, but said “we should be focused on issues that are facing the city…last time I checked the city of Los Angeles is not the FCC.”

Buscaino, a self-described Democrat, also pointed out that the resolution, which has no legal force, is purely symbolic – and that if people are offended by talk radio they do have the ability to turn it off.

In the sea of nonsense that passes for municipal government in Los Angeles, Buscaino’s comment is a rare drop of wisdom.

Fix Contributor Emily Schrader graduated from USC in December and will be attending IDC Herzilya in the fall.

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