But there was Moonves, publicly declaring his intolerance of "ho" talk: "There has been much discussion of the effect language like this has on our young people, particularly young women of color trying to make their way in our society." He said that consideration has "weighed most heavily on our minds as we made our decision."
This is sheer nonsense. I attended the annual Viacom shareholders meeting in New York. Presiding over the meeting were Sumner Redstone and Mel Karmazin, then the two biggest guns in that empire, the bosses of Moonves. Both the late C. DeLores Tucker and I spoke, roundly denouncing the indecent programming on their various networks. Each of us received strong applause from the shareholders. Redstone and Karmazin ignored us.
Later, a beautiful young black lady rose to speak. She was a college student representing Operation PUSH. Without prepared remarks, even notes, she delivered an extraordinarily moving 10-minute address, pleading for this corporation to end its offensive treatment of black women on its MTV and BET networks. She specifically referenced the "ho" word used so commonly on these shows. Her remarks generated a standing ovation. Redstone and Karmazin all but yawned in response.
Karmazin promised a congressional committee early in 2004 that he would have "zero tolerance" for indecency on the company's radio stations - and he kept Howard Stern on the air.
In the wake of the Janet Jackson incident in November 2004, Viacom and Moonves agreed to a consent decree for "company-wide compliance" to prevent further broadcast indecency. Almost before the ink was dry, CBS was re-airing a controversial episode of the drama "Without a Trace" with a teen orgy re-enactment scene.
So when Moonves issues a press release proclaiming his earnest desire to participate in a sensitive dialogue with the public to build "the integrity of our company" with consumers, just know it's not worth the paper it's printed on.