Interpretation/opinion of the "Fairness Doctrine".

This might be lengthy...patience, y'all.

I was listening to Neal Boortz (a mini-Rush Limbaugh) on FM 101.1 talk radio a few days ago and he was talking about how he believed that the democrats were pushing to reinstate the "Fairness Doctrine"...something that has had a varied past....in order to rid the radio airways of conservative talk radio. I went to the "Net" and found what I consider the best of the two sides on this issue. Here are the links for each side's views for those of you who are interested:
http://www.heritage.org/research/regulation/em368.cfm
http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0212-03.htm

From what I'm hearing, the "fairness doctrine", if implemented (passed by congress) would require that on talk radio, there must be an equal presentation of BOTH political sides of any particular issue. In other words, if a particular conservative radio talk show chooses to discuss negatives with regard to, say, an Obama supreme court selection in the future, that station/show must give equal time to positives with regard to whatever selection would be made (for example).

Conservative radio talk shows are far and away the most listened to political shows on radio. Nope...don't need to prove it because even the left admits it. Rush Limbaugh, regardless what kind of pig liberals/left-leaners believe him to be, generates billions in revenue for his syndicated networks. Ad dollars just keep coming in because of the listenership. Does he put out "hate speech"....certainly. But, is he any worse than the National Enquirer with their lies and distortions?

To me, conservative talk radio is entertaining and admittedly extremely opinionated. I listen to Boortz because it humors me. And, I admit to sometimes totally agreeing with some of his presentations.

I believe that trying to re-implement the "Fairness Doctrine" with regard to radio is an attempt by the left in this country to shut down righwing radio. I think it is against the 1st Amendment. Regardless of your opinion....everyone has the right to their opinion. Without that, we might just as well throw out the Constitution.

What is your take? This is a left-leaning venue and I know you folks have an opinion on this.

Comments

Honestly, Smitty...I haven't seen it applied to issues

The only aspect of it I've ever paid attention to is the equal time rule. For example, if a radio show wanted to give Sue Myrick air time during an election then they would have to give her opponent air time if she had one. I've never been much of a talk radio fan since I don't like radio, so I haven't really put much thought into it. I guess it all depends on how it is interpreted, but I think allowing equal time for candidates can be applied to talk radio without putting a crimp in their style.

I'm more interested in seeing equal time reinstated, but I think most reputable news sources already do their best to make that happen. The only argument I can give in support of the fairness doctrine is that broadcasters are given/purchase a license to broadcast, but they are doing so over public airwaves. Since the airwaves are public, it could be argued that broadcasters have a responsibility to present as many sides as possible on important issues.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Right Wing Talk Radio Savior of the World? Not any more!

Conservative radio talk shows are far and away the most listened to political shows on radio. Nope...don't need to prove it because even the left admits it* Smitty in search of the unknown mainstream media thinking the right wing radio is the wonder of misinformation

Boy are you a typical generic conservative republican who has no idea that a whole new generation of Radio hosts are taking to the net and tearing the conservative market to sheds...

http://www.globaltruthnetwork.com/

I've seen some of what you're saying, Max

Yeah...I've seen some of the new sites popping up on the Net counter to the conservative radio talk shows. I've also listened to more aggressive liberal talk radio of late. However, "tearing the conservative market to shreds"....well, that's a bit of a reach, my man.

I love the way some folks here like to brand posters with labels (typical generic conservative republican ?????). I listen to conservative talk radio sometimes while I'm driving. It's hilarious. Some of the stuff is SOOO over the top, it even makes this "old white guy republican" (another brand some of us have to endure here) LMAO. I recently listened to one host actually try to defend the "Barack the Magic Negro" song as being "political satire". It was so rediculous...I know the other drivers that looked over and saw my tears from laughter thought I was some kind of idiot. No granted, I DO sometimes agree totally with some of the issues they present and totally buy in to the particular spin they present on them.

Max, conservative radio talk shows have a HUGE listenership. It's an enemy to liberal democratic causes and to the democratic party itself. I truly believe that the "Fairness Doctrine" will be implemented and it will be done so to try to reduce the impact conservative talk radio has in this country.

The best thinking is independent thinking.

Smitty I know your comment was directed to Max,

but I have a question: do you really think that the right-wing talk shows are a threat to the Democratic Party? It's not like Democrats (besides Lieberman) listen to them and decide "Wow! I've been wrong all this time! I'm going to switch parties and vote straight ticket Republican from now on!"

