If, as the leftist Boston fishwrap opines, talk radio is now “irrelevant”, then why is the left still pushing for a reinstatement of the ill-named “Fairness Doctrine”? I guess “freedom of choice” applies to slaughtering your babies, but not to what you listen to on the radio.
Neal Boortz makes two great observations on the left’s wet dream. Point #1 is that controlling mass media is always one of the first steps that authoritarians take:
Note, please, that whenever despots try to seize control of a government, and with it a country, they first seize control of the means of communication. How can you observe this in country after country with despot after despot engaged in coup after coup and not understand that this is exactly what our own politicians do when they try to increases their control over broadcasting? How will the Democrat’s looming attempt to reign in talk radio be any different than Hugo Chavez’ attempts to shut down opposition newspapers in Venezuela? And trust me … the Republicans would have tried the same thing during the Bush Administration if talk radio had been overwhelming liberal. Richard Nixon used to brag about how he used the “Fairness Doctrine” to harass left-wing commentary on television. Democrats and liberals generally fail miserably at talk radio .. therefore it must be destroyed.
Point #2 is that “public airwaves” is full of crap:
One more point about this “public’s airwaves” dog squeeze. How does your newspaper get to you every day? Do you think it just magically appears at your doorstep? Hardly .. it is delivered over — guess what? — publicly owned highways and roads! Yeah! The “public’s highways!” How about a Fairness Doctrine for newspaper editorial pages! Oh, wait .. there’s that darn Constitution in the way again. Don’t you just hate that?
“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism”…until the dissent goes against (instead of originating from) the left, in which case it must be thoroughly eradicated.
From The Live Feed:
Given Barack Obama’s historic run for the Oval Office, African American-themed cable network TV One plans to break from its usual entertainment programming to provide extensive coverage of the Democratic National Convention in August.
“Sen. Barack Obama running for president is a huge deal for TV One as it is for the African American community,” said Johnathan Rodgers, president and CEO of TV One, a channel in about 40 million homes. “African Americans have fallen in love with his candidacy, his family … we will be covering the democratic convention all the time.”
But John McCain shouldn’t expect the same treatment. The network doesn’t plan any coverage of the Republican Convention.
“We are not a news organization,” said Rodgers, speaking at the opening session of the semi-annual Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills. “We are a television network designed to celebrate African American achievement. If Hillary was the nominee, we would not be covering this year’s Democratic Convention.”
“My audience is 93% black,” Rodgers added. “I serve my audience.”
As a cable network, TV One is likely exempt from any equal time access rules. Federal Communications Commission rules state that broadcast networks are required to give equal time to presidential candidates.
While I find this kind of one-sidedness to be a shame, I actually don’t have a problem with TV One’s decision to do this. After all, it’s a cable TV show that’s not even a news show, and thus it can broadcast whatever programming it chooses to do. Which brings me to my exit question:
Do all you idiots who clamor for a reinstiution of the so-called “Fairness Doctrine” understand that if you get you way, TV One would have to give equal time to the GOP convention, even though the bulk of their viewers wouldn’t watch it (and thus diminish advertising revenue)?
Exit question #2, via the first comment at the TLF site: “Does that mean channels who have predominantly white audiences don’t have to cover Obama?”
Many of the points below have been made here by me and commenters, but this is a good way to tie all the points together. From Bruce Chapman:
Liberals are hailing a report that calls for federal regulations to end the “structural imbalance in political talk radio.” Two think tanks, the Center for American Progress and the Free Press, complain that more than 90 percent of the programs on talk radio feature conservative hosts and themes while only 10 percent are “progressive.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has promised to examine the report’s recommendations for possible legislation and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., says flatly, “It’s time to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine. I have this old-fashioned attitude that when Americans hear both sides of the story, they’re in a better position to make a decision.”
That really is a good, old-fashioned attitude, all right. But under the so-called Fairness Doctrine that the Federal Communications Commission pursued until 1987, many broadcasters observed that government regulation actually stifled the free market in opinion and effectively politics to little-watched schedules on Sunday mornings. It was known informally as “the public affairs ghetto.” Stations presented only as much public debate as they needed to secure renewal of their public licenses.
