Hate speech hypocrisy

The self-proclaimed champions of free speech, human rights, and ‘social justice’ are busy laying the groundwork for silencing all political opposition. Yes, the hypocrisy is flagrant, indeed, painfully obvious to anyone— except, apparently, to themselves.

The liberal definition of censorship is not balanced by any means. You see, Democrats and the left view censorship as something that they cannot commit. They are the champions of free speech after all. By their definition, censorship relates only to any infringement or disagreement to liberal opinions and liberal viewpoints. When conservatives refute liberal ideology that is the definition of censorship. When liberals attempt to pass laws and use the government to silence conservatives it's called 'fairness' and done in the name of combating 'hate speech'.

The Fairness Doctrine is a blatant vehicle for suppressing and regulating conservative political speech on all broadcast media. It is yet another example of the hypocrisy of liberalism which champions the cause of terrorists, demonizes America, and then claims to be defenders of the good.

The latest assault on the integrity of free speech is being perpetrated by Democrats in Congress who are thinking that they've found a loophole in their self-appointed role as champions of free speech. They appear to believe that labeling conservative speech as, "messages of bigotry or hatred, creating a climate of fear and inciting individuals to commit hate crimes," will then allow them to silence and infringe the speech of their political foes.

But, according to a release from the commitee issued Monday, they also said they are also "particularly" interested in studying "uses by broadcast facilites licensed on behalf of the public by the FCC, and whether such uses convey messages of bigotry or hatred, creating a climate of fear and inciting individuals to commit hate crimes."

A committee source would not say what had engendered that particular concern about broadcasters' conveying "messages of bigotry and hatred," adding that it was a general query rather than targeted at any one group. But some Democrats and media activist groups have been highly critical of conservative talk radio, labeling it hate speech.

A new hate crimes bill passed the House last month that would allow law enforcement to prosecute speech that led directly to bodily injury. Some religious broadcasters are concerned the law, if passed, could prevent ministers from speaking out against homosexuality from the broadcast pulpit. The American Civil Liberties Union supported the bill, the first hate crimes bill it has been able to give its seal of approval, pointing out that the legislation protected speech and association "unless it specifically relates to a violent crime." ~broadcastingcable.com

Yes, the same folks who routinely incite and fuel the hatred of America wish to now begin silencing the opposition with the big hammer of government with the excuse that those they disagree with politically are inciting others to 'hate'.

The ultimate goal is, of course, to control the public debate. A free market, even the free market of ideas, is prone to failure in the minds of liberals. Leaving public opinion up to chaotic and unregulated market forces goes against everything liberals believe in. The government is obviously a better arbiter of whose opinion is closer to 'the truth' and how balanced the coverage is on any given show or media outlet.

Incredibly, the left argues that having a free press requires the government to mandate the balance of political opinion and viewpoints on formats where their favored liberal viewpoint is 'underrepresented'. Nothing is said of other media outlets where often +90% of the newsroom is liberal or support Democrats. (There's no public interest in forcing 'balance' in media where the imbalance is slanted in their favor after all.)

Does the government "own" free speech?

Perhaps the most insidious and empty argument justifying the left's use of government power to regulate speech is that the airwaves are, "owned by the government." Therefore the government not only has the right to regulate political content but an over-riding, "public-interest," in doing so. Their arguments are hollow and deceptive to say the least.

Democrats and the left are headed in the same direction as Hugo Chavez. Indeed, many on the left are already there. The intolerance for other points of view clearly drives liberal causes like the fairness doctrine. Control of every facet of media is the long term goal here as some Progressive Democrats have admitted.

BILL MOYERS: So when the fairness doctrine went down in 1986, that was the first year you came to Congress, what was the consequence of it? What happened as a result?

LOUISE SLAUGHTER: AM radio rose. It wasn't even gradual, Bill. I mean, almost immediately. And I should point out to you that when we tried to reinstate [the fairness doctrine] again in '93, one of the reasons we couldn't was that Rush Limbaugh had organized this massive uprising against it, calling it "The Hush Rush Law." Which again said that while Rush can speak and anybody that he wants to can speak on those stations, the rest of us can't. But he aroused his listeners so that they contacted their members of Congress and killed the bill, and that's not the first time we've seen that.

I don't know if you remember, but I believe it was Massachusetts I think where they were doing seat belt law? And talk radio was against it and killed that bill. I mean we've seen this before.

BILL MOYERS: Well, you know some serious people, including some liberals have said that one reason Rush Limbaugh has succeeded is because he is good entertainment.

LOUISE SLAUGHTER: Exactly. He doesn't make any pretense of being a news person or even telling you the truth. He says he's an entertainer.

BILL MOYERS: And you're saying that kind of discourse is dominating America right now.

LOUISE SLAUGHTER: Dominating America and a waste of good broadcast time and a waste of our airwaves.

BILL MOYERS: Not to the people who agree with him.

LOUISE SLAUGHTER: Well, they don't hear anything else. Why would they disagree with him? ~pbs.org

The blindness. The blandness. There's a kind of Soviet gray in her words as if she yearns for the kind of equality you get from mixing all the colors of the rainbow together... gray goop. But what is more telling is the clear hypocrisy. Free speech isn't free if the government has to be there countering it every moment. That's the true definition of censorship. And I'm saddened that those who call themselves liberals don't even see it.

Representative Slaughter goes on to say that she would like to impose her views on every form of communication no matter what medium.

BILL MOYERS: Are you proposing the fairness doctrine for Fox News or MSNBC?



LOUISE SLAUGHTER: Yes. Fairness isn't going to hurt anybody. I just can't imagine these people who want to fight against fairness. ~pbs.org

Posted by Eric Simonson at June 23, 2007 12:48 AM
Comment #223847

Like I always say, “The far left doesn’t like to have discussion….they prefer instruction.

Posted by: scotie1321 at June 23, 2007 12:59 AM
Comment #223854

So these things were said publicly in 2004? What has happened in the three years since then? Anything?

Posted by: womanmarine at June 23, 2007 2:06 AM
Comment #223855

Scary stuff. Who is this Slaughter chick? Is she a powerful liberal voice? I wish I had been involved in politics when the seat belt law was being passed, I would have fought it too. I don’t wear one because it is a law and the only place I’ve been ticketed was on a business trip to San Francisco when I got 2….San Fran thats a whole nother story talk about no middle class look at the liberal Utopia.

Anyway, I don’t see how this could be brought up much less pass. I’m in the car a lot and if one morning the government decided I didn’t have the option to tune into a little El Rushbo (that’s right his program is bi-lingual) I might have to turn into an, oh Lord….activist.
I guess if you can’t control the frame of the debate or win elections by being who you truly are you gotta censor. How typical of the open minded enlightened party.

Posted by: andy at June 23, 2007 2:06 AM
Comment #223856

Eric, your very first link demonstrates that your article is intent on totally misrepresenting the truth and distoring evidence for your own political purposes. In that link is states there is no abundance of cases in which the State ACLU affiliates have defended “conservative, antigay or otherwise politically incorrect speakers.”

Now, it would have been great if the biased writer of this linked article demonstrated evidence of such a grand and sweeping statement, but, their ignorance and lack of such evidence got the better of them, and so, WENDY KAMINER, the author, had to try to distort truth and reality to make her case, as you try to do in your article.

For example, Kaminer says:

One of the clearest indications of a retreat from defending all speech regardless of content is the ACLU’s virtual silence in Harper v. Poway, an important federal case involving a high-school student’s right to wear a T-shirt condemning homosexuality. Of course, the ACLU doesn’t speak out on every case, but historically it has vigorously defended student speech rights, as its Web site stresses. It is currently representing a student in a speech case before the Supreme Court, Morse v. Frederick (involving the right of a student to carry a nonsensical “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” banner at an off-campus event)

What is of monumental note here is that in Harper v. Poway, the circumstance is a school where local laws and school board regulations designed to promote learning and prevent conflicts and hostilities omnipresent in our public schools is at the heart of the issue. An enormous number of school districts in America have installed dress codes which facilitate social harmony and learning as opposed to turning schools into hotbeds of fisticuffs and political revolution.

Now contrast this with Morse v. Frederick, in which the student was at an OFF CAMPUS event, where the school boards and local school jurisdictions no longer apply based on the interest of promoting education and social harmony.

This was an incredible oversight on Kaminer’s and your part in linking to such drivel, as it does not point to a double standard at all if that difference is observed. Off campus political speech cannot be abridged by school authorities arguing for safe and facilitative learning environments. In schools, the law gives deference to state and local laws and jurisdictions to modify behavior by regulation expressly designed to ensure taxpayer’s a safe and non-confrontational environment in which to send their kids to learn.

See the simple fact is, if the student had been wearing a pro-gay shirt, the ACLU would have taken exactly the same position. The issue is not pro or anti-gay, the legal issue is the right of local taxpayers and school boards and jurisdictions to create and maintain safe, non-confrontational environments for students to learn in.

But Kaminer and followers don’t want to be confused by facts and reality, so, I will just amble over to some other WB article with considerably more credibility.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 23, 2007 2:10 AM
Comment #223864

I don’t know about the “fairness doctrine”. I just wish they would outlaw whatever secret ray it is thats turns otherwise thoughtful people into simpletons after listening to R-wingnut radio.

Seriouly though,you have a point. There are options. If you want unbiased news turn on the PBS News Hour. They are rigorious in presenting opposing views plus you won’t hear any damned Paris Hilton stories.

Posted by: Bills at June 23, 2007 3:16 AM
Comment #223866

PBS, are you serious? A friend of mine did a story that was publihed in the NYT about a year ago that documented the disproportionate liberal views of that station. Difference is, I will never call to censor PBS if you wanna watch then by all means be a bleeding heart simpleton.

Posted by: andy at June 23, 2007 4:11 AM
Comment #223867

Oh, and David to your long response that avoids the post I can just reply bullsh*t. I’m sick of the aclu apologists. You damn well know regardless of the circumstances what camp they would fall.

Posted by: andy at June 23, 2007 4:28 AM
Comment #223872


While I don’t agree with your arguments (no one on the left is trying to silence all political opposition — you would need a police state to do that), I agree with your basic conclusion. We don’t need a Fairness Doctrine. There are many, many media sources these days and it is up to the consumer to find the diamonds in the crap.

Posted by: Woody Mena at June 23, 2007 7:29 AM
Comment #223874

The Airwaves, Eric, are a public resource, given to station managers by a license from the Federal Government. Since you’re not arguing with licensing of our airwaves, I’ll assume you will conceded that point.

That being said, the use of those airwaves for mostly partisan purposes, and mostly, in that case, Right Wing, is not a right in and of itself. The license is public, so those in the public ought to be able to voice their opinion in turn, when they disagree with the views of the person in question.

The only hypocrisy I see here is somebody using the First Amendment (which doesn’t even entirely apply to licensed airwaves anyway) to argue that licensors shouldn’t have to open public airwaves to the responses of members of the public, or folks with countervailing points of view.

In short, the Fairness Doctrine is threat to the Right Wing because it means that those running the stations could no longer weight their use of the airwaves to the advocacy of the Conservative agenda. Of course, anytime when folks like that can’t get the stage and the forum to themselves, they think it’s a tragedy. Folks have heard their opinion, why would anybody need to listen to anybody else?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 23, 2007 8:37 AM
Comment #223876
Oh, and David to your long response that avoids the post I can just reply bullsh*t. I’m sick of the aclu apologists. You damn well know regardless of the circumstances what camp they would fall.

Ahhh… the “don’t bother me with facts; I’ve already made up my mind” defense.

Thanks for playing.

Posted by: LawnBoy at June 23, 2007 8:46 AM
Comment #223885


those with opposite view points can get all the equal time they want. the right wing talk shows as you call them are successful because people actually listen to them. they are able to draw in advertising revenue because of the shares of listeners. radio is a business and with out advertising they can’t servive. all the left has to do is find a format that works. if they bring in the listeners the advertisers will come, this is the problem no one listens. they can also pay for the air time, and get thier messege out. why should a broadcasting co. have to give away free airtime ? the feds may license the airwaves, but thats only because they regulate them. if no one tunes in to listen, advertisers aren’t going to waste thier money. if people really tuned in to listen to the left point of view, air america would have been a smashing success, but as it stands the only place liberal talk radio has been able to servive is stations that recieve most of there funding from the gov’t, like NPR, go figure.

Posted by: dbs at June 23, 2007 11:28 AM
Comment #223887

With the countless news sources available to anyone, we don’t need the Fairness Doctrine. And we certainly don’t need government authority to extend to non-broadcast media, such as cable or the internet. I say this is a liberal.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 23, 2007 11:47 AM
Comment #223889


Here are some past quotes about the Fairness Doctirne:

“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.”
(Newsweek Magazine 2007)

“If this were a rule, it would mean that television news must never examine a problem in American life without first ascertaining that we had piled up enough points on the other side.” “A fire is reported,” says Reuven Frank, “but not the houses that didn’t burn.”
(Executive Producer NBC News Reuven Frank)

Facts about the Fairness Doctrine:

In 1949, the FCC adopted the fairness doctrine, a policy that viewed station licensees as “public trustees” and, as such, responsible for addressing controversial issues of public importance. The key requirement was that stations allowed opportunity for discussion of contrasting points of view on these issues.
Later, in 1967, two corollary doctrines were added. The first was the political editorial rule, requiring that if a station editorialized either for or against a candidate for public office, the station had to notify the disfavored candidate within 24 hours and allow him/her to reply to the editorial; the second was the personal attack rule, which states that when a person or group’s character or integrity is impugned during the discussion of a controversial issue, the station must notify the person within one week, and offer a reasonable time for response. When the fairness doctrine came before the courts in 1987, they decided that since the doctrine was not mandated by Congress, it did not have to be enforced. FCC suspended all but the two corollary doctrines at this time.
As this was happening, Congress passed a bill to make the fairness doctrine into law. However, President Reagan vetoed the legislation and there were insufficient votes to override the veto. In 2000, when the FCC failed to justify the two remaining corollary rules, the political editorial rule and the personal attack rule were repealed.

The reason for Reagan’s veto was reportedly, [Reagan said], “It shouldn’t take the force of law to compel broadcasters to be fair. The public trusts and expects those in the media to provide news and information without bias. Maintenance of that trust will do far more to insure fairness than any law.”

The real issue of the actual legislation introduced is those targeted.

The grounds for reinstating the legislation are reports and complaints from, and I quote the actual legislation:

“A 2004 survey by Democracy Radio, found that there were 2,349 hours of local conservative programs broadcast every week versus 555 hours of local progressive programs, and 39,382 hours of national conservative programs broadcast every week versus 2,487 hours of national progressive programs.”

