20/20's A Little Blurry!

"Our next piece is not for everyone in the family. It may at times be offensive, but that's a necessary part of our story. So if you have young children and you're concerned, don't let them watch it," Hugh Downs said with a slightly smug look on his face while introducing John Stossel's 20/20 segment Friday night. "And while you may not like it, and some of US don't, millions of people do," Downs added. Approximately 5 million a day, to be exact.

The segment opened in typical fashion with a shot of a taxi driver and his radio set to 92.3 K-ROCK and Howard's prediction over the air that the segment would open that way. As the segment continued, Howard told Stossel that, "I guarantee you what I'm doing is the lord's work. I am absolutely making people laugh at the most miserable part of their life. The morning commute." "It's scary to think that this is what's affects people's life" (background chatter about Robin's possible gas problem). Frankly, I wasn't too happy to get this assignment," Stossel claimed sheepishly. As the segment continued, Stossel challenged Howard on the sexual content of his show. Howard told him that there was nothing wrong with the words Penis or Vagina and that his 3 children know that they were body parts and make jokes, like all children do, about them. "So you let your kids listen to your program?," Stossel asked. "Absolutely not. It's not appropriate for them to listen to right now," Howard replied as a video bite played in the background of him talking about having sex with a dead skull. "I wouldn't want my kids to listen," Stossel asserted.

Stossel then claimed that Howard was a racist, using the "Black Jeopardy" segment on Howard's show as an example. "There's something to offend everyone," Stossel said as a bikini clad girl entered the room to operate the Jeopardy board. Categories like, "Bang Bang Bang" and "Dark Meat, White Meat", "If you scream , I'll kill you" and "I see OJ", were sighted by Stossel as being racist. "I believe what we do is a different kind of humor," Howard said. He went on to explain that the game is not racist and that he's exposing the stereotypes of a racist as humor. "People say wow!, that's making fun of a stereotype... I see it as getting people to laugh at their differences and bringing them together," Howard explained.

At the end of the segment, Stossel and Barbara Walters talked briefly. "We didn't include some things because of our particular audiences sensitivity and there were certain things that were bleeped, how do feel about censorship?," Walters asked. While Stossel had reservations about the contents of Howard's show, he "sided" with Howard over the government's attempt to decide what speech can be heard. Interestingly enough, while 20/20 bleeped out the words "scumbag" and "balls", slang for sure, it allowed Penis and Vagina. Why? To be shocking itself, I imagine.

What The Fuck Was That?

What was with that exchange between John Stossel and Barbara Walters about her fawning over everyone? Barbara's fawning over Howard in an attempt to poke fun at his remarks about her in his book sort of crashed and burned. I mean, how awkward and unnecessary was that?

I Score This Interview: B-

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