But the new think tank study insists that talk radio is “imbalanced” and that the imbalance is due largely to the preferences of large radio conglomerates that are run by middle-aged white men. They demand that the government step in and break up the big radio chains and require as much progressive programming as conservative.
At this point Republicans, perhaps surprisingly, are rubbing their hands and hoping for a fight on the Fairness Doctrine. They think the threats from liberal legislators will backfire, helping to unite and activate the nation’s 50 million or so talk radio listeners, most of them conservatives, and get them to the polls.
But the right could be making a mistake. Instead of opposing a new “Fairness Doctrine,” perhaps conservatives should embrace it — providing, that is, that the new policy is extended to all media, not just talk radio. (Do I notice some “progressives” throwing down their papers in disgust?)
Let’s start with that most public of federal broadcast entities, National Public Radio. Increasingly, its sponsors range from foundations with an ideological ax to grind to law firms and national teachers unions. Conservatives find that stories they care about just don’t make it onto NPR schedules. When the rare conservative gets invited to participate on an NPR issues panel, somehow there are two or three liberals facing him, with a liberal host recognizing the speakers.
Next, the new Fairness Doctrine should apply to television, including not just PBS, but also CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN and MSNBC, as well as the FOX channel. When newscasters seek legally required balance on a given issue, let’s see if they can be persuaded to find the most articulate conservative — not the most egregious and unpopular — to reply to the liberal voice.
In addition to cable broadcasting, the new Fairness Doctrine also should reach into the press. I know print media have always been exempt, but, hey, judicial precedents change. Newspapers and news magazines not only use the public mails to ship some of their goods (often at subsidized rates), but they also run their delivery trucks over public roads and park their corner coin-boxes on public sidewalks. The current philosophy of government seems to be, if it moves, the government has a say in it, so why should newspapers get away with sitting in aloof Olympian judgment on everyone else?
It is never going to happen, you say. Well, OK, but let’s just open up the fairness issue as wide as possible and see where the debate takes us.
It should be exciting, especially when we have congressional hearings that extend the concept of political and cultural “fairness” still further — to Hollywood.
Or maybe the left would be smart to drop the matter altogether.
“Smart” and “left” should rarely go in the same sentence, Bruce.
Ed Schultz, one of the only successful liberal talk radio hosts (and in cherry red North Daokta, no less), laments that his leftist brethren can’t get a fair shake on talk radio. From NewsMax:
A popular left-wing talk show host claims liberal radio listeners are being denied the “fair market opportunity” their conservative counterparts receive, but a national media expert countered that the only standards any radio personality must meet are “ratings and revenue.”
“The numbers are undeniable – this industry is owned, operated and programmed by conservatives,” Ed Schultz said during a broadcast late last week. As a result, he told listeners that “progressive talkers are being held to a totally different standard than conservatives.”
“What you hear on this program you do not hear from 450 right-wing talkers in America who permeate the ears of those who don’t follow the news and [who] influence elections,” said Schultz, who is carried on more than 100 stations nationwide.
“This is about market opportunities. This is also about ownership. This is also about being given an opportunity to be on an equal signal with equal promotion,” he said.
Ed, you guys had (and still have) plenty of opportunities, especially with Air “we pilfer from the poor” America. AA was broadcast in liberal enclaves like NYC and LA, and it still failed. Conversely, Ed, your show broadcasts in a conservative city and state (Fargo, ND). Obviously, there’s more to it that you’re letting on to, you know. Continuing:
… “In Miami, Denver, Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, San Diego and Albuquerque, we [liberal radio shows] are making tremendous gains, and these radio stations are viable, salable products,” he said. Why don’t companies that own several stations “go after some progressive talk?” he wondered.
If those gains are as tremendous as you claim, then what are you b#tching about? Maybe this?
Highlighting what he said were the problems hosts like himself face, Schultz said he had been put on the air in Salt Lake City, but after two weeks, the program was taken down after “some soccer moms” gave the station “a little smoke and a little pushback.”