Democracy Radio was founded by Tom Athens, the husband of Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.! So much for Democrats not cow-towing to special interest lobbyists, right Democrats? This particular special interest lobbyist is even a family member. But, there certainly would be no bias in the findings there, right?
What ever happened to the good old days in the last Republican Congress when bipartisan committees and blue ribbon panels were used to investigate sensitive subjects like 9/11 and the Iraq War, in order to find bipartisan recommendations? Hmmmmmmm?

The legislation also lists this as its reason for re-institution:

“An April 2004 poll, conducted by Media Matters for America of likely voters shows overwhelming support across the political and demographic spectrum for restoring rules requiring fairness and balance on the public’s airwaves.”
(H.R. 501 proposed by Ms. Slaughter)

“Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.
Launched in May 2004, Media Matters for America put in place, for the first time, the means to systematically monitor a cross section of print, broadcast, cable, radio, and Internet media outlets for conservative misinformation — news or commentary that is not accurate, reliable, or credible and that forwards the conservative agenda — every day, in real time.
Using the website www.mediamatters.org as the principal vehicle for disseminating research and information, Media Matters posts rapid-response items as well as longer research and analytic reports documenting conservative misinformation throughout the media. Additionally, Media Matters works daily to notify activists, journalists, pundits, and the general public about instances of misinformation, providing them with the resources to rebut false claims and to take direct action against offending media institutions.”
(Media Matters for America)

Wow, it’s nice to see that bi-partisanship is alive and well in the Democratic Party!!!!!!


Posted by: JD at June 23, 2007 1:08 PM
Comment #223891

I was refering to the News Hour shown on PBS. They really are unbiased as a news program should be regardless of what you think of the rest of PBS. They give in depth information from two different points of view by people that know what they are talking about.They are the gold standard in actual news broadcasting. No sound bites or baseless accusations here. They are held in high regard by those in public policy from both ends of the political spectrum.If they have a drawback it is that because they go into important subjects so deeply they are limited in the number of topics they can address.Many of the issues we face are not simple and for a real understanding need more time than is allowed on Fox/CNN etc.

Posted by: bills at June 23, 2007 1:10 PM
Comment #223892

The fairness doctrine was set up to regulate scarce spectrum resouces. The proliferation of channels has made it unnecessary. Liberals are merely frustrated the guys like Al Franken cannot win an audience.

If we want to be fair, every time a celebrity pushes a left wing agenda, we should demand he also push a right wing one. Good luck.

This whole thing is no longer something the government should be concerned about.

Posted by: Jack at June 23, 2007 1:18 PM
Comment #223900

Why a “fairness” bill at all? As my mama taught me, “there ain’t nothing fair in life”.

I would support a factual in all respects bill. The problem there lies in what does one actually consider factual. Depending upon who teaches the facts, or how they are interpreted, one could in up in the same mess we are already in.

Maybe we need to re-think what we mean when we state “the facts”. Like on the old television show, Dragnet, “the facts, sir, just the facts”.

The facts or the truth, today doesn’t seem to matter any more.

That’s a shame. They’ve fallen in to the same category of history being written by the victors.

BTW - andy, - you can thank Lizzy Dole for the seatbelt laws - she’s the one who basically blackmailed the states by withholding highway funding until they passed her seatbelt law. She’s not very likable person in real life either. I know, I’ve met her, served on boards with her, and unfortunately have had to socialize with her. Bob Dole on the other hand is a gentleman.

Posted by: Linda H. at June 23, 2007 2:17 PM
Comment #223903

I like Rush and Sean and that guy who’s too much of a man now to wear a bow tie, and that “golly, cheese-wiz-I’m-just-an-average guy who finds all the nonsense going on just so confusing. What is his name? Glenn something?
Liberal commentary is just common sense truth and really boring to lsten to. It’s why Air America went broke. It dealt with a lot of truths and the truth in recent years has been really depressing. Who wants to listen to that??
I’ll take a good lie any day!!

Posted by: Charles Ross at June 23, 2007 3:00 PM
Comment #223904


What a silly post.

Do you imagine yourslef to be responding to anything outside of your own mind?

Posted by: RGF at June 23, 2007 3:10 PM
Comment #223912


Enough with the false straw man arguments.

You know not of that which you speak.

Posted by: RGF at June 23, 2007 4:14 PM
Comment #223916

andy, You do know that the ACLU has backed Rush Limbaugh, right?


Posted by: 037 at June 23, 2007 5:59 PM
Comment #223917

In light of the now admitted involvement of republican party operatives in blocking the Dade County recount in Florida in 2000…

Pressures on NBC and the attempt to take over Public Radio…

Fox News et al…

This is preposterous.

Eric, I beleive you are a “label first” republican.

That is to say, you can turn a blind eye to ANYTHING so long as the purpetrator(s) call themselves republican.

Posted by: RGF at June 23, 2007 6:08 PM
Comment #223919

037…It’s funny that the aclu started their quote with “It may seem odd that we are defending Rush”, they are blind to the protection of the Bill of Rights why would it seem odd? Hmmm.

Anyway there were reasons for this. 1) They have a quota so they are able to throw up the same few cases to defend themselves from being called the socialist organization that they are. 2) In this case they were not only able to say “see we defend everyone” but really at the heart of this case they were protecting abortion rights. Sneaky little group you gotta watch them.
How come when this gets brought up we always see the same few cases, there have to be many thousands to pick from. I mean really why do liberals have to lie about who they are.

Posted by: andy at June 23, 2007 6:37 PM
Comment #223925


Actually, the ACLU has long fought against attempts to loosen protections on medical privacy. It may “seem odd” to some that the ACLU argued against the seizure of Rush’s medical records, but only if you caricature the organization the way you do.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 23, 2007 9:10 PM
Comment #223930

Gerrold…It was the aclu that said they know it seems odd not me. Why would they say that if they are what they say they are? As far as your first sentence I couldn’t agree more and I think I pointed out that fact earlier, not sure of your point.
I’m not sure what the big deal is. The aclu is a socialist organization how come it’s so hard for liberals to openly admit that? It’s easy lets ask the question “when you hear the phrase aclu do you feel happy or sad?”. I think the results would be predictable. I’m not scared to admit what I am why can’t liberals just do the same?

Posted by: andy at June 23, 2007 9:52 PM
Comment #223935

I find this article, and all of the rightwing-style replies in this thread absolutely hilarious!
Thanks for the chuckles.

Posted by: Adrienne at June 23, 2007 10:33 PM
Comment #223945

Adrienne, what a starling refreshing comment … let us see if we can retort …

… Arienne, Eric’s Dad is bigger than your Dad.

Posted by: Honest at June 23, 2007 11:41 PM
Comment #223946

I find it odd that anyone would come to the defense of Rush.Maybe that explains it.

Posted by: BillS at June 23, 2007 11:42 PM
Comment #223947

andy, some people might find it “odd” that the ACLU would defend someone who frequently attacks the organization. But that’s only odd to those who think the ACLU isn’t more concerned about the principles involved in a case than the parties.

How is the ACLU a socialist organization? I have no idea what you mean by that.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 23, 2007 11:58 PM
Comment #223949

The problem is not so much the lack of outlets for people’s views, it’s an attitude that treats advocacy as par for the course.

I’m no different from anybody who would like to see his or her viewpoint win out over other. But I realize, having educated myself about the cognitive sciences, and about communication and its breakdowns that people who advocate their view points often do so with blinders on.

Perhaps the fairness doctrine or something like it would cut down on political voices in the media, because of the needs to get both sides of the story. However, let’s think beyond simple sides here: what the doctrine really is aimed at is encouraging that airwaves owned by the public be used in a more non-partisan way.

I would say we need that, now more than ever. We need to take back our focus off the convoluted BS of politics, and more towards the substantive issues of policy and results.

The Right Wing has been the beneficiary of a situation where owners could stack the deck on whose doing the talking. It did wonders for Republican politics, but I’d say in the long run, it’s been a poor deal for Republicans out there.

It served to distract Republicans from problems of corruption and hypocrisy in their ranks. It obscured the shift towards the center and left, and discouraged the compromise that would have helped those on the right find common cause with their fellow citizens, rather than alienating them.

It helped create a situation where rank and file Republicans were being fed and led to buy rationalizations nobody else was accepting, inhibiting the kind of reaction that most Republicans, decent enough people, would have to the problems at hand.

You could not have had the disastrous Bush presidency, and many of his screw-ups without their cooperation.

At the end of the day, we don’t need a selection of people in the media willing to kiss our ideological ass. What we need is good, truthful, open information about what’s going on. We need reporters acting as investigators, rather than conduits for sources looking to push an agenda.

Politics is something that exists merely in our heads. Sadly, though, the consequences of politics are not so unreal. It is those consequences, those real world results, that matter most.

Back when there were more requirements for broadcasters to provide a level playing field for political discussion, and otherwise, our press did a better job of looking at the facts. Now everything has degenerated into a free-floating back-and-forth between not so disinterested parties. We need to get back to the press being more than just and instrument of those in political and financial power. We need it to be the force that keeps folks honest.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 24, 2007 12:08 AM
Comment #223951

“Adrienne, what a starling refreshing comment …”

Well this is obviously for the birds…!

“let us see if we can retort …

… Arienne, Eric’s Dad is bigger than your Dad.”

Nonest, as a woman I can tell you sincerely, size isn’t what is most important about a man. It’s a man using every bit of what he’s got, that truly counts.

Posted by: Adrienne at June 24, 2007 12:16 AM
Comment #223956

Enumerating the negative effects, as you see them, of right-wing talk radio as justification for any government-administered regulation of speech is a totalitarian impulse. Pure and simple.

“We are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”
—Thomas Jefferson

The left wing has every opportunity to challenge the right wing on the radio. Their failure to do so successfully is THEIR problem and THEIR deficiency, and has nothing to do with any lack of bandwidth except for the lack of their bandwidth of talent and ideas.

This is nothing more than a desire to censor Rush Limbaugh and a fear of his influence.

But go down this road with radio, and we’ll have to go down the same road with brodadcast television and other media. Where 9 out of 10 journalists who make political contributions, according to MSNBC do so for Democrats and liberal causes.

“Fairness” could be a double-edged sword. Insist on “balance” from Limbaugh when you’re ready to see the government step in and start censoring liberals and inserting conservative voices into CBS, NBC, and ABC.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at June 24, 2007 1:03 AM
Comment #223957

Nonest, as a woman I can tell you sincerely, size isn’t what is most important about a man. It’s a man using every bit of what he’s got, that truly counts.
Wow, a little risque commentary huh? funny stuff.

Gerrold…I just found it funny that such an organization would preface a statement like that. I’ve had this dicussion enough times to know if continued it will lead to a dead end. I feel the aclu is a threat to American values and I assume you feel they protect these values. I can only hope for the day I can celebrate their fall.
I’ve read some of your other posts and just wanted to say that you seem alright. You don’t seem like the enemy just someone with a different outlook than myself. If that makes any sense.

Posted by: andy at June 24, 2007 1:22 AM
Comment #223958

LO nobody watches the big 3 network news anymore. That’s an unfair trade.
But you’re right this is all about Rush. Media Matters getting Imus fired was all about Rush. It’s funny, for all the talk about how he is a joke, they sure put a lot of energy into censoring him. It’s so frustrating how sneaky the left is.

Posted by: andy at June 24, 2007 1:40 AM
Comment #223965

The Republicans are quick to criticize misuse of public resources (at least in theory), and to use the FCC’s power to restrict what is seen and said on television.

Is the fairness doctrine an impediment to free speech? First we should define what we mean by free. The Talk Radio folks use public airwaves to do their talking, to indulge in their politics. They do not own these frequencies, nor the right to broadcast on them. They license all that from the government, holding it in trust for the public.

This Public trust is the basis for many FCC Doctrines, including those concerning wardrobe malfunctions and on-air profanity. Decency regulations, ostensibly violations of free speech, are justified on the basis of the public interest in shielding children from such content.

The Republicans, in their zeal to defeat the Democrats, have lost much of their former sense of the limits of politicization. They cannot see how it might not be in the public’s interest to have unrestrained political use of what is essentially a scarce public resource. As my last rather lengthy discourse was meant to argue, though, the traditional use of broadcast media was for the good of all the public, not merely one partisan faction of it.

To see the world entirely in the realm of what’s good for the party and what’s not is to trap yourself in a world where actions of your party that go against your interests are defended in the name of the overall hope that the party will redeem the situation, and itself while its at it.

The Fairness Doctrine merely asks that broadcasters act as the custodians of the public welfare that they agree to act as when they apply for and gain their license to broadcast in that part of the spectrum. Broadcasters are gatekeepers, and left to themselves, they would make the sole decision of what to broadcast. Some would be evenhanded and fair, but others would operate in a partisan fashion, using a resource given to them by the public to push and agenda that others would have limited power to respond to in kind.

For years, now, broadcasters of talk radio have been able to use a public resource to push a political agenda. What the fairness doctrines is proposed for, is to restore the balance, to remind broadcasters that the spectrum they are licensed for belongs to more than them and their own interests, that they must serve the public in a more open and evenhanded way if they wish to retain their use of a resource that belongs to the public.

If these people want to set up Blogs and podcasts to get their message out, or turn to the more private channels of Cable and Satellite to have the forums to themselves, they are welcomed to do that. But as long as they use a public resource, it’s only fair that we ask them to put their personal views aside, and run broadcast stations on behalf of more than just their own party.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 24, 2007 8:58 AM
Comment #223971

Once again Stephen, the calm and cool voice of logic and reason….thank you.
I guess one could always say that we have the ultimate choice of turning a dial to off if we don’t like what we see or hear. However, when the earlier choices are severely limited or restricted, then options or variety become a non-factor.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at June 24, 2007 12:24 PM
Comment #223972


Your argument against the ACLU is vapid. You can accuse anyone of having a secret agenda that they regularly violate “just for appearances”.

Posted by: Woody Mena at June 24, 2007 12:58 PM
Comment #223974


you compare right leaning politicaly oriented talk radio with profanity and hate speech. this is pure baloney. it’s true the airwaves are licensed by the federal gov’t, but only in that they are monitored for decency. drop the F-bomb or the like on the airwaves and you’ll find out. BTW most radio markets have the typical morning zoo type radio programs, whith all kind of off color humor, and racey stunts many might find offensive. why aren’t you railing against this too ?

your big problem seems to be the lack of opposing view points. there is no lack of opposing view points, only the lack of people interested in listening to them. with out listeners rush, savage, or any of the others would not survive, and is why they have done so well. you are unhappy with this fact, so you want to force station owners by force of gov’t to give air time, which cost $, to broadcast shows or view points no one is tunning in to listen to, for free.

it’s a simple concept, broadcast something people want to listen to, and they’ll tune in, and advertisers will by airtime for products or services, the station makes money, and everyone gets what they want. that is with the exception of you.


back in rare form i see. haven’t seen you around much lately, good to have you back.

