Thursday, February 5, 2009

Unfairness Doctrine

Michael Calderone, at Politico, posted a transcript of a Bill Press interview with Senator Debbie stabenow.
SENATOR DEBBIE STABENOW (D-MI): 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.
  • accountability
  • transparency
  • responsible
  • standards
Meaning what, exactly? How do those terms apply to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other talk radio hosts? The core issue is subject & content. Mainstream talk radio discusses politics, economics, morality, sports & entertainment. It presents a mixture of fact and opinion in an entertaining format designed to attract and retain audience share. Without an audience, they would be out of business. Most attempts at building Liberal national talk show networks have failed because they were not sufficiently entertaining to attract and hold an audience.

Liberals are offended by exposure of their hypocrisy, conflicts of interest, scandals and policies. Conservative talk radio contributed to the defeat of amnesty for illegal aliens and is contributing to a significant reduction in the popularity of the "Economic Stimulus" scam.

It has been said that the antidote to offensive speech is rebuttal. But free expression implies the right to choose what we listen to. Nobody can forbid us to listen, neither can they compel us to listen. The Liberals seek to monopolize the debate by erecting artificial barrios to Conservative broadcasters.

Issues such as the "Economic Stimulus" scam which threatens to saddle the next generation with insurmountable debt without real short term economic benefit and the "National Health Care" scam which threatens to make medical treatment a rare commodity, subject to rationing, need to be carefully examined for both intended & unintended consequences and hidden costs. They should be subject to open debate, not rammed through in a hurry, unexamined, as urgent business.

The "public airwaves" shibboleth needs to be exposed. "Airwaves" are a fantasy concept. Acoustic transmission of sound operates through waves in the air. Radio does not require air, it operates by electromagnetic radiation, which is privately generated, by each broadcast station. Government's involvement should be limited to allocation of frequency ranges and setting power limits to prevent interference between transmitters. In an open free market, driven by consumer demand, there is no need for content control.

The Liberals seek to outlaw effective opposition to their power grabbing schemes and lock themselves in power for the long term. Their "fairness doctrine" is not about fairness, it is about excluding their opponents from the debate.

In a free and open market, without government interference, the listeners will decide what they want to hear and broadcasters will either provide it or lose market share & advertising revenue and change format / content or go out of business. In a closed, regulated market, listeners will either accept the government approved drivel or turn off the radio. Without full and open debate, the Liberals will be able to impose their fascist plans without effective opposition.
“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” George Washington
If that is not what you want, now is the time for you to get organized and make your voice heard. Let Nancy Pelosi, Debbie Stabenow & Chuck Schumer know that their current course will lead them out of office in the next election cycle.

There is another factor to consider: conflict of interest. Senator Stabenow is married to a man involved in a major Liberal talk radio failure.
Athans, co-founder and former CEO of Democracy Radio, is an interesting figure who may stand to benefit if the federal government mandates the sale or breakup of media properties. Athans, who also served as an official of the liberal Air America radio network, is the husband of Michigan Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow. He developed and produced the liberal Ed Schultz and Stephanie Miller radio shows. [Cliff Kincaid - The Liberal Plan to Take Over Talk Radio]

Do you want the voices of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and other Conservatives to be available on the radio? Now is the time to take action, before power mad Liberals railroad censorship through the Congress & FCC. Sign and promote the MRC's petition in support of the Broadcaster Freedom Act.

This subject is hot, on the back burner right now, ready to be brought forward at any time. Yesterday at 5:21 p.m., someone in the office of the Sargent at Arms of the United States Senate viewed Please act without delay. Sign the petition linked above. Then go to, enter your zip code and click the Federal Officials link. Tell your Representative & Senators that you want the Broadcaster Freedom Act passed and enacted into law immediately. Tell them that your next vote will depend on how they vote on this bill.


Ema Nymton said...

Ali Ben Ali Mohammad Abdul,

"Issues such as the "Economic Stimulus" scam which threatens to saddle the next generation with insurmountable debt without real short term economic benefit and the "National Health Care" scam which threatens to make medical treatment a rare commodity, subject to rationing, need to be carefully examined for both intended & unintended consequences and hidden costs."


"The stimulus bill is making "conservatives" run around like screeching idiots for two reasons.

1. It is of course their default mode.

2. More importantly, though, if the bill works -- even if it just kinda-sorta works -- then what do they have left of their dogma? If it can be shown that the government can actually do stuff like "fix problems," then there's no just point to conservatism. Which, you know, there isn't, except insofar as it's a massive jobs program for innumerable, innumerate right-wing hacks, clowns, charlatans, liars, frauds, true-believers, and imbeciles of the Jonah Goldberg class.

All "conservatism" is, at root, is vapid sloganeering about how "government doesn't work." It's easy enough for them to "prove" this when they're in charge, as they've so spectacularly demonstrated. But what if someone can come in after them and run the place competently?

Well, that's an existential crisis, isn't it? Or at least it is perceived as such.

It's incoherent, freakish, and strange. It's the sort of gibberish produced by someone faced with the choice of either cheering on appalling economic catastrophe, or else bringing on his own utter ideological obsolescence."
Publish on Firedoglake Thursday February 5, 2009 8:01 pm by Thers


So up yours.


PackSmack said...

Good post, Ben. I signed the petition. (It looks Ema is going off the deep[er] end and really losing it.)