Topic: Media Research Center
High on the list of radio shock jocks that MRC chief Brent Bozell despises are Opie and Anthony. Bozell attacked the duo in a 2002 column after one particularly egregious stunt:
Now here's something that doesn't happen every day: radio shock jocks are having to absorb some shock of their own. Greg Hughes and Anthony Cumia, known in 18 markets as the envelope-pushing "Opie and Anthony," were fired by Infinity Broadcasting for encouraging a Virginia couple to have sex inside St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City while producer Paul Mercurio gave listeners the pew-rocking play-by-play on his cell phone.
This unusually offensive prank – carried on as worshipers came to this hallowed house of God to celebrate the holy day of obligation marking Mary's assumption into Heaven – prodded even the usually comatose Federal Communications Commission to announce it would move swiftly to investigate whether it violated federal rules against broadcasting "indecent" material.
Before this pratfall, Opie and Anthony were best known for encouraging women to show their breasts in public on "Whip ‘Em Out Wednesday." Their last straw came as part of a promotion listing 54 risky locations for couples to have sex, offering the winners a trip to the Samuel Adams brewery for pitching woo in public. Isn't that a nice commercial tie-in? "Have our nice premium-brewed Sam Adams. Drink enough of these beauties and you too might have your judgment so impaired you try to get in on at a church – with our compliments."
The transcript of the 14-minute stunt has the cackling co-hosts claiming that "obviously everybody knows...they're just simulating the acts...right?...They wouldn't be stupid enough to actually have [inaudible] sex in a church? Right?" How pathetic that these drive-time dimwits would bail out on the people they encouraged into this shameful behavior by lamely insisting they didn't really mean to encourage cathedral copulation. And how pathetic then that Infinity's action – dead-right as it was for one day after years of profiting from wrong – somehow tries to flush out the labor without taking any blame as management.
This only underlines everything that's wrong with this brand of autoerotic audio. These stations pile up millions of listeners – ten million for Opie and Anthony – by pushing every sexual button. Then they hide behind the teasing fakery of it all – you weren't really scandalized, because it's only radio, and you can't see if we're making it up or not.
Bozell railed against Opie and Anthony again in 2007:
If you thought the radio airwaves would suddenly turn nicer in the wake of the Don Imus firing, think again. The shameless shock jocks Opie and Anthony have succeeded in ramming through whatever wall of post-Imus politeness was constructed with a grotesque routine on XM Satellite Radio that played – for laughs – the idea of raping the Secretary of State.
On a satellite-only segment promoted on the Opie and Anthony website as “uncut, uncensored, and totally filthy,” this duo laughed as a character named “Homeless Charlie” described how he would like to “[F-word] that [B-word].” The hosts giggled and said “I just imagine the horror in Condoleezza Rice's face.... as she realizes what's going on...as you were just holding her down and [F-word] her." They continued to laugh as “Charlie” sickly imagined punching Rice in the face and raping Laura Bush “to death.” Opie and Anthony then suggested he add Queen Elizabeth to his list of victims.
Ask yourself this very simple question: How does the Imus “ho” comment match on the horror scale with this rape-and-murder gag?
So it was with no small degree of surprise to us that on last night's edition of Fox News' "Hannity" -- in the segment immediately after Bozell did his usual liberal-media-bias schtick -- Sean Hannity brought on his "Great American Panel" which included ... Anthony Cumia.
Will Bozell publicly criticize Hannity for giving this offensive shock jock a forum on a highly rated cable TV show? We'd be shocked if he did.
Why? First, Hannity and Bozell are buddies, and any criticism would likely jeopardize Bozell's weekly slot on his show. Second, Cumia used his appearance to spout right-wing talking points, attacking President Obama for purportedly not acting presidential enough. Asked by Hannity if Obama will be re-elected, Cumia responded, "I sure hope not."
This, by the way, is not the first time Cumia has appeared on the "Hannity" panel; he's been on at least once before. And in 2004, Hannity had Opie and Anthony on his radio show to tell their side of the story on the cathedral sex incident.
Bozell is simply too gutless and too beholden to his right-wing agenda that he will toss away his claimed principles on radio decency to tolerate a serial violator of those principles as long as he's parroting the right talking points and he gets to be TV every week.