Posted by: dbs at June 24, 2007 1:07 PM
Comment #223975

The Fairness Doctrine may have made sense when the number of news outlets was more limited. But today we have a great number of news outlets, particularly for national news, which seems to be what we are all exercised about. The First Amendment was held not to fully apply to broadcast media because of the limited number of available frequencies. That gave government an opening; if it can license then it can regulate. I’m not going to argue here against that point of view; it’s been established that government does have that right. What I argue for is adhering to the principles of free speech and of the press as expressed in the First Amendment. Given that we no longer have limited visual and or auditory outlets, I believe there is no compelling justification to regulate political content on broadcast media. It is undoubtedly true that conservative views dominate the radio waves, but it is only one medium, and even with that medium, one has alternatives (like many on the right and left, I greatly value NPR). The intent of Slaughter’s Media Act is to regulate the radio airwaves; indeed, in the bill itself it provides statistics only pertaining to radio. It does not address broadcast television, though of course the legislation would apply to that medium too. I simply do not believe that the number of news outlets is so limited that we can any longer justify violating the principles of the First Amendment.

Having said that, eric’s article is ridiculous; advocating for equal time does not equate to silencing the opposition.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 24, 2007 1:28 PM
Comment #223976

It would be nice if there was someone to call Rush et al when they make up “facts” as they go along. Lieing to prove a point should not be tolerated by any audience.One would hope Mr. Simmons and brethren are insulted and annoyed when he tries this. Aparently that is not the case.

Posted by: BillS at June 24, 2007 2:55 PM
Comment #223977


The ACLU is a organization that establishes its positions based on what it believes the Constitution means. As a rule it does not establish positions based on the interests of any political parties.

In the hopes that your views about the organization are capable of being modified, here are some ACLU positions that I assume would appeal to the Right (these are quoted with slight modification from the ACLU’s website):

It generally opposes campaign finance reform because of First Amendment issues.

It supports the right of private groups to exclude participants from their parades who do not share the values and message the parade sponsors wish to communicate.

It fought against a state prohibition against the anonymous distribution of political campaign literature on the grounds that it violated the right to anonymous free speech.

It supported striking down an overly broad local law banning the display, on public or private property, of any symbol “that arouses anger, alarm or resentment in others on the basis of race, color, creed, religion or gender.”

It fought against a state law authorizing a public school principal to suspend a student for up to ten days without a hearing.

It fought for the right of veterans to choose to have religious symbols they want placed on their gravestones at federal cemeteries (the government had offered a list of “approved” symbols).

It defended Col. Oliver North because his conviction was based on coerced testimony, a violation of Fifth Amendment rights.

There are more, but I’m getting tired. andy, you can say that I picked and chose cases to illustrate my point, and you would be correct. I understand that the Right does not in general agree with the ACLU’s position on abortion rights, or the separation of church and state, or habeas corpus, or flag burning. I personally think the ACLU and the courts are incorrect on the Second Amendment. But in general the organization is admirable for taking principled stands on civil liberties. It is not a “socialist” organization; it is a civil liberties organization. The truth is, both the Right and Left need to be watched by organizations concerned about civil liberties.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 24, 2007 2:57 PM
Comment #223979


“It would be nice if there was someone to call Rush et al when they make up “facts” as they go along.”

i suppose you have some proof to back up your accusation.

“Lieing to prove a point should not be tolerated by any audience.”

the answer is simple. if you think someone is lying you tune them out. funny how you don’t complain about the hateful, angry rhetoric that was spewed on air america the same way.

seems there’s quite a double standard. i disagree with a lot of the things that are said by those on the left. the difference is, i wouldn’t try to deny them the right to say it, by using some assenign gov’t regulation.

people are generally smart enough to make up thier own minds. they don’t need you to protect them from thier own stupidity, but of course we coudn’t possibly let them make up there own minds, especially if that means they might support an oppinion you don’t agree with. it’s all about shutting up those you don’t agree with, because your opinions aren’t doing well in the market place.

Posted by: dbs at June 24, 2007 3:40 PM
Comment #223982

Some proof to back up my accusations.Problem is where to start. My printer just ran out of ink trying to print just some.

a few choice ones:

Limbaugh:On Iran spacial prosecuter Lawrence Walsh:”This Walsh story basically is,we just spent seven years and $40 million looking for criminal activity on the part of anybody in the Reagan administration,and guess what? We could not find any………There is not one indictment.There is not one charge.”

There were 14 indictments and eleven convictions or guilty pleas.

Limbaugh: “There are more American Indians alive today than there were when Columbus arrived..

US Bureau of Indian Affairs:pre columbus population of betwee 5-15 million. Currently about 2 million.

Limbaugh:”It has not been proven that nicotine is addictive,the same with cigarettes causing emphysema.”

Not according to C.Everett Koop’s report issued in 1988

Just a few.Google it. there are hundreds of examples. No one like to admit being had but face it,you been had.Id be mad if I was you.

Posted by: BillS at June 24, 2007 4:44 PM
Comment #223984


You’re vapid, kidding.
How about some qoutes from Roger Baldwin founder aclu:
“They would accept “workers democracy” as far superior to what the capatilist world offers. Yes, and they would accept the necessity of dictatorship while the job of reorganizing society on a socialist basis is being done.”

“I am for socialism……Communism is the goal.”

Lets take a look at their donor list. Probably not gonna find a lot of conservatives. Most every case taken by the aclu has an obvious (usually), or harder to see (the cases presented to show how liberals are not liberals), socialist agenda.
I’m not sure what the big deal is…so the aclu is a liberal institution, so what there are lots of them. Is it un-pc now to call a liberal a liberal? Is it gonna take something like from the movie a few good men, “we can’t handle the truth”, before you’all crack and come out of the shadows with your vision for America.

Posted by: andy at June 24, 2007 5:17 PM
Comment #223986

First, the law is quite clear: broadcasting is a privilege, not a right. A license is required to use that spectrum. A license to broadcast should not be a license to shut out other political views on account of the gatekeeper status that having a license bestows on them. Given that Republicans often complain about media bias, they should love the fairness doctrine, since they can use it, too.

You folks call it censorship, but the only censorship involved is self-censorship, that being in reaction to the requirement that you present other people the opportunity to express their views.

You should consider the irony in calling self-imposed limitations like this censorship. If you wish to be politically expressive and a broadcaster, simply make your station a fair and open forum.

As for the business end of it, even if talk radio is a business bonanza (and as David Brock would have it, it’s not), the fact that it makes money doesn’t justify the content. Personally, I think the Shock Jocks are all too puerile to deserve my attention. The FCC made a cottage industry out of fining the folks who employed Howard Stern; I’d just as soon see the law enforced, and repeated violations dealt with appropriately.

I’m no prude. I’m not going for an equal-time doctrine. I’m no communist. I understand that business is a large part of show-business. I just think that money is only a part of the equation, and profit does not define what is right and wrong in terms of content.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 24, 2007 5:22 PM
Comment #223989


i like these better


you obviously don’t like rush, so why would you care if he lied or not ? i googled and found quite a few things. the problem is, i still agree with most of his political leanings. i’m sure some of those statements were taken out of context, some were made out of ignorance, and some were arrogant rants. the problem is i don’t care. his show is entertaining, and i’m smart enough to pick and choose what to take seriously, and what not to. if i were to google lies told by the left, i’de probably get numerous hits, but i don’t care it’s a waste of time, and deffinitely a waste of time to be angry over. start your own radio show and say whatever you choose, i’m not going to get upset over it, or try to shut you up, and if your entertaining enough, i might even listen regularly. lifes to short to be bitter and angry, not to mention it doesn’t sell.

this is a good one too.


are you angry yet ?

Posted by: dbs at June 24, 2007 5:51 PM
Comment #223991
How about some qoutes from Roger Baldwin founder aclu

How about those quotes? Are they at all relevant? Those quotes are over 80 years old, and Socialism was later denounced by the ACLU leadership, including Baldwin.

If you’re going to rely on guilt by association of 80 year-old quotes, would you call my wife a Nazi because she owns a Volkswagen?

Most every case taken by the aclu has an obvious (usually), or harder to see … socialist agenda.

Not at all. Socialism is an economic theory. The cases that the ACLU takes on are very rarely economic in nature. If you think you’re right about this, please explain how supporting the right to perform baptisms in parks or working with Jerry Falwell to make sure that churches can incorporate is about socialism.

I think the truth is that you really don’t know what the ACLU does, and you really don’t know what socialism is. If you really think defending the American Constitution is a Socialist endeavor, then I can say that I’m sure you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Is it un-pc now to call a liberal a liberal?

You said socialist, not liberal. They are two different things.

It’s not that taking a pro-American constitution group which is sometimes liberal and sometimes conservative (depending on the issue, as Gerrold showed) and calling them Socialist is un-pc. It’s that it’s just inaccurate to the core.

Posted by: LawnBoy at June 24, 2007 6:36 PM
Comment #223992


“First, the law is quite clear: broadcasting is a privilege, not a right. A license is required to use that spectrum. A license to broadcast should not be a license to shut out other political views”

yes, it’s an expensive one. when the gov’t starts picking up the tab to cover the broadcasters operating cost, you’ll then have a point. until then they can broadcast whatever they want, so long as it’s not obscene. you have no right to equal air time on a privately operated for profit radio station unless you want to pay for the air time.

“profit does not define what is right and wrong in terms of content”

no it defines what does or doesn’t succeed in the market place. any radio show that allows one candidate on the program to campaign, is by law obligated to the give the opposing candidate equal time, that being said, talk radio is an entertainment forum where hosts talk politics and express thier own oppinions. this does not fall into the same category. gerrold was also correct when he stated that in this day and age, with all the different avenues available for comunicating points of view, to be pissed off about talk radio makes no sense, and is a bogus argument.

the left no longer holds a monopoly on the movement of views and ideas in the media, and never will again, a fact they still can’t cope with, unless they are successful in regulating away freedom of speech on the internet, cable, satellite, radio, and other forms of communication.

answer me this- why are there no successful liberal talk radio programs that are not subsidised by public $ ?

Posted by: dbs at June 24, 2007 6:38 PM
Comment #223996

Socialism is an economic theory. Thats awfully narrow.
“It is upon the law that socialism relies. Socialist desire to use legal plunder, not illegal plunder. Socialist, like all other monopolists, desire to make the law their weapon. And once the law is on the side of socialism, it cannot be used against socialism. When plunder is abetted by the law, it does not fear your courts, police or your prisons. Rather, it would call upon them for help.”
The Law, Frederick Bastiat

And liberal and socialist are broadly similar. Anyway, does the aclu publish their donor list? If so we can follow the money and see how middle of the road politically they are.

Posted by: andy at June 24, 2007 7:55 PM
Comment #223997


So when I criticize you for using 80-year old quotes, you defend yourself with a quote from someone who has been dead since 1850.

Let me know when reality or relevance enters the conversation.

Posted by: LawnBoy at June 24, 2007 8:09 PM
Comment #223998
Socialism is an economic theory. Thats awfully narrow.

That was my point. Thanks for explaining why your description of the ACLU is inaccurate.

Posted by: LawnBoy at June 24, 2007 8:13 PM
Comment #223999


It doesn’t matter if you support the organization or not. If you are ever subjected to an illegal search and seizure, the local ACLU chapter will try to help you out. I’ve been a card-carrying member for years, and proud of it. That certainly doesn’t mean I agree with every ACLU position.

It is true that many conservatives hate the ACLU. Many conservatives want the state to promote their religious beliefs; many conservatives have no problem with warrantless wiretapping. But you might find it interesting to know that many conservatives joined the ACLU in recent years over concern about certain Patriot Act provisions.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 24, 2007 8:32 PM
Comment #224000

OK Lawnboy give me a some time to work the phones. I’ll try and get you a quote hot off the presses.
Wait going thru the phone book and I’m getting word that John Aaron at 7:37 p.m. has indeed agreed with me. I admit he is no expert but it is a newer opinion which means better.

Posted by: andy at June 24, 2007 8:40 PM
Comment #224001


not to provoke an argument, but what do you think about the aclu not objecting to public funds being used to erect a foot bath for muslim students, to be used before prayer. if it was a christian prayer group, i’ll bet there’d be a lawsuit. just curious what your take is.

Posted by: dbs at June 24, 2007 8:43 PM
Comment #224002


Congrats that you found someone that agreed with you. Again, let me know when reality or relevance enters the conversation.

You’ve stated a position, and your only support are ancient opinions. Current facts have been presented that counter your specious claim. Can you step up?

I didn’t think so.

Posted by: LawnBoy at June 24, 2007 8:52 PM
Comment #224003


If it isn’t being erected on public property what’s the big deal?

Posted by: Rocky at June 24, 2007 8:53 PM
Comment #224004


“How about those quotes? Are they at all relevant? Those quotes are over 80 years old, and Socialism was later denounced by the ACLU leadership, including Baldwin.”

i’m sure they were genuine when they denounced it, and of course the political views of the founder are completely irrelevant. founded by a socialist, but it has no affect on thier policy today. nice try.and the best you can do is insult andy for his sources. founder was a socialist, sounds like a pretty reasonable argument to me.

Posted by: dbs at June 24, 2007 8:58 PM
Comment #224005


Does that mean that anyone that supports the ACLU is a socialist, or that supporting the Constitution is a “Socialist” act?
Somehow I don’t think so.

Posted by: Rocky at June 24, 2007 9:03 PM
Comment #224006


The only evidence he has presented on his side are 80-year-old quotes from the founders. On the other side, I’ve shown that socialism, by its definition, is completely irrelevant to the cases they take on (that’s a lot better than only insulting his sources).

If you and he really think that the statements of founders from 80 years ago is relevant today, then explain to me why that same logic does not mean that my wife is a Nazi because she owns a Volkswagen, a car made by the company that was founded by Hitler.

Of course, that’s ridiculous, but so is andy’s claim.

Posted by: LawnBoy at June 24, 2007 9:07 PM
Comment #224007


It’s interesting question, and I’m not going to give a knee-jerk response to it. The question is, can a university install facilities that would primarily be used by one religious group? I think the answer is “yes” if the reason is for a legitimate purpose that does not promote one religion over another. In this case, the university noticed that many students were using sinks to wash their feet. Other students, understandably, didn’t like that. So the university’s solution is to install foot baths that anyone could use. I don’t have a problem with that, and as you noted, the local ACLU decided not to get involved. If I were a student there, I’d probably be grateful for obvious reasons.

