Dixie Chicks Controversy

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Date: 2003

Region: United States

Subject: Political

Medium: Broadcasting


Artist: The Dixie Chicks

Confronting Bodies: American Radio Stations

Dates of Action: 2003

Location: United States

Description of Artwork: In the time leading up the invasion of Irag, on March 10th, 2003, The Dixie Chicks performed a show in England where lead singer Natalie Maines announced, "Just so you know, we're on the good side with y'all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas."

The Incident: Occurring directly after their newly released album hit the top of the charts, this comment threatened the album's future success. Airplay greatly decreased in large chains of radio stations such as Clear Channel run stations as well as stations located in states and regions with more conservative political views. Although the decrease of airplay was less extreme in more liberal channels as well as small local channels, the decrease was still evident. Rituals resembling book burnings were held in various places to celebrate the burning and destruction of The Dixie Chicks album. In other parts of the country, riots were held defending the Chicks and their right to free speech. Although there were no laws banning airplay of the Dixie Chicks' music, the self censorship of the various stations constituted an infringement on the first amendment.

Results of Incident: As a result the Dixie Chicks launched a publicity campaign to explain their position and released a sassy new album that let everyone know that "they are not ready to make nice."

Source: Elites, Masses, and Media Blacklists: The Dixie Chicks Controversy by Gabriel Rossman.