During Howard Stern's recent appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the obnoxious display by American radio's leading bad boy far surpassed his typical egocentric schtick.

By the time Stern got off his bawdy bits and started hawking his book, no doubt Leno had already lost many family-oriented viewers. The host was obviously uncomfortable with his guest's actions and assertions. At the risk of alienating his audience, Leno took an unexpected stand.

To support the claim that his new tome is "the fastest-selling book in the history of books," Stern held up a Bible and announced, "The Gideon Company is now putting my book in the place of Bibles in hotels." An incensed Leno responded by holding up the Bible his guest brought as a prop and saying, "Howard, something horrible is going to happen to you. . . . This book will strike you down as you go down the road. It will go through the windshield and pierce your heart.

"I am sounding like an evangelist now, but I predict that's what will happen--suddenly, all that is in this book is making perfect sense to me," Leno concluded, still holding up the Bible.

Without boycotts or legislation, the incessantly bawdy Leno became an unlikely man who took an unlikely stand in the unlikely forum of a late-night talk show. What happened on the Tonight Show was more than an interview--it represented another beachhead in the ongoing cultural struggle to define our society. Last December, William Bennett and several U.S. senators strongly urged greater sponsor responsibility by their refusal to support the "cultural rot" on daytime television.

There are other encouraging bright spots in how the gospel is penetrating Hollywood, such as the formation of Media Fellowship International, a network ...

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EDITORIAL: Tonight Show Prophecy
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In the Magazine

February 5, 1996

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