The Buzz

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Mel Karmazin, Viacom's president-chief operating officer, is known as a straight shooter. But even so, it was surprising to find him on the morning of April 27 discussing anal sex in front of a breakfast audience and his interviewer, The New Yorker's media-company expert Ken Auletta. The New York City event was hosted by the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

Karmazin, whose company is challenging an FCC indecency fine for an incident on shock-jock Howard Stern's radio show, was asked by Auletta whether it was OK for Mr. Stern to discuss such things as anal sex on air. He responded that America was a place where people have the freedom to say what they want. "We are fighting in Iraq for freedom. ... If it doesn't appeal to you, shut the radio off. Just because you don't like the words `anal sex,' doesn't make it indecent." Stern's radio show is carried by Infinity Broadcasting, which is owned by Viacom. "There's a legal definition of what is indecent and the Howard Stern show adheres to that," he said. Karmazin said Viacom has lawyers listening to the shows to determine if the material is indecent. "We're very clear we don't broadcast indecency," he said, adding that the FCC defines indecency as "a discussion of sex or excretory matter with a patently offensive manner." Read more: QwikFIND aap57s.

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