The Center for American Progress report, "The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio" discusses the "Imbalance" in talk radio programming. Their attitude holds talk radio to be unfairly dominated by Conservative talk show hosts; they seed ways and means of increasing the number and proportion of Socialist talk show hosts and broadcast hours.
The authors assert that the "Fairness Doctrine" was not repealed.
First, from a regulatory perspective, the Fairness Doctrine was never formally repealed. The FCC did announce in 1987 that it would no longer enforce certain regulations under the umbrella of the Fairness Doctrine, and in 1989 a circuit court upheld the FCC decision. 11 The Supreme Court, however, has never overruled the cases that authorized the FCC’s enforcement of the Fairness Doctrine. Many legal experts argue that the FCC has the authority to enforce it again—thus it technically would not be considered repealed.12
Simply reinstating the Fairness Doctrine will do little to address the gap between conservative and progressive talk unless the underlying elements of the public trustee doctrine are enforced, in particular, the requirements of local accountability and the reasonable airing of important matters.
While the authors assert that they do not seek to reduce the number of Conservative talk shows, they seek to increase the number of Socialist talk shows. With a limited number of hours in the day and broadcast stations in each market area, this is a zero sum game. Increasing the availability of one side must reduce the other unless some other programming option is reduced.
License renewal previously required local engagement with the community—the solicitation of local feedback on programming and accountable public reporting of this input so that the FCC could determine if the broadcaster was upholding its public interest responsibilities. Now licenses are renewed by “postcard,” a stamp in the corner of a scrap of paper now substitutes for all of the local interaction, very little of which is still required by law. Without these policies fostering local responsiveness, the move toward lowest common denominator syndicated programming was facilitated.
[Endnotes related to the quoted paragraphs.]
- See Syracuse Peace Council v. FCC.
- See Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC, 1969.
My position is that broadcast content should be determined by the market place, not by government fiat, either direct or filtered through semi captive advocacy groups.
The print media are dominated by the left wing. Broadcast television is dominated by the left wing. Cable television is dominated by the left wing. NPR is dominated by the left wing. Conservative talk radio is the alternative information & opinion source for Conservatives who are fed up with the free flowing lies and dripping venom offered up by the other media outlets.
The regional talk radio outlet tried Chuck Harder's show, it was not popular. They replaced it with Jim Hightower, who was not popular. Michael Medved lasted a little longer, but was replaced. Larry King was not popular and was replaced. Dr. Laura did not last long either. Likewise Bill O'Reiley. Steve Malzburg is on taped delay Sunday nights. Rush Limbaugh & Sean Hannity get three hours and Mark Levin is cleanup hitter for two hours.
In a free market, we listeners get what we want in the long term. Setting up minority groups to dictate what we can hear is an end run around the First Amendment. The right to speak implies an equally important right to listen.
This poorly camouflaged attempt to shield President Obama and his allies in Congress from truthful criticism must not be allowed to succeed. Send emails to your Representative & Senators demanding preservation of your right to listen!