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Thread: Fairness Doctrine

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    Fairness Doctrine

    MEDIA MATTERS
    Senate support builds for 'Fairness Doctrine'
    Harkin accused of trying to 'squelch' 1st Amendment
    Posted: February 11, 2009
    11:30 pm Eastern

    By Bob Unruh
    2009 WorldNetDaily


    Sen. Tom Harkin with Senate President Harry Reid
    Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, has become the second U.S. senator in a week to endorse a return to the ideas behind the so-called "Fairness Doctrine," a policy abandoned under President Reagan in 1987 as unnecessary and unconstitutional.
    The policy, originally introduced in 1949, required that [COLOR=blue ! important][COLOR=blue ! important]radio[/COLOR][/COLOR] and television stations give equal time to conservative and liberal opinions on political issues under the threat of penalties or license revocation.
    According to Politico.com, Harkin told radio host and WND columnist Bill Press, "We gotta get the Fairness Doctrine back in law again."
    WND reported just days earlier when Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., told Press, "I think it's absolutely time to pass a standard. Now, whether it's called the Fairness Standard, whether it's called something else I absolutely think it's time to be bringing accountability to the airwaves."






    Stabenow's husband, Tom Athans, was executive vice president of the left-leaning talk radio network Air America. He left the network in 2006, when it filed for bankruptcy, and co-founded the TalkUSA Radio [COLOR=blue ! important][COLOR=blue ! important]Network[/COLOR][/COLOR].
    Tell your government no to the so-called "Fairness Doctrine." Sign WND's Petition to Block Congressional Attacks on Freedom of Speech and Press now!
    According to the show transcript, Harkin told Press:
    "Well, anytime just let me know Bill. I love being with you, and thanks again for all you do to get the truth and the facts out there. By the way, I read your Op-Ed in the [COLOR=blue ! important][COLOR=blue ! important]Washington[/COLOR][/COLOR] Post the other day. I ripped it out, I took it into my office and said 'there you go, we gotta get the Fairness Doctrine back in law again.'"
    Press responded: "Alright, well good for you. You know, we gotta [COLOR=blue ! important][COLOR=blue ! important]work[/COLOR][/COLOR] on that, because they are just shutting down progressive talk from one city after another. All we want is, you know, some balance on the airwaves, that's all. You know, we're not going to take any of the conservative voices off the airwaves, but just make sure that there are a few progressives and liberals out there, right?"
    "Exactly, and that's why we need the fair that's why we need the Fairness Doctrine back," Harkin said.
    His statements prompted an immediate response from Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, a co-sponsor of the Broadcasters Freedom Act, which would keep the Federal Communications Commission from reinstating the "Fairness Doctrine."
    "It is incredible that in today's modern media age, where information is easily accessible in so many different forms, Tom Harkin wants to squelch your First Amendment rights in favor of Chinese-style censorship," King said.
    "Does Rush Limbaugh intimidate Senator Harkin so much that he wants to ration free speech? Allowing the government, run by liberals, to control broadcast journalism and determine what on-air content is and is not 'fair' will stifle our free speech and hurt our free flow of information," he said.
    Michael Calderone at Politico reported Press told him he's hoping for congressional hearings on the "accountability" for radio stations, and "whether stations are honoring the language in their public licenses."
    Contributors to the Politico forum were incensed:


    • "Liberal talk radio can't pay their way. Companies will not sponsor programs that have no listeners."
    • "Memo to liberal: Get your own radio audience. Is anything more pathetic then (sic) passing a law forcing people to listen to your crap?"
    • "Seems like it's time for a new [COLOR=blue ! important][COLOR=blue ! important]Cabinet[/COLOR][/COLOR] post Minister of Truth! War is Peace Freedom is Slavery Ignorance is Strength Obama is the Messiah."
    • "No one is 'shutting down' liberal talk radio. They are going out of [COLOR=blue ! important][COLOR=blue ! important]business[/COLOR][/COLOR] because advertisers do not want to spend money on shows that no one listens to."
    • "There are plenty of opportunities for liberal talk. Is it conservative talk's fault that no one listens to their drivel?"