If you are a taxpayer involved and you disagree, then of course you can protest. (You can protest anyway). An action by a college doesn’t have to be illegal for it to warrant protest.

Now, let’s think about this in another way. If there is a non-religious public interest to be served, can a religious group get services paid for by the state? Well, at the local university here, big religious groups can use the stadium. That is no problem because any group that can cough up the money can use the stadium. But because of the large influx of people and congested traffic, the city calls many off-duty police officers in to handle the crowd. The religious groups do not have to pay for that because the city is serving a legitimate, non-religious interest in performing crowd control.

Now, if the university with the footbath issue wanted to pay for a Mosque or something, then of course that’s out of bounds.


I have to note that when I Googled for the details of this particular case, I came across a great number of hateful and xenophobic comments. That’s the blog-o-sphere for you, and one reason why I like Watchblog — perhaps because it has readers from across the political spectrum the rhetoric here isn’t quite as shrill.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 24, 2007 9:41 PM
Comment #224008


whats ridiculous is your comparison between an automobile mfg., and a legal organization that brings lawsuits based on political beliefs. last i checked volkswagen wasn’t in the business of trying affect public policy by filling frivolous lawsuits.

while they have taken some cases that seemed noble. illegal search and siezure and such, the majority of the cases i’m familiar with always seem to be about stifling someones religious speech or displays. i believe they also defended NAMBLA, at one time.


“Does that mean that anyone that supports the ACLU is a socialist,”

don’t know of any on the right that supports them, don’t know that i’de go that far thuogh.

“or that supporting the Constitution is a “Socialist” act?”

i don’t agree with thier interpretation of the const. in many cases. they seem to have an SP agenda. whether that’s socialist or not i’ll leave up to you. i believe it is.

Posted by: dbs at June 24, 2007 9:50 PM
Comment #224009

Lawnboy let me start this post with a little quote from Confucius. Not really.

I don’t know if your wife is a nazi but it’s a free country.

You said that Socialism is an economic theory only. That discounts all other aspects of socialism like how you get there. I gave a quote that I like to illustrate that and it was deemed too old. You don’t think there are people alive today that would endorse it? I don’t think it could be simpler than just following the money, who are the big donors?

Anyway I was halfway thru the phone book and some Micheal Moore fellow gave me an earful. He was especially proud of this recent aclu decision http://www.townhall.com/columnists/AlanSears/2007/06/16/the_aclu_never_forgets_its_pro-communist_roots.

Posted by: andy at June 24, 2007 9:51 PM
Comment #224011

dbs and andy,

The ACLU’s position on religion frequently seems to be misunderstood. Please read the following:


Posted by: Gerrold at June 24, 2007 9:58 PM
Comment #224013
last i checked volkswagen wasn’t in the business of trying affect public policy by filling frivolous lawsuits.

So what? The bad logic applies just the same.

And defending the Constitution isn’t frivolous.

seem to be about stifling someones religious speech or displays.

I already gave a couple of strong counterexamples. How about when they fought to keep a church from being closed? Or when they protected a Native American’s right to practice his religion in jail?

There are lots more examples, but I’m limited on the number of links I can provide.

Basically, there’s the reality of what they do, and then there’s your mistaken impression. That you don’t know what they actually do doesn’t make them Socialist.

don’t know of any on the right that supports them

How about former Congressman Bob Barr, one of the leaders of the Clinton impeachment? He said working with the ACLU isn’t that odd:

We have actually worked very closely with conservative groups and with the ACLU on a number of issues over the last few years, very successfully in stopping some of the government snooping programs.

And what’s an “SP agenda”?


You made a claim without a bit of relevant evidence, and relevant counter-examples were given. Alan Sears’ article isn’t any more relevant or factual than your claims.

That someone, somewhere believes something false doesn’t make the belief any less false. Otherwise, the Holocaust, the moon landings, and Evolution would actually be in doubt.

I gave a quote that I like to illustrate that and it was deemed too old

Yes, because I thought it was completely irrelevant. However, if you think it was relevant, or if you think that ACLU’s cases support your claims, then make your case. But just throwing around the word “Socialism” without showing you know what it means, throwing out obsolete comments from people who have been dead for decades, and claiming that cases support your claim without showing examples means that you have really no argument at all.

Posted by: LawnBoy at June 24, 2007 10:23 PM
Comment #224014


i hadn’t been aware students had been washing thier feet in the sinks. obviously there was an issue there. that was the first i’de heard about it. thankyou for thoughtful response. not sure how i would come down on this one. it would probably depend on previous decisions made by the school on similar issues. i guess consistency is what i would look for.

Posted by: dbs at June 24, 2007 10:36 PM
Comment #224015


“And what’s an “SP agenda”?”

secular progressive.

Posted by: dbs at June 24, 2007 10:52 PM
Comment #224019

“Lieing to prove a point should not be tolerated by any audience.”

Bill, if you wish to restrict or remove everyone who lies or twists certain information, you would have to restrict and remove every mainstream media network in existence. And just who is going to determine who is lying and telling the truth? Which one of you libs know all truth so that you can monitor when an actual misinformative statement is made, such as the Democrats have ordained Media Matters and Democracy Radio and their constituents and supporters as so-called experts on the subject? I guess Media Matters and Democracy Radio are going to be the Media-contolling and monitoring Halliburton’s of talk radio for the Democratic Congress, since those are the only sources of information the Democrats give for re-implementing the Fairness Doctrine.


Posted by: JD at June 24, 2007 11:38 PM
Comment #224021

You can’t have two different towers broadcasting at the same or similar frequencies without each one of them interfering with the other.

The frequency is otherwise free. You could broadcast on any of the other frequencies if you wanted to. You would just need the electronics to do so. Government regulations are necessary here to keep the frequencies useable, because of the interference that would otherwise result.

This is a government enforced monopoly, not unlike patents, copyrights, and trademarks. Without it, there wouldn’t be much money in broadcasting, would there? No use transmitting if some other jerk interferes with you, any more than it’s worth it to invent when somebody can copy you wholesale, write when somebody could plagiarize with impunity, or use your logo and artwork for their own company without asking.

The Government defines, from the very start what the rights are of a person who is licensed that spectrum. That’s the very reason for the FCC’s existence. That’s what it regulates.

If it sounds like I’m rather insistent about this, it’s because this is what I was taught in a Radio-TV-Film Curriculum. Go and look at the law for yourself.

Talk Radio as an entertainment forum. That raises some interesting questions, you know.

If you want honest, expert opinion on this matter, it’s that you venture into mixing entertainment with other fields at your own risk.

You need to understand the difference between meaning and truth, if you wish to understand the problem inherent in that approach. Things can be meaningful, compelling, and quite convincing without having a shred of truth to them. That is what years of observing the entertainment industry has taught me. Now truth can be the source of the convincing, the compelling, and the meaningful, but people can still bullshit their way into looking plausible.

So when you talk about Talk Radio being an Entertainment Forum, forgive me if I think you’re retreating into an arena where Bullshit reigns much more supreme.

Because people pay good money for entertainment, even the most implausible horse hockey imaginable, why is so far-fetched to believe that not every highly rated show gains its ratings because of some inherent goodness?

If you want to go further into the realm of implausibility, please repeat your claim that in these “entertainment forums”, the hosts just happen to talk politics.

Or perhaps you could tell me that a talk radio station manager couldn’t slant their station regardless of what the market would want by itself.

I disagree with Gerrold on the issue he brings up, because my concern is not the question of whether there are enough voices out there, but instead whether people have enough access to what is in fact their common resource.

The Marketplace has become the excuse for almost any variety of behavior with a sustainable business strategy. It’s become a tautology, a circular argument of justification. You justify the practices of those who own stations on the basis that they have the money to own stations. What I think you fail to consider here is that the airwaves are not purchased, only licensed.

When somebody licenses a technology, or a piece of software, they license the right to use it, but retain their ownership. You don’t own what you install on your computer. You own a license to that program. You can use it as the license allows you, but no other way.

These people believe that their license entitles them to slant their programming to the far right, and ignore the interests of the community that surrounds them, the opinions of those who don’t have the money to own a station.

As for the left’s monopoly on the movement of views and ideas in the media, your phrasing “no longer holds” makes no sense. We never did have that kind of control. It’s convenient to invoke the specter of an evil left out to abolish the right, but like I said before, a person can say something that seems plausible and meaningful without actually being so.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 25, 2007 12:49 AM
Comment #224029

Stephen D.,

As always, you make a good and serious case. The scarcity model, which you wisely don’t employ, was one of the main justifications of government regulation of broadcast media (this justification never did make much sense — even decades ago many cities did not have more than one or two newspapers, but thankfully the First Amendment made clear that regulation of print media was a no-no). Instead you rely on the idea that the airwaves are a public resource. That’s an interesting notion that does not necessarily follow from the reality that the number of broadcasters need to be limited in order to keep the available frequencies usable.

Essentially your argument is that because licensee restrictions override Constitutional protections that the Constitutional protections are no longer worthy and that the public interest must be served. I disagree with that on a couple of levels. First, as I’ve said before, I want the spirit of the First Amendment to prevail even if the letter has been found not to apply. The Founding Fathers expressly forbade the government to interfere with the freedom of the press for a reason. Second, we need to be careful about the public interest. Who decides that? I say the public should, and the public decides what it wants to watch or listen to. You and I might believe, and we might be right in believing, that we could through regulation force broadcasters to provide better political content, but that would simply be us speaking for what we believe the public should want. The public already has the means of making its own choices. Look, radio imo is slanted to the right, but that’s just my opinion. I really don’t want the government deciding what is politically slanted and what is not (I realize the Fairness Doctrine had specific guidelines that developed over the years, but I’m speaking abstractly.) I choose to listen to radio that is not slanted or I choose other media.

Now, all broadcasters have to engage in some public service, and to the extent that it’s policially neutral, I have no problem with that. (I’m speaking of emergency warnings and the like.)

Interestingly, it is not clear at all the ACLU would support a new Fairness Doctrine. The current president is on record expressing serious doubts about it.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 25, 2007 10:39 AM
Comment #224032
Is it un-pc now to call a liberal a liberal?

Nope. It’s a compliment.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 25, 2007 10:54 AM
Comment #224037


you seem to sidestep every point i have made. it cost $ to run a radio station, regaurdless of weather the frequencies are licensed or not, and limited. if you have a radio show people want to listen to, there are no shortage broadcasters looking for another popular show to fill a paticular time slot. popular shows bring advertising revenue, sponsors want as many people as possible to hear thier pitch. find a format for liberal talk radio that works, and you will find no shortage of stations willing to air it. otherwise we can sum up all of your protesting of rightwing talk radio to one big tamtrum, IT’S NOT FAIR ! give me an example of a successful liberal talk radio program not subsidized by gov’t $. otherwise you still have NPR, and many college stations to broadcast your views.

Posted by: dbs at June 25, 2007 11:51 AM
Comment #224042


Talk radio, has been around since the 20’s.

Confrontational talk radio made it’s debut with Joe Pyne in the 60’s.


“Pyne was confrontational with guests on his show and often attempted to throw them off-balance by opening the conversation with an insult. One occasion when this backfired was when he began a dialogue with Frank Zappa by saying, “So I guess your long hair makes you a woman.” Zappa responded with “So I guess your wooden leg makes you a table.’”

Now however, virtually all of the frequencies, both AM and FM, are “owned” by a few corporations, and those corporations have an overwhelmingly conservative bent.

The problem that I have with the Limbaugh’s, and the Hannity’s of talk radio is they sell their opinions as truth, and it seems their buying public isn’t particularly discriminating in their purchases.
For instance, Rush, the drug addict, rails about the weakness of those that do drugs.
These guys don’t seem to want to challenge their listeners with anything that would take them out of their comfort zone (ie. the truth).

Perhaps we should apply the “truth in advertising” laws to these guys instead of the “fairness” doctrine.

Posted by: Rocky at June 25, 2007 12:32 PM
Comment #224068

This is just another useless and potentially harmful regulation.
The job of the government is to make sure stations don’t overlap. That’s the point of the licenses. That’s pretty much all they should be doing.

The government shouldn’t interfere with what is broadcast for the same reasons it shouldn’t be allowed to interfere with the internet (which is where a lot of this kind of programming is going to end up anyway).

In these enlightened times, we know that so-called “obscenity” doesn’t really exist. Words don’t really hurt people, nipples don’t really hurt people. Hell, even seeing a vagina won’t hurt you! Is the government simply old-fashioned? Of course not. They just need excuses to levy fines.
In the end, that’s what the Fairness Doctrine will end up being used for.

Posted by: TheTraveler at June 25, 2007 4:15 PM
Comment #224074

No matter how many other avenues there are for other voices to be heard, The airwaves belong to all of us and should be treated as such. The scarcity of the airwaves, and the financial pressures imposed by the needs of running a station only make the need all the more urgent.

While the internet, cable, and satellite television have opened up the variety of voices available, compared to the old days of broadcast alone, broadcasting remains the one medium where there is no cost to tune in besides the antenna and the appliance. Otherwise, you pay for hearing more voices.

Another thing to keep in mind here is what the fairness doctrine actually meant. Government did not decide what views were neglected, viewers themselves did. Equal time was not a requirement, though roughly the same audience was expected of one for the other.

In the end, it just meant that somebody couldn’t simply monopolize a station with one political point of view. The power of broadcasting has diminished, but local stations remain among the most watched stations on television, and because of regulations, their content ends up on pay cable and satellite broadcasts.

One way or another, the question is this: Should those corporations or individuals (more one than the other, thanks to other changes in regulations) be able to monopolize a public resource for their own gain and influence?

The money and power it takes to run a station make the problem all the more urgent. Broadcasting still gives people a lot of power as gatekeepers. It’s a real question as to whether the rest of us should be shut out from other views and dissenting information by broadcasters, simply because they don’t like one political party or another. It’s our airwaves, they’re just licensing them from us. Should they not have just a bit more respect for our views than that?

Consider this: As long as production and syndications costs remain low enough, or broadcasters are willing to lose a certain amount of money, the market will allow conservative talk radio to continue its existence. It doesn’t have to be wildly popular, any more than some direct to video cheapies have to be. It doesn’t even have to be

I’ve seen ratings for shows like Rush’s. He gets about 13 million. This out of a country of more than 300 million. He’s the leader. Others get much fewer viewers. AM Radio is not a growing medium. If you want a real reason as to why Air America is having trouble, it’s not because liberalism itself is struggling, It’s because AM Radio is not very market-friendly itself, especially if you’re looking to draw in younger listeners. The main audience for the new movement liberals just isn’t there for talk radio. Just look at the internet, though, and you’ll see that Liberalism is by no means at a market handicap.

