It’s not easy bashing Bush in today’s political climate, especially when the FCC has the Big Media Behemoths by the tin balls. Just look at what’s happening to Howard Stern, though Howard’s longtime Infinity boss, Mel Karmazin, now Viacom’s number two, is fighting those indecency fines. (Interestingly, now that Howard has gone from supporting Bush to bashing him, WBCN in Boston claims 72 percent of its Stern listeners say they’ll vote differently because of it.) Right now on the howardstern.com Web site there’s a behind-the-scenes video clip headlined “Human Kleenex” from an appearance by Bush on the Letterman show. It reveals Bush, during the commercial break, leaning over and, without asking permission, wiping his eyeglasses on the sweater of one of Dave’s female producers. “That’s how arrogant our president is,” notes the Web site, which doesn’t say how the footage was obtained.
Unlike Leno's Tonight Show, which is owned by NBC, Letterman's Late Show is owned by Dave's company, Worldwide Pants, which affords him near-total immunity from corporate pressure. But to Viacom’s credit, says Burnett, “They leave us alone. They know better than to tell Dave what to do. They know it’s futile.”