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Sunday, November 23, 2008

The 'Fairness Doctrine', 'Localism', and 'Ownership Diversity'

Tyranny begins with the silencing of dissenting voices. To this end many on the Left are calling for the reinstatement of the 'Fairness Doctrine'.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told Fox News,

"Do you think we should allow people to put pornography on the air? Absolutely not. Particularly on television or radio.... The very same people who don't want the Fairness Doctrine want the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] to limit pornography on the air.... That's not consistent."

Obama campaign statement on the 'Fairness Doctrine', August 2008,

"He [Obama] considers this debate to be a distraction from the conversation we should be having about opening up the airwaves and modern communications to as many diverse viewpoints as possible. That is why Sen. Obama supports media-ownership caps, network neutrality, public broadcasting, as well as increasing minority ownership of broadcasting and print outlets."

Dianne Feinstein complained to Fox News’ Chris Wallace,

“In my view, talk radio tends to be one-sided. It also tends to be dwelling in hyperbole. It's explosive. It pushes people to, I think, extreme views without a lot of information.”

"Well, I'm looking at it (reviving the 'Fairness Doctrine'), as a matter of fact, Chris, because I think there ought to be an opportunity to present the other side. And unfortunately, talk radio is overwhelmingly one way. But I do believe in fairness. I remember when there was a fairness doctrine, and I think there was much more serious correct reporting to people."

Bill Moyers interview with Louise Slaughter (D-NY) on PBS. Read it here.

Lou Dobbs interview with Dennis Kacinich on CNN. See it here.

Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) radio interview. Hear it here.

Enacted in 1949 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the 'Fairness Doctrine' required broadcasters to present all sides on political issues equally. The only fairness associated with the 'Fairness Doctrine' was that it silenced political speech altogether. Broadcasters simply avoided topics which would fall under the FCC equal time rules. One blogger compares the 'Fairness Doctrine' to the 1765 Stamp Act. It is an interesting comparison.

In 1987, President Reagan rescinded the 'Fairness Doctrine' Since then, political speech on talk radio has flourished. Conservatives have dominated it. Conservative talk radio has 50 million listeners, with Rush Limbaugh taking the lions share of the ratings with 20 million listeners. Liberal talkers have had a tough time competing in the talk radio medium. Their show have trouble selling advertising for by virtue of the fact that talk radio listeners do not want to hear their shrill voices spewing negative, often anti-American, diatribes.

As far as the Left is concerned, conservative domination of the airwaves is a violation of the First Amendment. In the Liberal mind, the First Amendment not only guarantees them the right to express their opinion, it also guarantees them the right to be heard. As always, the Left is looking to the government to level the playing field. It is not enough that there is equal opportunity, there must be equal results.

While Obama has claimed that he will not be seeking a reinstatement of the 'Fairness Doctrine', he is very much in favor of expanding upon an FCC rule known as 'localism'. Under this rule radio and television stations are required to serve the interests of their local community as a condition of keeping their broadcast licenses. More on this from American Thinker.

Obama has chosen as as his transition chief John Podesta. Podesta is president of the Center for American Progress (CAP), a socialist think tank. Cap is in favor of expanding the concept of 'localism' and promoting 'ownership diversity' to solve what it believes are inequities in radio broadcasting. In a June 21, 2007 report entitled The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio, CAP complained of "the absence of localism in American radio markets" and recommends that to ensure that local radio stations fulfill their obligations to meet the needs of the communities which they serve, the FCC needs to exercise greater control over local broadcast licencing and the fining of radio stations who continue to air conservative talkers who are perceived to be out of step with local needs. The report also recommends that the money generated by the fines be used to support liberal dominated , taxpayer funded public broadcasting. It gets worse. Since conservative talk radio does not reflect the diverse interests of the communities which they serve, the report also recommends handing over media properties to selected minority control. One wonders how this might be accomplished. Through Stalin-esque seizure of private property? For more, go here.

Many on the Left dismiss the concerns of conservative talk show hosts as far fetched paranoia, others are in complete denial, and the mainstream press is wallowing in self imposed ignorance.

1 comment:

Z said...

Does that mean our blogs are 'pornography', too, Mr. Schumer?


THAT is pornography. But, I never use it!!!