Freedom Hangs By A Thicker Thread

I’ve written a lot this past week about the Dems’ push to re-instate the “Fairness Doctrine”.  

Let’s be clear about one thing:  the push to re-instate the Doctrine is based on a huge, cynical lie that the left is repeating, true to Goebbels, over and over.  Dick Durbin, for example (I’ve added emphasis):

Dick Durbin — the Senate’s Majority whip — came out four-square in favor of the Fairness Doctrine today, declaring in The Hill — a newspaper for Capitol Hill: “It’s time to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine” It’s the clearest statement yet from a member of the congressional leadership that there will be a real fight over the issue.

Oddly, Durbin explained his position with an appeal to old-time values: “I have this old-fashioned attitude that when Americans hear both sides of the story, they’re in a better position to make a decision.”

And there – in the bold type – is the lie.  Americans hear both sides of the story.  Every story.  All the time.  The metaphorical marketplace of ideas in the broadcast, cable, and (since the early ’90’s) online media over the past 20 years has been a lot like a literal marketplace in, say, Warsaw Poland.  In 1986, it had pretty much what the government said it could have.  Today, both are jammed with a dizzying assortment of stuff, of widely varying quality – and the consumer has almost infinite choice.

Rush Limbaugh is absolutely correct about one thing; before 1987, the “Fairness Doctrine” didn’t explicitly stifle free speech; it merely made it too complicated for the vast majority of radio and TV stations to attempt.  When I started in talk radio in 1985, even the mighty KSTP-AM broadcast only a thin film of “controversial” content, sticking mostly to the usual pre-1987 miasma of sportstalk, recipes, relationship talk, author interviews, counseling, and “stuff going on around the community”.  Talk was a fringe format, the province of the very old, the housebound, and the shift-worker who was bored with music radio.  AM radio was on the brink of extinction. 

Today, the consumer is bombarded with opinion of every stripe, from all corners.  Newspapers, magazines and broadcast TV and radio have been joined by cable and internet TV, satellite and streamed radio, home-made video and pod streaming, blogs in text or audio or video – which have forced the traditional media to adjust to keep up. 

Senator Durbin:  How does the average American not have access to “both sides of the story”?

Congressman Mike Pence is sponsoring an effort to legally bar the FCC – which administers the “Fairness Doctrine” – from regulating poltical content.  Ed Morrissey, my radio colleague, liveblogged the debate on the amendment, about which he reported:

Pence says it represents an “existential threat” to the conservative movement, and believes that the aim isn’t for “fairness” but for the silencing of conservatives. The problem is that the threat is that government retains this ability, either by legislation or executive order. We have to very aggressively explain that the high legal and administrative costs of the FD would simply choose not to carry any political talk radio at all.

Pence points out that the FCC actually has the authority on its own to reinstate the FD, without any action from Congress or the Presidency. They have chosen not to do so, but if the FCC wants to, they could reinstate it tomorrow. The judiciary may have a say in this eventually, but Pence’s bill would strip the FCC of that ability altogether. That doesn’t mean that Congress can’t pass future legislation to do it, but it would have to do so openly.

Do us a favor; call your Congressional representative.  Tell them to support the Pence amendment on the Fairness Doctrine..

Liberals, remember – when they came for conservative alternative media, you need to speak up, or when “they” come for liberal media, there’ll be nobody left to speak for you.

Although oddly enough, with all the left’s caterwauling about civil liberties this past seven years, I’m at a loss to think of any conservative effort to silence any discussion.  Just saying.

4 thoughts on “Freedom Hangs By A Thicker Thread

  1. Liberals have tried very hard to bring a popular, lefty outlook to talk radio. They have failed.
    There is no evidence that the audience who listens to Limbaugh or Hannity for two or three hours will stick around to hear Air America.
    I haven’t heard any call for enforcing a new ‘fairness doctrine’. Dick Durbin calls specifically for reinstating the old ‘fairness doctrine’. As Mitch notes, this did not result in a balanced airing of political opinion, it banished politics from radio altogether. In the days of the old ‘fairness doctrine’, the most popular talk radio figures were not Rush Limbaugh and Alan Berg, they were Larry King and Michael Jackson.
    The left’s new motto: “If no one will listen to me, than no one gets to speak!”

  2. You’re being a little too ideological IMO, though I suppose your Goebbels reference could be considered “fair” in this case, considering that Durbin “started” it a while back by using a Nazi analogy when referring to our troops in Iraq.