I would also say this: talk radio is a minor issue here. The folks who would constitute the best target for this are the local TV broadcasters. Fairness Doctrine issues deal with complaints from locals. The quick and easy way to avoid this kind of issue is simply to program some liberal material as well as some conservative, or to remain neutral as to programming content, rather than pushing an agenda. It’s important to point out that the Fairness doctrine does not prevent conservative voices from being heard. It only requires that broadcaster not stack the deck.

It’s also not about denying them their profits. Given the choice between an unpopular liberal radio program and a popular one, I would not, on principle, begrudge the broadcaster the opportunity to run the more popular one. They could also have both views on at the same time, an approach that proved popular with Politically Incorrect on television.

What Republicans are complaining about would be their inability to monopolize spectrum space, to cut out liberals entirely. For some odd reason, I find myself unsympathetic to such a plight.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 25, 2007 4:50 PM
Comment #224077

“I’ve seen ratings for shows like Rush’s. He gets about 13 million. This out of a country of more than 300 million. He’s the leader. Others get much fewer viewers. AM Radio is not a growing medium.”

13.5 million is the minimum estimate. Others who get fewer are Hannity at 12.5 and Savage 8.5.
I think the biggest tv spectacle this year was the Sopranos finale, a one time deal, it was watched by 11.9. The biggest thing every year is the superbowl usually around 60-100, but if it was played 5 days a week 52 weeks a year I’m sure it would lose it’s luster. I’m just saying the ratings are anything but insignificant.

Posted by: andy at June 25, 2007 5:50 PM
Comment #224083

Stephen D.,

Your comments about the Right make me think that you may be taking too partisan a view. It is true that the Right dominates the radio waves, but that’s not a given for the future. Regardless, after the Fairness Doctrine went down in flames, we saw an explosion of political content. It’s not unreasonable to assume that if it’s re-established that we would have less political content. Now, from a partisan point of view, less Right-wing politics being broadcast might be a good thing, but I think we need to take a larger view. Left radio is struggling to compete, but that’s not because of any institutional barriers particular to Left commentary. Let’s be clear here: the Fairness Doctrine would force a broadcaster to air content it does not want to air. Instead of the Left competing in the marketplace, so to speak, it would attempt to level the field through governmental force.

The SC upheld the doctrine in 1969 but warned then that if it ever restrained speech, the issue should be reconsidered. In 1974, though not ruling the doctrine unConstitutional, the SC said it does have a chilling effect on the “vigor” and “variety” of debate. In 1984, the SC said the scarcity rationale was flawed. That gave the FCC the rationale to stop enforcing the doctrine. As you know, the FCC can began enforcing it again without executive or legislative action.

Here’s a take on the issue from the Cato Institute:

But the notion that the threat of regulation will encourage a greater diversity of viewpoints has been flatly contradicted by the facts. After decades of academic and judicial scrutiny, it was revealed that instead of expanding the range of viewpoints on the airwaves, the Fairness Doctrine had a chilling effect on free speech. With the threat of potential FCC retaliation hanging over their necks, most broadcasters were more reluctant to air controversial opinions because it might require them to air alternative perspectives that their audience did not want to hear. Alternatively, they feared they would not be able to air enough, or the right type of, responses to make regulators happy. Consequently, the Fairness Doctrine actually stifled the growth of disseminating views and, in effect, made free speech less free. As the FCC noted in repealing the doctrine in 1987, it “had the net effect of reducing, rather than enhancing, the discussion of controversial issues of public importance.”

More disturbingly, the Fairness Doctrine was used by public officials to threaten suppression of political opposition. Communications scholar Thomas Hazlett has noted that under the Nixon administration, “License harassment of stations considered unfriendly to the administration became a regular item on the agenda at White House policy meetings,” and that “in an attempt to affect network programming, administration staffers used threats of Fairness Doctrine challenges in meetings and phone calls with top [network] executives.” There is also evidence that the Kennedy administration used the Fairness Doctrine to intimidate opponents.

You’ve mentioned that you studied RTF in college; my undergraduate degree was in print journalism. Perhaps because of that I give almost sacramental value to freedom of the press. IF there were a scarity of outlets, THEN I might grudgingly support the Fairness Doctrine. But without that sort of overwhelming urgency, my position is that we follow the spirit of the First Amendment.

I don’t have an unhealthy distrust of government, I think, but I am wary because government by its nature has impulses to control information. I’m not saying in practical terms that a re-establsihed Fairness Doctrine would in itself be terrible; I think it would diminish political content being broadcast but there are many other media and it’s also possible the remaining broadcast content might be better. I just think without overwhelming need, we need to fight to keep government out of the business of regulating political content.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 25, 2007 7:38 PM
Comment #224084


“Now however, virtually all of the frequencies, both AM and FM, are “owned” by a few corporations, and those corporations have an overwhelmingly conservative bent.”

i don’t agree with this statement. owners of broadcast networks like anyone have political leanings, but they’re business men first. if this wasn’t the case we wouldn’t ever have to argue about whether corproations care only about anything but thier bottom line. if a liberal show can draw an audience they’ll run it, it’s that simple.

“The problem that I have with the Limbaugh’s, and the Hannity’s of talk radio is they sell their opinions as truth, and it seems their buying public isn’t particularly discriminating in their purchases.
For instance, Rush, the drug addict, rails about the weakness of those that do drugs.
These guys don’t seem to want to challenge their listeners with anything that would take them out of their comfort zone (ie. the truth).”

so you feel that these idiots who listen to them need to be protected from thier own stupidity, is that what your saying ? these pundits are conservatives, i wouldn’t expect you to believe most of what they say, just as i question the statements of liberal pundits that i don’t agree with. they IMO tell lies sometimes, but i don’t care, i’m smart enough to see through the BS. i don’t feel the need to be protected.

“Perhaps we should apply the “truth in advertising” laws to these guys instead of the “fairness” doctrine.”

perhaps we should apply it to all the news shows too. but then we’d be left with nothing to watch. this is nothing more than the left trying to quash speech they don’t like.

Posted by: dbs at June 25, 2007 7:45 PM
Comment #224086

dbs et al
Come on. The guy is a lier. Maybe he is not the best r-wing talk show host.I would not know,I hope you can do better. Trouble is,and it lends fuel to the fire,that people sometimes base their politics on what he says. His politics he is intitled too but his “facts” are a different story. Its like a quack doctor making things up as he goes along. Should he be allowed to continue?Public policy is important stuff. Taking Rush seriously is like considering the WWf as a sport. There are indeed some very credible conservative commentators but that might not be as entertaining I suppose.Lets see,Charles Krauthiem is one.Lets get real in policy discussions. Again this is important stuff.

Posted by: BillS at June 25, 2007 8:59 PM
Comment #224088

BillS, yeah when I was looking up ratings I saw William Bennet’s got a talk show. I really do wish he was in my market.

Posted by: andy at June 25, 2007 9:26 PM
Comment #224093


“Come on. The guy is a lier. Maybe he is not the best r-wing talk show host.I would not know,I hope you can do better. Trouble is,and it lends fuel to the fire,that people sometimes base their politics on “

you said you don’t know. do you listen to rush ? you say he’s a liar. you’re right about him being a talk show host. it scares you people might take him seriously. al gore is a liar. he was the vice pres. people take him seriously. he was almost the pres., that should scare you even more.

Posted by: dbs at June 25, 2007 10:14 PM
Comment #224095


find out what station he’s on, and go to thier web site. most big stations give you an option to listen live over the internet. of course if you work, and don’t have a computer handy, this won’t be an option. in that case as ms emily latella would say, ” NEVER MIND “.

Posted by: dbs at June 25, 2007 11:05 PM
Comment #224097

dbs….I’m not sure what relevance a 30 year old quote from a character that died some 10 years ago…kidding.
But no good idea, I mostly work at home so I will see what I can find tomorrow. I love him, got a picture of him shaking my hand.

Posted by: andy at June 25, 2007 11:32 PM
Comment #224098

Stephen D -

With the “Fairness Doctrine” you could not write such patently liberal views here without “balancing” them with equally conservative views. That would that be “fair”. After all, that’s what you now insist others do.

However, fairness is not only a political tool; it is also a economic tool. The “Fairness Doctrine” is a tool to steal money from owners of radio stations who program conservative shows in order to promote liberal purposes.

It is also a religious tool to prevent people with religious beliefs from confronting evils based upon their faith (unless they also allow the spokemen for the evil to also give their point of view).

The “Fairness Doctrine” is simply a way to punish and impede those who have a non-liberal view of things. It is not truly fair. It is not good doctrine. It is only liberal.

Posted by: Don at June 25, 2007 11:33 PM
Comment #224102

I’ve been hearing the cons diseminate the misinformation regarding PBS being a liberal outlet. Other than being by far the most comprehensive and professional outlet in both TV and Radio it is not liberal leaning. It consistantly gives at least both sides to a story which is just the opposite of the Faux network. A few years back the Repubs and Cons tried to get rid of CPB with this falshood of a claim. They even put a Repub/Con in charge to ferret out the liberal bent and finally determined they were full of… welll what we liberals knew they were full of all along. They then embarrassed themselves debating the issue with a defender of PBS. Its been a few years and I forget the names but look it up on the internet.

Posted by: j2t2 at June 26, 2007 1:13 AM
Comment #224119


While I am opposed to re-establishing the Fairness Doctrine, I don’t think you understand what it’s about. First off, it wouldn’t apply here on Watchblog, which is not broadcast. Second, views already are balanced on Watchblog by its very nature; each invidual poster wouldn’t be required to incorporate opposing views in his or her own articles. Third, much of the Right favored the doctrine when it was in place; they used it to attack what they perceived as liberal bias. Fourth, much of Right-wing radio is trash — it’s loaded with inaccuracies and disinformation. That’s not in serious dispute. It is a national disgrace, and not because it’s conservative, but because it’s trash. I differ from some in that I think under the spirit of the First Amendment we shouldn’t use government to try to improve the situation. Freedom of speech and of the press is the holiest of holies.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 26, 2007 10:37 AM
Comment #224126

First, HBO is premium package television, something you have to pay extra to your cable or satellite company to get.

Second, The number for the Sopranos represents one episode’s worth of audience, while Rush’s 13.5 million represents all his individual listeners for the entire week. That’s not bad, in comparison with everybody else, but many network shows get that size audience for one sitting without a problem.

Are you talking about “inventing the internet”? The only lie there was that he ever said he did. He said he helped to create it, and since he worked on the legislation that helped commercialize the internet, and has had it as a cause for some time, what he said was no lie.

If you want to know what false things Rush has said, let’s start with Katrina. There are quite a number of whoppers there. Then there’s that one about the Shuttle Tile and Freon. And of course, then there’s his expert medical opinion on Michael J. Fox’s jerky movements, which he respectfully and sensitively re-enacted on his radio show.

Those are just a few examples. The guy lives in his own little world, and doesn’t feel it necessary to deal with the facts. Rush’s nightmare is that somebody might be able to challenge his facts on the same station his listeners tune into, that he won’t have the stage all to himself to keep his audience untouched by other points of view.

Just think about it for a moment: there are stations running nothing but Right-Wing Talk Show hosts in the archetypal centers of liberalism, like San Francisco and New York. These places aren’t all liberal, but if the market was the sole determinant there, wouldn’t liberal talk radio hosts abound? As Gatekeepers, broadcasters have the means to shut out views that disagree with theirs.

The Fairness Doctrine only requires that countervailing views have some representation. That can be in debate forums, in programming from the other side of the political spectrum, or whatever. Simply put, though, the owners of these stations would not have to kick Rush off, just end the practices of exclusively programming people like Rush on the political side of things.

The rationale behind it’s non-enforcement was that it was not literally encoded in legislation, which some Right-wing judges used as an excuse to say that it could not be enforced without further legislation. They never said that it was unconstitutional, or necessarily an abridgment of speech, because those who run the stations run it under a license given to them by the public, which requires them to uphold certain obligations whether they want to or not.

News is one example. Broadcasters don’t carve out time from their programming days for this stuff just for their health. It’s part of their obligation. Emergency information is another part of their obligation. Adherence to decency regulations is another.

The Fairness Doctrine is such an obligation. The important part to remember is that the FCC is not the originator of the complaint. It does not decide when to step in. It responds to complaints to the station by viewers and listeners who feel that their political views are not being represented. If the Station can demonstrate they’ve already given enough representation, they don’t have to do anything more.

The point is not to counter any market bias against Liberals, but instead, the bias of the broadcaster bias against them. How can you call a broadcaster’s exclusion of different points of view from their own free speech? It’s no different than coal companies banning union representatives from company towns, or any other suppression of free speech justified on property rights. Only here, even worse, the property we’re talking about is the public airwaves. They are taking our airwaves and shutting us out of them without even a whisper of our point of view.

I think that’s made things considerably more partisan in this country than it should be. When nobody has to worry about being challenged on their facts and on their claims, then they will become careless and even uncaring about the truth of what they say. People will have less exposure to the real points of view of the other side, and therefore more easily accept a flawed, cariactured portrait of the political opposition.

To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t mind if the political content was toned down a little bit, if what we mean by political is the partisan stuff. I think those trying to keep with the fairness doctrine might return to reporting hard facts, which have no political affiliation, rather than accepting party lines. America needs a rest from hyperpartisanship. Government already regulates television content. The real question is whether it regulates it well, and in the interests of the public. It is not in the interests of the public to be given just the Republican’s or the Democrat’s side of things, according to the broadcaster’s bias.

The Fairness doctrine does not apply to my writings here, as I am not a broadcaster. Even so, I do not shrink from the company of those who do not share my political viewpoint. Even if it did, it would only require that an opportunity be given to members of the community to comment in their turn, and you’ve certainly never been denied that opportunity on one of my blog entries.

The Fairness Doctrine does not steal money. They need not program stuff that doesn’t make sufficient money. Hell, they don’t even have to give equal time. Give a few minute to some guy who wants to rebut Rush on a point. You don’t have to give him a show of his own.

As for religious issues? I don’t see how they enter into things, until you get around to discussing politics. In that case, though, the only difference would be that somebedy else might get the chance to express their opinion about what evils must be confronted.

The trouble here is that you’re defining freedom of speech as the exclusive freedom to program the use of the public airwaves as the broadcaster sees fit. Never mind that they are not his or hers alone, and that only because of a license this person got from our democratically elected government are they allowed to broadcast at all.