    L. Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center, said Harkin can be added "to an ever growing laundry list of liberal censors that seek to silence free speech by shutting down conservative talk radio."
    "There are some liberals in the media that insist the fear of a return of the Censorship Doctrine is an imaginary one that exists only in the heads of paranoid conservatives. Meanwhile, one liberal leader after another publicly states his or her intent to bring it back," he said.
    Stabenow had said: "I think it's absolutely time to pass a standard. Now, whether it's called the Fairness Standard, whether it's called something else I absolutely think it's time to be bringing accountability to the airwaves. I mean, our new president has talked rightly about accountability and transparency. You know, that we all have to step up and be responsible. And, I think in this case, there needs to be some accountability and standards put in place."
    Asked by Press if she could be counted on to push for hearings in the Senate this year "to bring these (radio station) owners in and hold them accountable," Stabenow replied: "I have already had some discussions with colleagues and, you know, I feel like that's gonna happen. Yep."
    Meanwhile, as WND has previously reported, other Democratic legislators have tried to claim talk about a reintroduction of the so-called "Fairness Doctrine" is merely conspiracy-mongering by right-wing talk radio and its partisan cheerleaders.
    But other Democrats in the Senate and House and even a few Republicans have made no secret of their support for such legislation.
    "For many, many years, we operated under a Fairness Doctrine in this country," Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., told Albuquerque radio station KKOB last year. "I think the country was well-served. I think the public discussion was at a higher level and more intelligent in those days than it has become since."
    Sen. John [COLOR=blue ! important][COLOR=blue ! important]Kerry[/COLOR][/COLOR], D-Mass., told WYNC's Bryan Lehrer Show in 2007, "I think the Fairness Doctrine ought to be there and I also think equal time doctrine ought to come back."
    Last June, John Gizzi reported in Human Events a conversation with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in which he asked her if she personally supported revival of the "Fairness Doctrine."
    "Yes," Pelosi answered.
    And as recently as December, Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif. who serves on the Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee told the Palo Alto Daily Post she still believes in the "Fairness Doctrine" and will work on bringing it back.
    "It should and will affect everyone," Eshoo pledged.
    Obama's press secretary, Robert Gibbs, has said, "Sen. Obama does not support reimposing the Fairness Doctrine on broadcasters. He considers this debate to be a distraction from the conversation we should be having about opening up the airwaves and modern communications to as many diverse viewpoints as possible."
    But the debate heated up again recently when Obama singled out Rush Limbaugh, the king of talk radio, for criticism: "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done."
    FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell, a Bush appointee whose term runs through June, however, warned that Democrats may be adopting a stealthier approach to shutting down conservatives on talk radio.
    In a speech to the Media Institute in Washington last week, Multichannel News reports, McDowell suggested there are efforts to implement the controversial policy without using the red-flagged "Fairness Doctrine" label.
    "That's just Marketing 101," McDowell explained. "If your brand is controversial, make it a new brand."
    WND also has reported on the possibility that the strings that come with the so-called "Fairness Doctrine," which addressed only broadcast media, could be expanded to include print media.
    Bozell, president of the media watchdog organization Media Research Center, contends that if a news company even a [COLOR=blue ! important][COLOR=blue ! important]bankrupt[/COLOR][/COLOR] one accepts taxpayer money, it can no longer be trusted to hold government accountable to the people.
    "How in the world can [a] [COLOR=blue ! important][COLOR=blue ! important]paper[/COLOR][/COLOR] propose to be a watchdog for the public when it's had conversations about being bankrolled by the government?" Bozell asked in The Philadelpia Bulletin.
    "When a media outlet proposes a bailout, it proposes to put itself under the authority of the entity bailing it out," Bozell said. "Therefore, if it's a government, the media entity proposes to become an arm of the government."
    Bozell was reacting to news that the publisher of both the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News has been in discussions with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell about a potential government bailout of Philadelphia Media Holdings, the company that owns the newspapers.
    Reuters reports a similar situation in Connecticut, where State Rep. Frank Nicastro, D-Bristol, petitioned the state government to step in and help save the Bristol Press and the New Britain Herald after their parent company accumulated hundreds of millions of dollars in debt, though the papers have since been purchased by a new owner.

  2. #2
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    I may be wrong in my facts, so if I am, anyone feel free to correct me....

    My understanding in re the Fairness Doctrine is that (a) the question involves access to a limited/finite public resource, the airwaves and (b) that because bandwidth is limited, there is an argument to be made that all points of view have equal access. Censorship/first amendment doesn't come into it because the vehicle for the dissemination of material is the aforesaid public resource. In other words, Rush Limbaugh (for example) is free to spread his views anywhere he likes/that will have him - provided it's a private means of transmission, such as satellite radio, or a privately owned newspaper, etc. But he does not have a right to monopolize or dominate a public resource. Money - profitability - is irrelevant here. It doesn't matter how many people listen to his show, either.

    I will also say that as much as I have problems with various liberals, that shithead Limbaugh and his clones have done far more massive and perhaps irreparable harm to the public discourse of this nation than anyone since "Dr." King and his assault on the sanctity of free association, merit and private property.
    Last edited by Eric; 02-13-2009 at 12:57 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    I may be wrong in my facts, so if I am, anyone feel free to correct me....

    My understanding in re the Fairness Doctrine is that (a) the question involves access to a limited/finite public resource, the airwaves and (b) that because bandwidth is limited, there is an argument to be made that all points of view have equal access. Censorship/first amendment doesn't come into it because the vehicle for the dissemination of material is the aforesaid public resource. In other words, Rush Limbaugh (for example) is free to spread his views anywhere he likes/that will have him - provided it's a private means of transmission, such as satellite radio, or a privately owned newspaper, etc. But he does not have a right to monopolize or dominate a public resource. Money - profitability - is irrelevant here. It doesn't matter how many people listen to his show, either.