    Nevertheless, I think you’d do well to stay away from any Nazi-era references. Let the “left” (in this case I think you should stick simply to “Democrats”) bring up such references and then counterattack them for it. The way joelr did with me on the earlier thread about Soliah; he’s right to scorn me for falling into his trap so easily.

    Nazi-party analogies from the era of European politics of the 20’s through the 40’s have nothing to do with postwar American politics, unless maybe we’re discussing extreme Aryan nation type fringe groups. Recommendation: say “the big lie technique” instead of invoking the Goebbels name.

    I remember the “fairness doctrine” type pronouncements on radio/TV well (often they occurred at hours between midnite and early AM when nobody was listening anyway). It wasn’t until this recent discussion about its being abolished that I was able to go back in my mind and confirm from my own recollection that the rise of conservative talk radio only occurred after it was abolished.

    I missed whatever the news was about its being abolished at the time, or else just didn’t realize its significance (prb most others interested in politics missed it too, or they would have made a much bigger fuss about it at the time).

    What Durbin, Feinstein, et al are nostalgic for is the almost total Democratic domination of the Congress and the state legislatures from the early 50’s through the early 90’s, a domination that not so coincidentally occurred during the heyday of the “fairness doctrine” (btw, from now on this phrase should always be cited in quotes by those opposed to its reimposition, by fiat from the FCC or by law from the Congress).

    The Dems are entitled to such nostalgia, and also to whatever “hardball” (tough, surreptitious, but legal) political tactics they think they can use to reimpose it. Just make sure any such attempts get “aired out” thoroughly in the disinfecting sunshine. Bring it on Dems!

  3. I suppose your Goebbels reference could be considered “fair” in this case, considering that Durbin “started” it a while back by using a Nazi analogy when referring to our troops in Iraq.

    It’s not a “Nazi” reference, strictly speaking. Goebbels WAS a Nazi, of course, but his classic statement is one of the great truisms of media manipulation, and it doesn’t matter what party he belonged to.

    I’m loathe to use Nazi references willy-nilly (although given my knowledge of German history and its impact on our civilization, I refuse to be bound by the ignorant trivialization of “Godwin’s Law). And admittedly it’s hard to disconnect a Nazi from his party. But sometimes it can be instructive.

  4. As Ann Coulter said on O’Reilly that her idea of a book tour shouldn’t be becoming an English teacher to talk show hosts, I will one more time attempt a brief history lesson on the Nazi’s:
    The name Nazi comes from the a shortening of the first word (with German pronunciation) of the official party name, to wit The National Socialist Democratic Workers Party. The Nazi’s were socialists. Goebbels was quite clear in all his puiblic pronouncements that the Nazi’s were socialists.Period. The Italians under Mussolini were fascists (named aft5er the fasces of the old Roman Empire). Not much real difference between the two. The reason that Nazi’s have become a favorite moniker that the left uses to describe conservatives comes from the late 1930’s. The hard commies in America included Uncle Adolph in their accolades to Uncle Joe Stalin after the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact was signed in 1938. Uncle Joe and Uncle Adolph were fellow travelers. Uncle Adolph became a favorite especially of the major media types in the Eastern United States and Hitlers praises were sung in editorial after editorial. His invasion of Poland was trumpeted as right and just. The invasion of France in 1940 was certainly to be understood, according to the editorial boards of the East coast papers. And it appeared that with the Nazi war machine seemingly unstoppable, well the world was going to become a workers paradise under the benevolent leadership of Uncle Joe and Uncle Adolph. So far, so very, very good. Well, so, how to portray Uncle Adolph when, horror of horrors, he invaded Mother Russia in June of 1941? Well, in an ethical and intellectual turn of affairs, the radical left wingerrs who ran the East coats newspapers had to make Uncle Adolph the enemy of the Soldiers of and for the Workers Paradise. And so, Uncle Adolph became an anti-communist, anti-collectivist. He became a “conservative”. And his ally, the fascist Mussolini also became an anti-communist “conservative”. And the term, through the Goebbelization of the term has been applied to conservatives ever since. Though, Hitler and his socialist government is much, much closer to the left’s political mindset and absolutely nearly identical to the radical left than a Constitution loving guy like me type government could ever be ( my blog about concentrated power is here ).
    Oh, and the first “diversity laws” came from where? Correct. The same place where there was war against tobacco-to wit, Nazi Germany.
    Oh, and the term “politically correct” came from where? Nope. Gotcha. It came from Stalin’s USSR.
    Here ends today’s hopefully repetitive history lesson.

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