I believe that if things are done right, it should be difficult to determine the ideological slanter of the station owner, left or right. They have every right to make money and profit by their operation of the station. They should just find a way to do that better represents the community and its interests. It’s the community’s airwaves after all. Whatever happened to their rights to their resource?

The licensee model, with its combination of regulations and market economics can allow the best of both worlds. However, the interests of the licensee alone should not dominate what is a public resource.

Which brings me to this. If the fairness doctrine was such an impediment to public affairs and political discussion, how do folks explain this:

According to a study by the Benton Foundation, over 1973-79 when the doctrine was in effect, local public affairs made up an average of 4.6 percent of all programming. Since dropping the Fairness Doctrine, only 0.3 percent of total programming qualifies as public affairs, 1.06 percent even if you include all local newscasts.

We can argue about whether it’s necessary for television stations to act in the public’s interest so much, since other resources now exist to supplement the public’s interests. However, given the nature of what the Broadcasters are handed with their license, the uniquely public nature of both the medium and the message sent out provided free of charge to just about everybody in the area, it’s only right that the public’s interest figure highly in the broadcaster’s priorities, even if there are other avenues available now.

Although many argue that the comparative reduction in scarcity of media voices means that Broadcasters should be relieved of such obligations, I believe that there is an argument for the exact opposite position. Why do any of these people have to bother with radio or broadcast television? Hell, take note: FOX News is a Cable Station. So is Free Speech Television, a rather left-wing enterprise even from my perspective. Failing Cable or Satellite, there’s always the internet. With new software, you can set up your own podcasts. Those who can afford to run a station can undoubtedly afford the software to run an internet podcast, or a cable/satellite network.

With Digital standards going up, folks will be able to stuff multiple sub-channels into one channel; those of you with digital televisions probably already enjoy this use.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. If the average person is no longer so inhibited in the expression of their viewpoint, what restrictions are there on a person or corporation able to afford a station of their own?

The Public airwaves still belong to all of us, and should be treated accordingly. There are advantages to broadcasting, to say the least, and those should not be underestimated, but those advantages come from the open and common nature of the medium. Now, we could treat that medium as if it were just something to be freely used by those able to afford the technology to broadcast, but then, it could not be used properly in a practical, much less commercial, capacity.

Because of that, we deny the right to broadcast in those bands to most Americans. I think that is very crucial to understand: to make this medium practically and commercially viable, we deny the average citizen their right to freely use their own airwaves. This denial is in the public interests, but it nonetheless represents the government handing their resource to the broadcaster.

With the rise of alternative media, members of the public do have alternatives to broadcast television, especially now with the internet. That said, the availability of an alternative should not be grounds to deny people what is rightfully theirs. That’s nothing more than a media version of the Kelo Decision, where the property rights of the many are abrogated by the government on behalf of the few who are rich and powerful. You could say that people are being provided other media to use, but that’s not the point: this media is theirs, and that ownership should be respected, not handed in cavilier fashion to the powerful and influential elite.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 26, 2007 12:32 PM
Comment #224130


did you read more than one entry on that list. if so than your saying that list is a lie ? you’ll also notice gore has contradicted himself on many occassions.

“then there’s his expert medical opinion on Michael J. Fox’s jerky movements, which he respectfully and sensitively re-enacted on his radio show.”

he made an obsrevation, and stated an oppinion .did you actually listen to that show, or are you just using bits taken out of context that you found on left leaning web sites ? and did you follow the whole story behind it ? if you had you wouldn’t be making this statement. it turns out that michael j fox had either over or under medicated that day. whether it was intentional or not is anyones guess. if he’s going to make a political statement, he is subject to the same scrutiny anyone else is. having parkensons doesn’t make him of limits to critisism.

Posted by: dbs at June 26, 2007 1:13 PM
Comment #224137

I read them all. I’ll be happy to discuss them individually, if you please. They all seem to be cases where Rush let put apologetics for Republican office-holders and their policies, not to mention his typically right-wing rhetoric, ahead of accurate, well researched statements.

I don’t doubt Gore has his share of whoppers, but if we want to discuss those, let’s try for real ones, rather than distortions of his words. If you’re going to call people out as liars, get your facts right.

On the subject of Michael J. Fox? Yes, Rush stated an opinion, made his observation. He called somebody a liar. They way you argue it, such things should be done without consequence. Well, Rush had no proof that Fox was faking, no hidden Camera footage of Fox reverting to normal movement once the filming was done. He had no better reason to defame Fox than his own personal feelings.

I’m not arguing Rush’s free speech rights here. He can have them. What we’re arguing here is the character of what he said, what he communicated. He communicated his general disrespect for those opposite him in debates, first and foremost. He also called Fox a liar, with no evidence to back the statement. He called it an act, and as a public figure, he’s responsible for assertions that defame others.

But there’s something else at work. For all his celebrity, Michael J. Fox is a man afflicted with a serious disease. That disease is documented, and Rush has no documentation to prove that Fox exaggerated its seriousness. In most civilized societies, those who are ill are accorded a certain amount of deference on the matter of their needs, on the matter of their illness.

Those who falsely or on inappropriate grounds seek that deference do deserve to be exposed or denied, but that is a claim that should be backed with serious evidence and tactfully made. The mean-spirited, off the cuff manner of Rush’s accusation offends our society’s notions of treatment of those in ill health. It’s no wonder Fox got a two-third margin over him. Who couldn’t sympathize with him, given despicable, factually thin way in which Rush went after him?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 26, 2007 2:25 PM
Comment #224150

Gerrold -
“I don’t think you understand what it’s about. First off, it wouldn’t apply here on Watchblog, which is not broadcast.”

Wrong. You don’t understand. I was only making a point, not trying to establish fact about the “Fairness Doctrine”. The point is that some people choose to present only one point of view while insisting that others MUST balance their point of view with opposing pov’s. Stephen is a person like that. He, for one, only and always presents the Democrat pov. I, on the other hand, am a free thinker who is not stuck on being Democrat or Republican. I consider all pov’s before presenting mine. In effect, my pov, by definition is balanced.

“Fourth, much of Right-wing radio is trash — it’s loaded with inaccuracies and disinformation.”

While this is true… it is a general truism of all talk radio (whether right or left-wing or something in between). There’s even a talk-radio show about ghosts, ET’s, UFO’s etc. Did you ever listen to AirAmerica? It was worse than most of the right-wing shows! Plus it had the dubious distinction of being one of the most boring shows on the air.

Posted by: Don at June 26, 2007 4:38 PM
Comment #224154

“There’s even a talk-radio show about ghosts, ET’s, UFO’s etc.”

Coast to Coast with George Noory. Was Art Bell.

“Did you ever listen to AirAmerica? It was worse than most of the right-wing shows! Plus it had the dubious distinction of being one of the most boring shows on the air”

Which is why it had no listeners.
Which is why it lost money.
Which is why it is gone.
Which is why the left wants to “even the playing field” by forcing private companies to carry both, what the majority of the listeners want and what they do not want to hear.

Posted by: kctim at June 26, 2007 4:53 PM
Comment #224156

Under the fairness doctrine are ABC, NBC, and CBS going to change 50% of their coverage? CBS radio which is all news here in Los Angeles makes network TV news look conservative in comparsion and yet I do not hear any outcry to make them “fair”. It goes to the original point that these fairness rules do not apply to liberals. Liberals are the champions of free speech unless you happen to disagree with them at which point it becomes hate speech that needs to be regulated by the government.

Posted by: carnak at June 26, 2007 5:19 PM
Comment #224165

The airwaves are not the personal property of the licensees. They are licensed to them, on certain conditions, by the public.

In contrast, the server and the site here are owned by Cameron Barrett. The site reflects his vision, which fortunately enough includes space for all of our perspectives. Not every site is run this way, but people can vote with their feet. I’ve got my own blog elsewhere, if Cameron gets too tyrannical about this one.

But if a station owner monopolizes the airwaves with his political and cultural point of view, we have no such recourse. We can’t broadcast our own station at the same frequency. If we happened to be rich enough to afford one of our own, that wouldn’t be fair either; on my station, were I so inclined, I could favor my own politics and shut out others.

To think of the system in static sides is to miss an important truth in the matter: that all viewpoints are limited, all politics vulnerable to retreat into the world of the abstracted and the imagined, when what we need is practical, objective understanding of the world.

The point of the fairness doctrine is not to land things on my side for good and forever, but rather to keep things permanently up in the air.

As for your definition of balance? We’d both claim to be balanced. For me, though, balance does not mean the simple state of two points of view existing at once, inside or outside a person’s head.

Balance to me is the government’s power not being used to favor one side or another, that the public’s dynamic appreciation of the the national and local situation be allowed to take their course without heavy-handed influence.

The Fairness Doctrine’s not a top down sort of affair. complaints concerning fairness come from below, from viewers unsatisfied with representation of their points of view. It is not the same thing as the equal-time doctrine, and I believe that’s something that folks on both the right and the left neglect. It only requires that a person have the opportunity to get their point of view out, with about the same audience as their audience.

It also encouraged stations to do public affairs programming with different sides discussing local and national affairs, to not just run propaganda for one side or another. Is that not more balanced than a slate full of just Republicans and Right wingers?

Air America is not gone. It continues under different owners

Another few points, if I may:

1)Air America is an interesting idea with some “vengeance is ours” value, but not crucial to most liberals. We’re pretty happy with the netroots, as it is, and we’ve been pretty effective in getting our message out.

2)The vagaries of markets do not necessarily reflect general public sentiment. Talk Radio can function as a niche market, serving a disproportionately conservative audience that Liberals would not find easy to penetrate, but that doesn’t meant the overall marketplace supports conservativism, as recent polls indicate is decidedly not the case.

You don’t have to necessarily seek out a niche market to find yourself in one. Alienate enough viewers and listeners, and you’ll have yourself one, and that will effect what you can market and how.

News is news. Under the fairness doctrine, when folks run their commentaries and op-ed pieces, the station has to be willing to let others have their response to the opinion pieces given.

Let’s also not forget what Gerrold’s source had to say about the use of the Fairness Doctrine in terms of Nixon’s use of it. The Fairness Doctrine can be appealed to by any side that feels itself exclude, right or left.

Let’s also consider what the underlying mechanism is: viewer complaints. Under the fairness doctrine, the point is that the station reflect the public’s mix of views in that which it presents on airs. Typically, that would be defined by the local viewers themselves. The point is not to artificially insert points but rather to prevent their artificial exclusion from the discussion.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 26, 2007 6:23 PM
Comment #224170

First off, it wouldn’t apply here on Watchblog, which is not broadcast. Second, views already are balanced on Watchblog by its very nature; each invidual poster wouldn’t be required to incorporate opposing views in his or her own articles.
Posted by Gerrold

The Rush show is much like the postings on this blog, if any of the libs have actually ever listened to it.
He daily invites libs to call in and talk, argue, name-call, whatever you wish to label it. He often promotes libs to the front of the line where they proceed to make “his” point on most issues. There are not nearly as many libs who call in because of the vast conservative audience, and the limitations of American phone services. However, I believe that is not Rush’s fault. Perhaps, libs should discover a way to inundate the phone lines of these talk show hosts so they can have it out, if they don’t like what they say.
The problem with libs is that they do not like debate at all. Talk radio is a large portion, debate. This is one reason liberal hosts do not succeed in talk radio. They do not wish to debate facts and opinions. They are much more comfortable telling people what the facts are without giving them any response time at all, such as do the news agencies and television. Liberals generally take the “Bill Clinton reaction to Mike Wallace” when they are questioned or debated. That is why mediums like news and TV are perfect for libs; they can script everything and answer to nobody. Whereas, talk radio is perfect for conservative political discussion. There is a completely opposite mode of operation in spreading liberalism than spreading conservativism. I have found that most liberals do not wish to debate, but simply instruct.


Posted by: JD at June 26, 2007 8:27 PM
Comment #224172

First, we don’t need the “Fairness Doctrine.” The market tells us that what is on the radio airwaves IS what the communities of those radio stations want. They say so with their listenership. If the people would benefit from balance, that is what market forces would support. To claim otherwise is pure political hype. If the market forces were NOW supporting Democrat talk shows we wouldn’t be having this discussion. In fact, if the market was supporting primarily Democrat talk shows the Democrats (like Stephen) would now be arguing AGAINST the “Fairness Doctrine”.

The market is the best decider of fairness to the individual communities.

Second, the talk shows that are on the airwaves do run a wide range from pure Republican (Rush) to pure Conservative (Hannity) to more middle-of-the-road (Savage) to mostly liberal (Lyle somebody…can’t remember the name). The only shows that can’t seem to attract community audience are the pure liberal and pure Democrat. But even that is not true in some markets… in Michigan the governor’s spouse (the governor is a Democrat) has a talk show that has good support (Mulhurn). The “Fairness Doctrine” would shut him down. I think that would be wrong. If the market supports the message, it is fair.

Tomorrow we could fire every single conservative and Republican talk show host by not tuning in. The market is constantly changing. In two years the entire market could be supporting liberals and Democrats. Surely the Democrats would not want to give up that opportunity!!!

Posted by: Don at June 26, 2007 8:44 PM
Comment #224173


I’ve actually listened to Rush’s show quite a bit when I drive to work. Sometimes I get tired of music and NPR doesn’t run 24/7. He does take callers, but it’s hardly a fair exchange. Rush controls everything — he cuts them off, turns down their volume, speaks over them, etc. Whoever controls the format can do that; ever see Rush on Letterman? Letterman creams him because he controls the format. However, taking listener calls probably would contribute to the balance equation; as Stephen rightly points out, we are not talking about equal time or prominence for opposing viewpoints.

Anyway, I don’t disagree with most of Stephen’s points; I simply believe there is no shortage of outlets for viewpoints and I don’t believe the government has justification to violate the spirit of the First Amendment. Indeed, there are something like 14,000 radio stations now, but even if there were half that, I would still most likely resist the Fairness Doctrine. However, Stephen is a sophisticated debater and isn’t relying on the scarcity justification, which historically was the main justification for the doctrine.

Both and Right and the Left have the impulse to try to regulate content. Perhaps because I was immersed in journalistic culture as an undergraduate and for a few years afterwards as a journalist I distrust government involvement with the news media, particularly when it comes to content. I really have no more points; my position rests on the intent of the First Amendment. I realize broadcast is different because regulation to keep frequencies usable is required, but that, to me, is not enough justification for re-establishing the doctrine.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 26, 2007 8:49 PM
Comment #224190

Libs again. Sounds like a waitress at the diner who would tell wiseguys they could kiss her grits.

