Monday, February 09, 2009

Uptight (everything's alright)

Last week, Stabenow was on Bill Press' show, and told him that she thought there needs to be more balance in broadcasting, also suggesting there would be hearings in the Senate during this Congress on possibly reinstating the right-wing's favorite bogeyman, the Fairness Doctrine. This followed discussion about the demise of WWRC.

Not surprisingly, they're shitting bricks over in the conservative blogosphere. Some are even crying 'foul', since Stabenow's husband, Tom Athans, has been a player in progressive talk radio, due to his efforts in launching the Ed Schultz Show and his later stint at Air America. But you know the crybaby conservative brigade has to whine and complain about something, right?

Now, I've really got nothing to add about the Fairness Doctrine that I haven't already said. So I'll let the others do the talking. And boy, are they ever talking!

First, the Pillsbury Dough Boy weighs in, with typical sneering demeanor and personal attacks galore. Brent Bozell's site is eating it all up too, with extra sauce.

Then we have this asshole, who thinks Athans should just simply off himself. He even mentions the word 'suicide'. Compassionate conservatism, I guess.

A bit more mild take from the Toledo Blade.

All in all, conservatives are a funny lot to watch nowadays, with their movement, mostly responsible for the mess this country's currently in, standing on the sidelines like an unwanted dog. And while I have been quite vocal about my opposition to a new Fairness Doctrine (you can't put the shit back in the horse), I do wholeheartedly support our politicians scaring the crap out of the tighty-righties by bringing it up as often as they see fit.

A not-so-balanced take from the Delaware County Daily Times, with Reagan worship and Clinton blow job references galore.

Now, as many readers here know, I have been a bit skeptical of a return to the Fairness Doctrine. I prefer to just watch conservative radio hang itself with its own rope, as their narrow-minded and naive listeners die off or find some other meaningless distraction to replace it. As a firm believer in karma, I do feel that conservative radio will die as people just get sick and tired of the crudeness, nastiness and desire to create drastic partisan divisions. They'll all get theirs in the end.

Suffice it to say, all the Fairness Doctrine does in micromanage radio programming. However, I do feel that the Obama-era FCC should definitely look into ownership and local content rules. That could be a better solution.

Nonetheless, while I really don't feel the Fairness Doctrine from the old days should be reinstated, I do heartily encourage our politicians to use it to scare the living crap out of uptight right-wing goofballs. They deserve the torment.


kamuro1 said...

2/10/09 Hate to tell ya, but the fairness doctrine is in fact useful, if done right. Presently, we have a situation where broadcast station licensees enjoy "free speech" at the expense of citizens' first amendment rights. You don't think so? Go to any commercial station and ask for even a minute of airtime to respond to some one-sided propaganda (pick any egregious lie) that you've heard that station broadcast. If you're lucky, and the station is not completely automated, perhaps a real person will tell you to fuck off. Gee, that didn't work so well, did it? O.k., go build or buy yourself a nice big transmitter, put up a tall tower and go on the air with YOUR opinion. Oh, wait, you need a federal license! Too bad, no frequencies available and you don't have the $15 million that Clear Channel would want, minimum, for the licensed station facility (one of the five that they own in your city). Well, go on the air anyway, with your first-amendment-protected rebuttal. Whoops, serious jailtime!

Look, a fairness doctrine that simply provides some rebuttal time for QUALIFIED INDIVIDUALS WHO SPECIFICALLY REQUEST TIME FOR REPLY STATEMENTS ON CONTROVERSIAL MATTERS OF DEMONSTRABLE PUBLIC INTEREST is entirely consistent with the Constitution and founders' intent.
The wingnut right has morphed the public perception of fairness by revising history with the claim that broadcasters had to previously or would have to under reinstatement automatically provide commentary on both sides of issues and beat the brush for opinionated individuals to do so. Anyone with a lick of sense can readily understand that such a requirement would have a chilling effect on public discourse and constitute a serious infringement of broadcast free speech. THIS IS NOT WHAT THE FAIRNESS DOCTRINE DID OR WOULD BE SET UP TO DO, if correctly reinstated.

Lastly, some idealistic but incredibly naive people might argue that broadcasters who fail to fulfill their public interest obligations, say by NOT presenting a diversity of local opinion, would be vulnerable at license renewal time. Sorry, the Congress and FCC have fixed it so that a station license is a lifetime sinecure. This is typical of the past two and a half decades' industry-driven idiocy masquerading as public interest policy. Hopefully, our national broadcast media policies will change for the better under the Obama administration.

Jolly Roger said...

The wingtards own the airwaves. To hear the talking heads, you'd never think that nearly 2 in 3 Americans stand with the PResident on the need for a stimulus. It is also well known that Clear Channel stations have pulled Big Eddie and Randi, even after their ratings were well documented to be higher than those of the pedophile drug addict from Florida. Since the 'tards refuse to play fair, then we're going to have to make them do it. Forcing Oxy-Moron down America's throat hardly seems like "free speech" to me.

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