    I will also say that as much as I have problems with various liberals, that shithead Limbaugh and his clones have done far more massive and perhaps irreparable harm to the public discourse of this nation than anyone since "Dr." King and his assault on the sanctity of free association, merit and private property.
    This is going to be interesting. It will be interesting to see "conservatism" being driven underground. Right now, "conservatism" is merely a collection of radio personalities as embodied by Limbaugh and the other talkers. The F.D. has the prospect of curtailing their "influence." Maybe. Maybe not.

    On the political end, if Limbaugh et al are forced off the air, people who believe in liberty, etc will be forced to operate and organize at the grassroots level like never before. It will be like the the years preceeding the election of Reagan. In Reagan, we got as close to the real deal as you can get.

    People like Limbaugh and Hannity have diluted the influence of real conservatism in DC by both disparaging it and by demagoging the issues.

    On the other hand, if the F.D. fails to take these idiots off the air, radio listeners will be subject to them and Air America type people, shutting out up and coming broadcasters with anti-statist points of view (not that they are getting much airtime anyway). That is what I fear.

    That's my short take.
    Last edited by swamprat; 02-13-2009 at 01:08 PM.

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    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    I see two issues here; I have already addressed the Fairness Doctrine - but let me tackle this one:


    "This is going to be interesting. It will be interesting to see "conservatism" being driven underground. Right now, "conservatism" is merely a collection of radio personalities as embodied by Limbaugh and the other talkers."

    Limbaugh isn't a conservative; he's a corporate-statist PR shill. He doesn't love freedom. He loves money. He is an opportunist and a coward and a bully.

    His brand of "conservatism" is a mish-mash of ignorance and overt deception; of authority-worship and love of brutality for its own sake. It is Chimp worship personified. Reagan would surely be appalled by this cretinous bag of runny diarrhea.

    Real conservatives aren't radio thugs and low-rent (but highly paid) demagogues such as Limbaugh and that egregious cunt Anne Coulter.

    I admire conservatives like Ron Paul - who are intelligent, educated, civil people who practice what they tout.
    Last edited by Eric; 02-13-2009 at 01:57 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    I see two issues here; I have already addressed the Fairness Doctrine - but let me tackle this one:


    "This is going to be interesting. It will be interesting to see "conservatism" being driven underground. Right now, "conservatism" is merely a collection of radio personalities as embodied by Limbaugh and the other talkers."

    Limbaugh isn't a conservative; he's a corporate-statist PR shill. He doesn't love freedom. He loves money. He is an opportunist and a coward and a bully.

    His brand of "conservatism" is a mish-mash of ignorance and overt deception; of authority-worship and love of brutality for its own sake. It is Chimp worship personified. Reagan would surely be appalled by this cretinous bag of runny diarrhea.

    Real conservatives aren't radio thugs and low-rent (but highly paid) demagogues such as Limbaugh and that egregious cunt Anne Coulter.

    I admire conservatives like Ron Paul - who are intelligent, educated, civil people who practice what they tout.
    What is egregious about Limbaugh, Hannity and others is their demagoguery, the ability to lead people down a path of false alternatives. I am against the fairness doctrine, however, I do think that big corporate media should be broken up in some form or fashion. There is a difference between freedom of the press and corporate dominance of the media. We have the latter.

    Yeah, I agree Limbaugh is not a conservative, but he wears that label. He needs to be driven underground.
    Last edited by swamprat; 02-13-2009 at 03:29 PM.

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    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swamprat View Post
    What is egregious about Limbaugh, Hannity and others is their demagoguery, the ability to lead people down a path of false alternatives. I am against the fairness doctrine, however, I do think that big corporate media should be broken up in some form or fashion. There is a difference between freedom of the press and corporate dominance of the media. We have the latter.

    Yeah, I agree Limbaugh is not a conservative, but he wears that label. He needs to be driven underground.
    I'd like to see someone beat the shit out of him in public; better yet, I'd like to see him lose his money and be forced to try to earn a living in the freeeeeeeeeeeeee market he loves so much !

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    I'd like to see someone beat the shit out of him in public; better yet, I'd like to see him lose his money and be forced to try to earn a living in the freeeeeeeeeeeeee market he loves so much !
    He couldn't hold down a job at McDonalds.

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    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swamprat View Post
    He couldn't hold down a job at McDonalds.

    I agree.

    He was a failure at everything before corporate America realized his simple-minded and cynical, but belligerent and effective, "mouthpiece conservatism" would sell to the under-educated, over-religious room temperature IQ dolts (the ones whose anthem is that treacly "where at least I know I'm free" song) out there. You know, the type that supported Bush - and who get moist between the legs over Sarah Palin.

    It's interesting to read the pamphleteers of the revolutionary era such as Thomas Paine (and Madison, Hamilton, et al, in their anonymous defense of the Constitution). These things were written for the public, the average man. But the level of erudition, of literacy, of thoughtfulness - to say nothing of cogency - is astonishing.

    Then listen to Limbaugh - or The Chimp. Or Palin.

    That is the extent of the intellectual mind-rot of today's "conservative" "elite." They are literally a bunch of goons, whose appeal is limited to those even more benighted than themselves.
    Last edited by Eric; 02-14-2009 at 07:10 AM.

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