“Hey Libs, two pigs in a blanket coming right up!”
“Keep your pants on, I’ll be right there.”

Libs is the shorthand the Right has come up with, a diminutive, sure as can be. The only point of such a word is to annoy, to provoke, which has become far too much the focus of debaters on the right.

You tell yourselves over and over again what terrible people the Liberals are, but that only serves to make the right look arrogant, and alienate those people who share viewpoints with those left of center. Not a good idea when your aim is to bring people over to your side.

I think before you make the claim that Liberals do not debate facts and opinions, you should head over to places like Talking Points Memo. Or maybe some place like Washington Monthy’s Political Animal Blog. These people were on top of the major news stories months before they went mainstream.

Look at the numbers, and you’ll find the Republicans in decline, and one of the big reasons is that they’ve become beholden to scoring victories over the Democrats, to putting us in our place. Meanwhile, we’ve seized the advantage.

The Market explanation is passive and weak, an appeal to popularity as a justification of a monopolization that is no product of the market.

One problem would be folks being alienated from the medium. I provide an example of this up in one of my comments: my age group doesn’t like AM radio as much as the older folks. Then your market sample is skewed demographically.

Another problem is the ability of niche and narrow broadcasts to survive and thrive in their limited segments of the market. Keep your costs low enough, and almost anything will be “supported” by the market.

It also helps if you can pre-emptively eliminate the competition. One modern tactic for keeping brands riding high is cluttering the shelves with mediocre versions of the brand, in order to crowd out the competition.

Like evolution the market is simply a description of a process, not a guarantee of that process’s march toward perfection.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 27, 2007 1:10 AM
Comment #224204
middle-of-the-road (Savage)

Middle of the road? Do you mean Mike Savage? The guy who called for “an outright ban on Muslim immigration?” Who believes that feminism and homosexuality are “destroying America?” Who calls pro-immigration protesters “vermin?” Who called George Soros a “punk lying coward satanist backstabbing freak” that “brought about the Holocaust?” Who has a book call “Liberalism Is a Mental Disorder?”

Exactly what road is that the middle of? Do you really want no one to take you seriously with claims like that?

Posted by: LawnBoy at June 27, 2007 10:06 AM
Comment #224205

Yes, Stephen is correct, I think. The pithy motto that “liberals don’t want discussion; they want instruction” doesn’t correspond with reality. Even on the current issue you have, right here in this thread, liberals debating with each other. There’s the old truism that if you want three opinions, get two Democrats and one Republican together.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 27, 2007 10:17 AM
Comment #224223

Thanks for that link Stephen. I’ll search it over some and find out which radio station they are on in my area.

Posted by: kctim at June 27, 2007 5:34 PM
Comment #224231

“There’s the old truism that if you want three opinions, get two Democrats and one Republican together.”

No, Gerrold. That is only true during an election year when liberals try to take both sides so they don’t have to stand for anything, and can go either way depending on the latest poll. Otherwise, they mostly take the far left view through and through!


Posted by: JD at June 27, 2007 8:09 PM
Comment #224232

Sad to say, they’re not radio. The Democrats have brought some heavy muscle to the debate, but they’ve brought it to the internet rather than talk radio. To be honest, that seems the more future-proof of the two medium. People my age aren’t big AM Band listeners, much less fans of talk radio.

What’s important is the attention to detail, and the basis of rhetoric on a solid factual foundation. That’s where Democrats have gained the advantage. The Internet is good for tracking down facts, for seeking out information to put claims to the test.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 27, 2007 8:27 PM
Comment #224246

Stephen, alright big guy then whats the problem, let us idoits have radio for now. Our ideas don’t hold the test of the internet, I guess ‘00 & ‘04 don’t count, watcha scared of. The day the liberal, or lib, view wins more than the coast’s maybe I’ll belive. But call me a dreamer I think their are too many good middle Americans to be swayed by such sickening ideals. You gotta grow up someday.

Posted by: andy at June 27, 2007 11:59 PM
Comment #224257

Savage is by far the most independent major Talk show host in the country. I listen most often to him because he is NOBODY’s mouthpiece. Rush is a talking head - Bush is great, Bush is great - Hannity and Ingraham are almost as bad - but Savage (if you can listen past the anger) genuinely speaks to red-blooded americans. He is far more harsh publicly on the Bush administration than any democrat I’ve heard, and has “crossed the aisle” when conservatives have it wrong (aka Dubai ports deal). He gave Upchuck Schumer access to his audience to help kill the deal because it was INSANITY. He spent the whole show saying “what does it tell you about the crooked Republican rats in Washington, when Chuck Schumer and I agree on something.” He calls George Soros all those names because of his past deals that almost bankrupted the Malaysian economy, and his cashy puppet mastering of the Democrat Party. As far as Liberalism is a Mental Disorder, if you read it, you’d see the extremely clinical and convincing case he makes (like a doctor) to prove his point. He is harsh on the state of immigration, but he is referring to La Rasa protestors (nice try on the spin). And they are vermin. THE RACE. What arrogance.

Democrats routinely call our president (bonehead that he is) Hitleresque, and spew venom about anyone that doesn’t drink the “progressive koolaid.”

I get that you don’t like Savage, but I’m pretty sure Don meant Anti-Democrat and Anti-Republican when he said middle of the road. I think you’d be surprised how many independant people nod their heads and agree with the logical conclusions that Savage often makes.

But that’s just one man’s opinion.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at June 28, 2007 1:30 AM
Comment #224264

Yukon Jack,

“but Savage (if you can listen past the anger) genuinely speaks to red-blooded americans.”

Sorry, Savage may speak genuinely to “red meat” Americans.
He picks very easy targets to vent his spleen at.

How do you “get past the anger” when his anger is his shtick?
Beyond that, what exactly is he saying that no one else is?

I have listened to Rush and Hannity for years, but I have only heard Savage off and on for the last few years when I have taken road trips. He only recently was picked up by a local talk station, and his act hasn’t changed much.

It is guys like Savage, and Gallagher, and, Rush, and Reagan, and Hannity, that have lowered the bar on political discourse in America to the level of insults.
These guys are school yard bullies that merely preach to their “ditto head” choir.
They don’t seem to have any ideas to put forward that might make our collective world any better.

Posted by: Rocky at June 28, 2007 8:13 AM
Comment #224272
What arrogance.

What arrogance, indeed.

Reactionary, hate-spewing, insulting “independence “may be what Don had in mind. However, that’s far from “middle-of-the-road”.

mid·dle-of-the-road (mĭdl-əv-thə-rōd)
  • Pursuing a course of action midway between extremes, especially following a course in politics that is neither liberal nor conservative.
  • (Abbr. MOR) Of, relating to, or being a type of entertainment, especially popular music, that appeals to a wide audience.
  • Middle-of-the-road means someone that tries to work from the center and is a moderate. A hate-filled clown who occasionally takes a break from spewing venom at the left in order to insult the right for not being reactionary enough is not middle-of-the-road.

    Posted by: LawnBoy at June 28, 2007 9:21 AM
    Comment #224275
    And they are vermin. THE RACE.

    And Yukon Jack, why don’t you tell us how really feel about your fellow humans?

    If this is what you really think, I can see why you don’t object to Michael Savage. And that doesn’t say anything good about either of you.

    And yes, he clarified that “vermin” referred to the leadership of the protest (although there are real problems with his “clarification”). So how was it spin for me to say that he referred to the protesters as vermin? And why do you complain about that if you think the whole race are vermin?

    Posted by: LawnBoy at June 28, 2007 9:33 AM
    Comment #224328

    Just read the link. Only listened to Savage a few days on a trip to SF, Had a few laughs, wish I had the option to listen a little in my market. But yeah he was calling the illegals vermin, so what.

    Posted by: andy at June 28, 2007 5:52 PM
    Comment #224330
    But yeah he was calling the illegals vermin, so what.

    Yeah, who cares about the coarsening of political discourse? Who care about dehumanizing people different than us? Who care about calling people with families a term that is used for pests that need to be exterminated? After all, it’s not like Mexicans are really people or anything, right? So what?

    Posted by: LawnBoy at June 28, 2007 6:14 PM
    Comment #224343

    Lawnboy -

    Yukon Jake has my position correct. Savage is hated equally by those on the right and those on the left. He speaks his own mind (terribly) and openly criticises whichever party he pleases (both Dems and Reps). He has been sliding more and more to the middle since before Bush’s second election. If you haven’t listened to him recently you would have missed that (not that he’s worth listening to). He is definitely M-O-R.

    Posted by: Don at June 28, 2007 9:23 PM
    Comment #224353

    Stephen said - “The Market explanation is passive and weak, an appeal to popularity as a justification of a monopolization that is no product of the market.”

    That may be true (I’m not agreeing, really);
    however, the “Fairness Doctrine” does not improve anything. We had the “Fairness Doctrine” and AM radio was going broke and had a declining listenership. Since Reagan, AM radio has had a resurrection and has a purpose again. [What I find interesting about political talk shows on AM radio is that they inform people about many political issues which the mainstream media hasn’t reported.] While TV news broadcasts are losing audience and FM radio is losing audience, AM radio has maintained a strong audience. The “Fairness Doctrine” will do nothing but bankrupt AM radio owners and put people in the AM radio industry out of work (I’m not talking about Rush, I’m talking about technicians at the local stations).
    The “Fairness Doctrine” therefore will eliminate an entire industry because Democrats don’t like it. Sounds like the Dems are sore losers, because even after they enact the “Fairness Doctrine” they still won’t be getting their Democrat message out on AM radio.

    Sponsors pay for listenership. The Democrats haven’t been able to produce a radio talk-show that attracts listeners. Yet it is a free market! Could it be that the Democrat message is the problem? Or is it that they don’t have a messenger? The Democrats should seek those answers BEFORE they seek to close down AM radio.

    Posted by: Don at June 28, 2007 10:04 PM
    Comment #224387


    You might have a point if he were criticizing the left for being too liberal and criticizing the right for being too conservative. But that’s not what he’s doing. He’s criticizing the left for being too liberal and criticizing the right for being too liberal.

    His criticisms do not come from a moderate, centrist, or “middle of the road” position. His criticisms come from the reactionary, knee-jerk far right.

    That he’s so far to the right that even Republicans are too liberal for him does not make him a centrists - it makes him an extremist.

    Posted by: LawnBoy at June 29, 2007 8:55 AM
    Comment #224413


    “His criticisms do not come from a moderate, centrist, or “middle of the road” position. His criticisms come from the reactionary, knee-jerk far right.”

    just curious, what makes this so called centrist position so superior to the far right or far left position ? being a fence sitter is in some cases just an excuse for not wanting to piss anyone off, an often accomplishes nothing, and i’ve seen plenty of “reactionary, knee-jerk ” from the far left as well. whats the difference ?

    Posted by: dbs at June 29, 2007 12:40 PM
    Comment #224425

    The Fairness Doctrine had nothing to do with AM Radio’s decline. The Limitations of AM transmission, as opposed to FM, is what lead to that. If AM Radio really is depending on those Right Wing Pundits, should we subsidize a dying industry for the sake by continuing to allow a lopsided use of the public’s airwaves? That doesn’t sound like market economics to me.

    Look, The Pundits are still going to be there, at the end of the day, and they’re still going to draw listeners. The Radio Station’s still going to be able to play Rush, and get listeners in for him. They’re just not going to be able to do that, and shut out liberal voices. Who know, the debate there might have a synergistic effect, or perhaps at the very least draw in listeners alienated by the all GOP lineup.

    This is just fearmongering on the part of the Rush’s and Hannities of the airwaves, because they’re nervous about having to actually defend their points of view against people who hit back as hard as they do.

    My point, to boil it down, is that audience dynamics would not necessarily be negative. The Right Wingers should not be given an artificial monopoly on the airwaves by conservative owners, they should have to compete with others.

    No, the real question is what you’re scared of. If the Republican message is truly market tested and approved, the fairness doctrine would do little to get in its way on talk radio.

    First, the fairness doctrine does not require equal time, just a chance and forum to respond.

    Second, nothing says that the broadcaster need keep liberals on air if they aren’t well rated.

    Third, Highly rated Pundits would hardly be at risk. The only casualty would be the practice of filling the schedule with nothing but Republicans.

    Fourth, the fairness doctrine requires viewer action to come into play, and if the station sufficiently represents the other side, they can carry on as usual.

    If the Republicans are truly favored by the market, the Democratic presence would remain minor. If not, they would be subject to that same force they’ve praised for years as a means to weed out the weak from among the strong: competition.

    So let me ask you a rather pointed question: What scares you about getting competition?

    Yukon Jake-
    Too many people fall down at the altar of tough talk. Savage can define my point of view as a mental disorder, but what has that gained the Right Wing, given their psychotic break from reality these last few years? They’ve let their sense of exceptionalism go to their heads, to the point where they screen out any countervailing opinions, often enough from people who know what they’re talking about.

    Folks on the right are so drowned in the political side of things that they can’t debate their President’s objectively poor performance without alleging that Democrats are simply hating on him. The question should not be whether we Democrats dislike Bush intensely, but whether what we say is right or wrong. If what we’re saying is right, denial on this basis is just an exercise in futility. People have their reasons for disliking this president, and many of them are founded on more than just personal distaste.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 29, 2007 2:24 PM
    Comment #224438
    just curious, what makes this so called centrist position so superior to the far right or far left position

    I didn’t say it was. I’m reacting to Don’s claim that Savage represents middle-of-the-road. I’m not claiming that middle-of-the-road is better than Savage’s position, but I’m showing that middle-of-the-road is very different from Savage’s position.

    Posted by: LawnBoy at June 29, 2007 3:43 PM
    Comment #224449

    Lawnboy -
    Just so you know… You’ve explained your position RE: Savage very well. I now see what you’re saying about Savage. Chalk one up for Lawnboy.

    Posted by: Don at June 29, 2007 6:54 PM
    Comment #224450

    Anyway I heard that a great rep. from my former state, Mike Pence (a repub. with a set, hard to find these days), helped kill the FD for now (309-115). The ‘Broadcaster Freedom Act’ Pence brought up will prevent the FCC or any future President from reinstating the FD.
    So hopefully after watching Sunday mass or a fishing show we wont have to listen to an athiest or be bored by PETA telling us that the hook hurts the little fishies mouth. But if an athiest, not that theres anything wrong with that, wants to start a show on their own go ahead.

    Posted by: andy at June 29, 2007 6:57 PM
    Comment #224451

    Stephen -
    “The Fairness Doctrine had nothing to do with AM Radio’s decline.”

