Friday, January 26, 2007

Bring Back the Fairness Doctrine

When the United States started dishing out scarce airwaves to broadcasters in the 20s and 30s, a central part of the deal was that public airwaves had to serve the general public interest; and to ensure that public interest was indeed served, the 1949 Fairness Doctrine required all licensees to offer different views to their audience.

In the 80s, Pres. Ronald Reagan summarily did away with the Fairness Doctrine after an unfavorable court ruling by darling judges of the radical right, Robert Bork and Antonin Scalia.

And before you could say...what the FCC? right wingbats Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and their ilk unimpededly starting spewing their lies filled with vile on the airwaves.

Well, well, it's a brand new day; and there is a new sheriff in town.

The Washington Post reports that "congressional Democrats [are] prepare[d] to give the Federal Communications Commission its toughest scrutiny in years."

"They've effectively emasculated any public-interest standards that existed" for radio and TV stations, said Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.).
Rep. Dennis Kucinich is also planning to resurrect the "one-time FCC rule...that requires broadcasters to make time available for the airing of opposing viewpoints" by introducing a bill in Congress that would give back the airwaves to the people--not just the moneyed interest of the Rupert Murdocks and Clear Channels of the world.

Power to the people!

Actually, power to the people is letting people choose for themselves what they want to listen to through the free market.

Power to the communists is what you are proposing.

Power to the socialists!
Hmmm, I supposed that means you are totally opposed to the school district in Washington State that told a teacher she could not show the Al Gore movie, "An Inconvenient Truth" to her students?

Public interest of limited airwaves means that something precious belongs to the public and is not for sale to the highest bidder and likewise must be protected so everyone can share equally; it belongs to EVERYONE equally and is not subject to market forces.

It does not belong to some right wingbat or corporate robber baron who pours millions and millions of $$$ into a venture, like the Washington Times publisher and then squashes opposing views.

Do it in print, do it on cable television with unlimited airwaves, but not on my limited airwaves.
Speaking as someone who prefers to listen to NPR, rather than Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity, it seems to me that the best solution to the alleged takeover of the airwaves by conservative talk-show hosts is for liberals to start their own talk shows and offer them as an alternative for the listening public.

Maybe they could call it "Air America." That would surely attract a large audience.
Again, it's not about market forces!!!!!

There are limited airwaves and no group, whether of liberal or conservative bent should have supremacy. In fact, I support taking out all patently biased or slanted "editorializing" out of news on the airwaves!
Are you saying that radio and television should be off-limits for discussing controversial topics or political issues?

You did have your "fairness" balance on "Air America" and other shows but it seems that no one was listening... it is just obvious that not even the liberals can stomach listening to their own vomit...
Common, do I need to draw you a picture. Of course you can discuss ALL the controversial topics you want. It's just that every side gets equal time!

Think about it...

When did America start to split at the seams with vitriol and red-white America divide?

Oh yea, right after the Fairness Doctrine went by the way side.

I don't give a hoot whether progressives never tune in to a radio show. That's not the point. If and when they do, their voice should be heard!
What most people don't seem to realize is that the broadcast "airwaves" belong to "we the people." Cable is a different matter, since it involves wires that run to your house.

The public gives broadcasters the right to use our public airwave, and in return they USED to have to do so in return for providing public service and public information -- such as announcements about community events, local news, etc.

Broadcast networks like NBC, ABC, CBS etc, have literally made billions of dollars through the FREE use of our public airwaves.

Before the Reagan administration took its wrecking ball to the FCC, there were regulations in place to protect the public interest (in our airwaves).

Regulations like:
One person (or corporation) could not own more than a limited number of media outlets in any one market.

This was to encourage, or insure, that a variety of points of view would be heard.

What we have today is basically one point of view on the radio -- Clear Channel -- and about five points of view (that realistically all deliver the same message) on television.

The other item the Reagan wrecking ball dismantled was the Fairness Doctrine, which basically said that if you disagreed with something that was said on a public broadcast channel you had the right to ask for time to present an opposing point of view.

One would think, the way conservatives complain about "the liberal media" they would want a Fairness Doctrine, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Which has to make one wonder if they really do know it's a myth that the media is "liberal."

The Reagan administrations actions really ruined what could be a wonderful information technology for us all. Instead, we have watched television be "dumbed down" to the level that if it can't be understood by a 6th grader, it doesn't go on the air.

The corporate control of the media has also lead to another great tragedy, and that is that instead of hard news, we have entertainment news. We should all be suspicious when NBC, ABC, CBS spends week camped outside Michael Jackson's home, instead of investigating the growing number of international terrorist cells.

Gee, I wonder which is the least expensive to produce?

I don't know if it's possible to ever get back to a time when hundreds, if not thousands of individuals (or small corporations) owned all the various television and radio stations across the country. It would be interesting to see what would rise to the top.

I do know that I don't care whether or not Brittany is wearing underwear -- but I do care about the billions of tax dollars unaccounted for in Iraq.

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