You mean…the market in Salt Lake wasn’t receptive to your message? Well, it MUST be the market’s fault, right?
OK, enough of his pap. Time for the debunking:
But Michael Harrison, publisher of the Talkers trade magazine, said Monday he did not believe that liberal and conservative talk show hosts are judged by different standards.
“The only standards anyone is held to are ratings and revenue,” he told Cybercast News Service. “Liberal or progressive hosts face the same challenges that conservatives do.”
While acknowledging the success of conservative Rush Limbaugh, Harrison said he “does not represent across-the-board radio. At his biggest and his best, he is only a small player in the broader picture of radio.”
Harrison was also critical of the report and those who support its conclusions, saying it merely proves that “conservative talk radio is dominated by conservatives, just as sports talk stations are dominated by football.”
The writers of the report “picked more than 200 stations owned by certain companies and created the impression that’s all of talk radio, and that all of talk radio is dominated by conservatives,” he said.
“Where’s National Public Radio [in the report]?” Harrison asked. “Millions and millions of people – some of the biggest radio audiences in the country – are listening to NPR. It certainly is not conservative, but it certainly is talk.“
“Stations that play rock don’t like to play opera. What if you did a survey of the top 200 rock stations and found they’re 95 percent rock and only five percent classical music? Would that mean opera is held to a different standard than rock?“
The finishing touches:
Even if what the report said is true, he said, “it’s still very dangerous” for politicians to determine such issues for the media. “I think that terrestrial radio is regulated enough as it is while it competes against all the other media available today.”
Harrison stressed that both he and his magazine are nonpartisan. “The only reason I’m critical of this [liberal report] is because it’s wrong. I would be critical of anything that the conservatives came out with that was wrong as well.
“What I’m in favor of is what should be on everyone’s agenda – free speech, the free marketplace of ideas and the First Amendment,” he added.
Yes, but “free speech, the free marketplace of ideas and the First Amendment” have never been the left’s area of expertise, now has it? That, in addition to their shameful desire to silence their ideological opponents in a manner used by Hugo Chavez, is why they want Big Daddy Gubmint to come to their rescue.
Evern since Lott was deposed a few years ago over that mountain-out-of-a-molehill comment about Strom Thurmond, he’s soured on the GOP. Though he has been semi-restored in the party’s leadership via his Minority Whip position, he’s still sore about that whole thing. As a result, he’s showing nothing but contempt for the people of Mississippi, as well as for constituents of his party.
It wasn’t bad enough that he said talk radio was a problem that needed to be “dealt with”. He had to take it one step further by insulting and provoking his base. From Novatownhall:
Meanwhile, Lott says regarding the phone calls, take a hike, but bring it on:
“I’ve had my phones jammed for three weeks. Yesterday I had three people answering them continuously all day,” Lott said. “To think that you’re going to intimidate a senator or any senator into voting one way or the other by gorging your phones with phone calls – most of whom don’t even know where Gulfport, Mississippi, is – is not an effective tactic. But it’s their right to do that.”
How about that? “What do them hicks from Miss’sipp know about what’s good fer ‘em?” Apparently, voicing your displeasure to your elected official is now known in D.C.-speak as “intimidation”. The arrogance of this buffoon is astounding.
As for the “talk radio is a problem that must be dealt with” comment made by Lott, Mark Levin shows where Lott falls on the side of free speech and the (un)Fairness Doctrine:
Trent Lott and the Fairness Doctrine
Associated Press, June 3, 1987
“But Rep. Trent Lott, R-Miss., said the burden on broadcast journalists is minimal.
‘We have unfairness now even with the Fairness Doctrine,’ he said. ‘Heaven knows what would happen without a Fairness Doctrine.’ “
October 26, 1987
Since Reagan’s veto of the earlier fairness bill, Hollings and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) have vowed to see the doctrine become law by other means. And in case fairness is lifted from reconciliation in the Senate, the lawmakers are said to have a backup. Dingell, reportedly with the blessings of House Speaker Jim Wright (D-Tex.) and minority leaders, Robert Michel (R-Ill.) and Trent Lott (R-Miss.), plans to fasten a fairness amendment to a catch-all spending bill (the continuing budget resolution). The current resolution, which keeps the government operating, expires on Nov. 10, and Reagan would be unlikely to veto such a measure.