    If that’s so, why has AM radio had a resurgence of listenership in the time since the “Fairness Doctrine” was taken away?

    “…should we subsidize a dying industry…”

    The only industry that the government subsidizes is liberal NPR, not AM radio. I have no clue what you were thinking.

    “The Right Wingers should not be given an artificial monopoly on the airwaves by conservative owners, they should have to compete with others.”

    First, a quick survey of AM radio owners should show that they are not predominantly conservative. Broadcast media is largely owned by liberals and I would think this also includes AM radio owners.
    Second, the competition is already there. There is no law stopping liberals and Democrats from having AM radio talk shows. There is no financial hindrance keeping liberals from having AM radio talk shows (they did, after all, raise millions to create and promote Talk America). The playing field and rules are ALREADY fair and equal. All the Democrats have to do is have a message worthy of commercial sponsorship and listenership.
    With the “Fairness Doctrine” the Democrats hope to make it law that they be GIVEN something that they COULD have already (if they were willing to work for it). So, in truth, the Democrats are not seeking for fairness but advantage.

    Posted by: Don at June 29, 2007 7:14 PM
    Comment #224455


    AM radio was dying because it couldn’t compete with FM. It had no on-air personalities, and no fidelity, and the advent of Stereo AM really didn’t help.
    Unfortunately for FM, all of the Mega-conglomerates came in and re-instituted the play lists that had helped AM become so popular in the 60’s.
    The heavy rotation of the “hits” boosted the ratings for a decade or two, but the aging of the “boomers”, the endless repetition of the same songs, and the advent of IPods and cell phones have eaten into FM’s popularity.

    In reality, the fairness doctrine had little to do with the rise of AM talk radio. It had always been there, it just didn’t have any personalities to compete in the marketplace.

    Posted by: Rocky at June 29, 2007 7:58 PM
    Comment #224474

    Rocky -
    I have no idea of what you think you are saying.

    When we had the “Fairness Doctrine” prior to Reagan… AM radio was losing listenership (for the reasons you mention perhaps).

    Then, under Ronald Reagan, the “Fairness Doctrine” was ended. That is when listenership to AM radio saw a resurrection. Conservative talk shows raised the profitability of owning an AM station.

    Now the Democrats want to re-instate the “Fairness Doctrine” … that move will repress talk radio and return us to the bad old days (when AM station listenership was declining)and decrease the profitability of owning an AM radio station.

    In other words, the “Fairness Doctrine” will be used as a club to punish AM station owners and repress free speech.

    We don’t need the FD because the rules and opportunities are level RIGHT NOW. All the Dems have to do is create and produce a talk radio program to which people will listen. (Maybe they should listen to Rush, Hannity and Beck [the top 3] to see how it is done).

    Posted by: Don at June 30, 2007 12:33 AM
    Comment #224476


    I worked at a college FM station in 1969, and 1970, then at a cable FM station in 71’ and 72’.
    Music was king then, even though Joe Pyne, as I mentioned before, had brought confrontational talk radio to Los Angeles in the early 60’s. The problem with Joe Pyne was he just was way over the top.

    AM music radio was dying already because bandwidth limitations made the AM signal very low-fi, and good only for the spoken word. FM, on the other hand, was becoming more popular as even the middle class was buying console stereos equipped with FM tuners, and FM just sounded better.
    That is a fact.

    “Now the Democrats want to re-instate the “Fairness Doctrine” … that move will repress talk radio and return us to the bad old days (when AM station listenership was declining)and decrease the profitability of owning an AM radio station.”

    As Stephen stated before, the Fairness Doctrine allowed an opposing view to call bullshit on someone spreading lies, and it allowed that opposing view to do so to the same audience.

    I find it curious that you might find that a bad thing, and frankly it says a lot about those that would oppose a free flow of ideas. Something sorely lacking in American society.

    The Fairness Doctrine was in effect from the creation of the Federal Radio Commission and the “Radio act of 1927”. It was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1969 when “the Court ruled that radio stations could be regulated in this way because of the limited nature of the public airwave spectrum.”

    I don’t really care one way or the other because the pundits from both sides have now found an avenue to spread half truths, and opinions (in the true spirit of Goebbels), and morf them into whole truths before our very eyes.

    Any new “Fairness Doctrine” isn’t going to change that.

    Posted by: Rocky at June 30, 2007 1:23 AM
    Comment #224478

    Oh, and BTW,

    I am very sure that someone calling Rush a liar to his face, in front of his audience, would definitely have a negative effect on talk radio revenues.

    Posted by: Rocky at June 30, 2007 1:46 AM
    Comment #224491


    “the Fairness Doctrine allowed an opposing view to call bullshit on someone spreading lies, and it allowed that opposing view to do so to the same audience.”

    they still can, it just ends up being somewhere else in the spectrum of media outlets. i understand your point that you would like someone to be able to do it right then and there, but it’s impractical. it’s the radio hosts show, they decide the format, and the content. who will mandate what callers the host has to take, or how much time he or she gives them ? in the end what happens if an opposing viewpoint still feels they’re not being treated fairly. the whole thing becomes a legal mess, the station owners eventually say this just isn’t worth the hasell. this is why IMO this is designed by the left as a way to squelch speech and oppinions they don’t like. they know the legal challenges will be endless and in the end to expensive over time to make them worthwhile. BTW i’ve heard plenty of callers call rushs’ show and challenge his assertions, but it hasn’t hurt the ratings as far as i can tell.

    Posted by: dbs at June 30, 2007 1:14 PM
    Comment #224493


    “BTW i’ve heard plenty of callers call rushs’ show and challenge his assertions, but it hasn’t hurt the ratings as far as i can tell.”

    Sorry, I neglected to activate the sarcasm alert prior to that post.

    “i understand your point that you would like someone to be able to do it right then and there, but it’s impractical. it’s the radio hosts show, they decide the format, and the content.”

    That wasn’t my point at all. Even if it was done days later it would be the same audience. Most people that listen to these bozos listen at least a little every day.
    In the end it always be about the money. Money is now the be all, end all the communication of ideas in this country has become.

    Why do you think Rush has jumped on the “podcast” bandwagon?
    I hardly think so.

    Back when the “news” actually was news, not infotainment, there was a segment that was labeled as “opinion”. There was no mistaking it for the news, and opposing views were allowed to respond.
    Now, opinion has become fact.

    What are these guys afraid of?

    Posted by: Rocky at June 30, 2007 1:50 PM
    Comment #224497

    Point of fact, when ever I hear Rush spew his favorite line, “and we all know that…”, my bullshit alarm starts clanging off the wall.

    Posted by: Rocky at June 30, 2007 2:30 PM
    Comment #224512


    “Sorry, I neglected to activate the sarcasm alert prior to that post.”

    so sorry rocky, i beg your pardon, for being so ignorant ?

    “Most people that listen to these bozos listen at least a little every day.”

    oh i see, so “anyone who listens to these bozos” obviously isn’t smart enough to figure it out for themselves, they need you to save them. sorry i should have known better.

    “Back when the “news” actually was news”

    when would that be ? news casts have always had a slant one way or the other. you just don’t like that some slant to the right now is that it ?

    “Money is now the be all, end all the communication of ideas in this country has become.”

    like it or not it always has been. it’s not going to change, broadcasters put on what sells in the market.

    “there was a segment that was labeled as “opinion”. There was no mistaking it for the news, and opposing views were allowed to respond.
    Now, opinion has become fact.”

    so because you believe that people actualy are to stupid to realize rush isn’t the news, it’s the gov’t job to step in and make sure they do ? since when has opinion become fact ? i can tell the difference, and i assume so can you , so who are these buffoons you speak of that don’t ?

    “What are these guys afraid of?”

    exactly my point, what are you afraid of ?

    “Point of fact, when ever I hear Rush spew his favorite line, “and we all know that…”, my bullshit alarm starts clanging off the wall.”

    so then why does the gov’t need to get involved ? it’s free speech, and it’s you on the left that don’t like when it doesn’t go your way. sorry but other people have the right to say whatever they want too. no one onthe right is telling you to stop talking, why are you trying to shut up people you disagree with ? re read the part of my last post where i talked about what my actual objection to the fairness doctrine is. it’s all about shutting up people you don’t agree with, by opening the door to endless legal challenges. this is the same way the anti gun crowd has tried to put the gun industry out of businees by filing endless lawsuits in order to bankrupt them, so they’ll just give up. can’t compete in the arena of ideas, so get the gov’t to intervene.

    Posted by: dbs at June 30, 2007 6:52 PM
    Comment #224517


    Apparently you have mostly missed my points. Perhaps I have been a bit obtuse, and that is the reason for your misunderstanding.

    “it’s all about shutting up people you don’t agree with, by opening the door to endless legal challenges.”

    Where exactly, except for some pundit’s opinion, does it say that?
    I have posted many links that described what the “Fairness Doctrine” was when it was in effect.

    MORA as the bill is known is described by it’s author as;


    “MORA would amend the 1934 Communications Act to restore the Fairness Doctrine and explicitly require broadcast licensees to provide a reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views on issues of public importance.”

    Where does it say anything about shutting up anybody?
    Where does it say anything about lawsuits?
    Have you actually read the bill?


    This bill is mainly to address the monopolistic ownership of broadcast stations.

    “so who are these buffoons you speak of that don’t ?”

    I have not a clue what you’re talking about. I haven’t denigrated any of talk radio’s listeners except to say that I felt that they weren’t very discriminating.
    I did call the “pundits” bozos. I infered that they were good at spreading propaganda.
    That is my opinion, and opinion is what we’re talking about, right?
    To be fair I did say that I thought that both sides were spreading propaganda, and I also stated that I thought that nothing would really change, and therefore I didn’t care one way or the other about this bill.
    So much for my liberal leanings.

    Posted by: Rocky at June 30, 2007 9:03 PM
    Comment #224519

    Oh, and one other thing I forgot to mention.

    You do understand that the networks don’t own the airwaves, and therefore they don’t have any inherent right to make a profit off of the use of them.
    You and I, and the rest of the American people own the airwaves, and our government holds the rights to them in trust for us.
    The FCC is the regulator of that trust, and they can and have granted licences, levied fines and even jerked licences away from those that have betrayed that trust.

    Posted by: Rocky at June 30, 2007 9:14 PM
    Comment #224526

    Hey, it’s me again.


    As I have said before I have been listening to Rush and Hannity for quite some time, and though they seem to concur with what Eric is saying, what Eric is saying is long on hyperbole and opinion, and very short on actual fact.
    Every single one of Eric’s links cites and opinion, ie. “what might happen”, not what will.

    Rush, et al, on the other hand (unless they have some secrect source), have reported “what might happen” as the facts, thus my point above.

    Where I come from “what might happen” isn’t a fact, and it never will be.

    Posted by: Rocky at June 30, 2007 10:37 PM
    Comment #224551


    “You do understand that the networks don’t own the airwaves, and therefore they don’t have any inherent right to make a profit off of the use of them.”

    that maybe so, but with no incentive of profit, there’s no reason for a broadcaster to invest the money or time to carry out such an endeavor. that only leaves the gov’t to fund, and operate the broadcast. we already have PBS, NPR, and the likes.

    it appears to me that you think i have a problem with people having the opportunity to respond, to statements they disagree with. this is just my observation, i don’t claim to know how or what you are thinking, so don’t rip my head off. my problem is with the gov’t telling private enterprise what to do, other than ensuring that profane, and vulgar language aren’t used on the public airwaves.

    “Have you actually read the bill?”

    briefly yes, i find the fact that they don’t want anyone co. holding more than 5% of any one market a bit unreasonable, i can’t off hand think of any other industry that is held to that same standard. i also don’t like the fact that it tries to treat subscription tv, such as sattelite, and cable the same as broadcasts over the public airwaves.

    “Where does it say anything about shutting up anybody?
    Where does it say anything about lawsuits?”

    it doesn’t, but it opens the door to such actions IMO, this is why i used the gun lawsuit scenario. while i can’t say definitively it will happen. past experience tells me it’s a distinct possibility, and with the cost these days of deffending against lawsuits, and numerous appeals it isn’t nessesarily the the one who’s right that wins, it’s the one that can stay in the fight the longest, and has the deepest pockets. this IMO will cause many private broadcast co.s to just say screw it, it’s not worth the time, money, and hassle, actually resulting in a net loss of diversity of opinion, in the long run.

    for the life of me i still can’t understand why it is the democrats who really seem to be pushing this. all they have to do is find a format to get out there messege, in a way that is appealing, and they will have plenty of opportunity to do just what rush and other talk show hosts have done. as i’ve said before if it brings listeners, stations will pick it up, and thier reach will grow. the fact that it hasn’t has to make one wonder if it’s the messege thats the problem, and not the system.

    i read some of your posts on the thread having to do with inequity, and was quite impressed with your responses, and even complimented one. why your taking the tack you have on this one i don’t nessesarily understand. i might actually agree in part with the non monopolistic clause in that bill, if the numbers weren’t so unrealistic. can you imagine the oil industry being told you can’t hold more than 5% ot the total market, in refining, and distribution.

    “Where I come from “what might happen” isn’t a fact, and it never will be.”

    until we actually act, a lot of what could happen is speculation. it doesn’t mean it isn’t a consideration, and shouldn’t still be weighed accordingly.

    Posted by: dbs at July 1, 2007 1:46 PM
    Comment #224573

    “Look at the numbers, and you’ll find the Republicans in decline, and one of the big reasons is that they’ve become beholden to scoring victories over the Democrats, to putting us in our place. Meanwhile, we’ve seized the advantage.”
    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 27, 2007 01:10 AM

    So, you think your advantage came from the people feeling sorry for your party because the Republicans had scored too many victories over you? The old “vote for the underdog” strategy, huh. You may have a point, but it doesn’t say much for your Party’s ideas now does it?


    Posted by: JD at July 2, 2007 12:02 AM
    Comment #225167


    Sorry I haven’t responded before this. I have been held hostage by an airline, and then a hotel with no Internet service.

    “I read some of your posts on the thread having to do with inequity, and was quite impressed with your responses, and even complimented one. why your taking the tack you have on this one i don’t necessarily understand.”

    My point has been (and will continue to be) about the hyperbole that is being passed out as truth.
    We can only assume what the consequences of this bill will be, and if it is that bad, the courts will decide on it’s Constitutionality, and strike it down. That is why we have a Supreme Court.
    All of this gloom and doom is the product of some one’s over active imagination.

    Please understand I do appreciate your opinion, and I haven’t attempting to denigrate it.

    Oh, and don’t take my comments personally, I am not attacking you.

    Posted by: Rocky at July 7, 2007 12:14 PM
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