Dixie Down

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Neither Clear Channel nor Cumulus responded to requests for comment.

It doesn't help, either, that these media outlets are increasingly controlled by fewer people; with fewer eyeballs determining a larger fate, artists naturally will feel more pressure to either toe the line or do an end around (as the Beastie Boys, Zack de la Rocha and DJ Shadow and John Mellencamp have done in posting their protest songs on the Internet). In a sense, can you really blame Sony for forcing Maines to apologize for her comments, when you consider the millions the label spent promoting them?

With the Fairness Doctrine--which forced media outlets to present opposing political viewpoints--now a matter for the history books, rallies such as those by Clear Channel and Cumulus are par for the course. No one complains. But how would you feel about a New York Times "pro-troops" rally?

Leave it to Earle, who's caught enough dung to fill a barn in his career, to perhaps put it best, exposing a cultural wound Maines may have irrevocably opened.

"The idea that any radio outlet will decide because someone expresses an opinion in a democracy that they're going to deny them access," Earle says, "that's more similar to how broadcast media is run in Iraq than what I grew up with."

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Chris Parker
Contact: Chris Parker

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