Yep…Trent Lott supported the freakin’ Fairness Doctrine and fought Reagan on the matter! By the way, Trent, to respond to your rhetorical scenario “Heaven knows what would happen without a Fairness Doctrine”, I’d say “how does a 12-year run as the majority of Congress sound?”
Trent Lott is a fool, and while I know that Mississippi will in all probability NOT send a Democrat to DC for their Senate seat, perhaps the good people there can find a primary opponent who doesn’t show that kind of arrogance towards and contempt for his constituents.
Excellent column by George Will illustrating how totalitarian and condescending the left truly is. Excerpts follow (though read the whole thing, as it’s not long but is very informative):
Some illiberal liberals are trying to restore the luridly misnamed Fairness Doctrine, which until 1987 required broadcasters to devote a reasonable amount of time to presenting fairly each side of a controversial issue. The government was empowered to decide how many sides there were, how much time was reasonable and what was fair.
By trying to again empower the government to regulate broadcasting, illiberals reveal their lack of confidence in their ability to compete in the marketplace of ideas, and their disdain for consumer sovereignty—and hence for the public.
The illiberals’ transparent, and often proclaimed, objective is to silence talk radio. Liberals strenuously and unsuccessfully attempted to compete in that medium—witness the anemia of their Air America. Talk radio barely existed in 1980, when there were fewer than 100 talk shows nationwide. The Fairness Doctrine was scrapped in 1987, and today more than 1,400 stations are entirely devoted to talk formats. Conservatives dominate talk radio—although no more thoroughly than liberals dominate Hollywood, academia and much of the mainstream media.
(Examples of historical abuse of the Fairness Doctrine here.)…
Bill Ruder, a member of Kennedy’s subcabinet, said: “Our massive strategy was to use the Fairness Doctrine to challenge and harass right-wing broadcasters in the hope that the challenges would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue.” The Nixon administration frequently threatened the three networks and individual stations with expensive license challenges under the Fairness Doctrine. (See? Bipartisan abuse. – Ed.)
Adam Thierer, writing in the City Journal, notes that today’s “media cornucopia” has made America “as information-rich as any society in history.” In addition to the Internet’s uncountable sources of information, there are 14,000 radio stations—twice as many as in 1970—and satellite radio has nearly 14 million subscribers. Eighty-seven percent of households have either cable or satellite television with more than 500 channels to choose from. There are more than 19,000 magazines (up more than 5,000 since 1993). Thierer says, consider a black lesbian feminist who hunts and likes country music:
“Would the ‘mainstream media’ of 25 years ago represented any of her interests? Unlikely. Today, though, this woman can program her TiVo to record her favorite shows on Black Entertainment Television, Logo (a gay/lesbian-oriented cable channel), Oxygen (female-targeted programming), the Outdoor Life Network and Country Music Television.”
Some of today’s illiberals say that media abundance, not scarcity, justifies the Fairness Doctrine: Americans, the poor dears, are bewildered by too many choices. And the plenitude of information sources disperses “the national campfire,” the cozy communitarian experience of the good old days (for liberals), when everyone gathered around—and was dependent on—ABC, NBC and CBS.
“I believe we need to re-regulate the media,” says Howard Dean. Such illiberals argue that the paucity of liberal successes in today’s radio competition—and the success of Fox News—somehow represent “market failure.” That is the regularly recurring, all-purpose rationale for government intervention in markets. Market failure is defined as consumers’ not buying what liberals are selling.
Then again, markets aren’t exactly the left’s cup of tea. That whole “supply and demand” thingy elicits a deer-in-headlights look from the vast majority of leftards.
As I’ve asserted and demonstrated on many occasions, liberals think that you are too stupid to run your own lives and that you need their brilliance (which, of course, you’re too stupid to recognize or appreciate) to get you through your menial lives.
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