I figure that the purpose of extremist talk shows on either side is to fire up the troops, and in some cases, create straw bogey men for the troops to froth at the mouth over. I'm including both extremes, here. Rick Warren is the current bogeyman for the left. (Not saying he doesn't deserve criticism for his lobbying against human rights, nor am I saying that I'm happy with Obama "reaching out" to him.)

Since I don't listen to Limbaugh and his coreligionists (joke, please), I don't know what their bogeyman is -- unless it's this fairness doctrine that you seem worried about.

Anyhow - interesting discussion.

I can see the "equal time" thing working for candidates

and actual issues we're going to vote on. But honestly -- to require that a radio or television network provide fair and balanced news coverage: that's ridiculous! Can't be done.

The way I see it with talk radio, and talk tv, is this: I'm not forced to listen to Limbaugh, Boorst, or any of their ilk. My radio changes stations quite easily. So does my tv.

If you don't like what is being represented on a particular station or by a particular program, by all means, write to their sponsors or programmers to your heart's content. Or switch the station.

It's different when it comes to election season, when there are declared, official candidates and defined ballot initiatives/items. At that point, I believe it is responsible for news programs to have representation of both sides of the issue. (Please note the emphasis on the word "news".) I certainly don't consider Limbaugh, et. al. news shows. Honestly, I don't consider Olbermann or Maddow news shows, either. They provide opinion and commentary on the news. Editorials, if you like.

There - is my opinion clear as mud? It would be nice to hear the thoughts of radiogirl, the legion of dome, binker, and any other actual news reporter out there.

I think the FD issue is more

I think the FD issue is more about giving the right something to get all up in arms about than anything else. Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think there's any realistic push by anyone in congress get this out on the floor.

I'm a moderate Democrat.

The 'Fairness doctrine' is not a new thing....

Going back some years, it was not allowed for any individuals to own radio and TV stations at the same time, and the number of each was limited. Also, the aim of the news broadcasters was not to appear biased. Then we had the pronouncements from the neo-cons that 'government is the problem'. They succeeeded in that endeavor, thus allowing Murdoch and some others to buy up the media, and the news was determined by their 'selection' process. If anyone watches the "Jim Lehrer News Hour", that might be the idea, where opposing views and analysis are aired about news stories. I don't think it would affect the "Limbaugh" type shows, on which opinions are voiced. Seems that many of those 'outdated' laws from the 30s or 40s served the purpose, as those legislators understood the dark sides of human nature quite well.

Correct...Fairness Doctrine is not new

That's beside the point.

The reason for the democratic legislation considering it is, however, is new. If this is not a ploy to shut down or severely limit political talk radio (which conservatives have the predominant listenership), then I am washed up on this issue.

We'll see how this turns out. Right now, we here have differing opinions, I see.

The best thinking is independent thinking.

If it has anything to do with breaking

up the Murdoch style media empires, I would be in favor of it. If it's just to try and make radio "fair and balanced", pffttt...Fox News, need I say more?

Nah...nothing to do with that, loftT

Do a Google...find out for yourself. Make your own determination.

I just KNOW you're not in favor of government taking away freedom of speech regardless how repugnant it is to you....right?

I mean, that IS what liberals stand for, isn't it?

The best thinking is independent thinking.

I'd just be happy if people were warned

at regular intervals on those conservative talk radio shows that "The data quoted, used, spewed, etc. in the current opinion broadcast should be relied upon for accuracy in the same manner that you would rely upon a rabid dog to baby sit your child."

See ... opinions are one thing, Smitty. We've all got them. Newspapers have had editorial (opinion) pages for ages and ages. They range from liberal to conservative and in big cities you used to have a paper that was reliably one or the other.

The trouble with radio is that any idiot (smart enough to read or not) can listen to it. The trouble with right-wing talk radio is that the host's opinions are almost invariably presented not as opinion, but as fact ... backed up by "this fax just in from Xxxxx in North Dakota."

Put together, this nexus of opinion presented as fact raised to the power of hundreds of thousands of idiots out in radioland is an incredibly destructive scourge on the overall civic knowledge and health of this nation. Everyone is not entitled to his own set of facts. That is my opinion. Seriously.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

I see your point, Leslie

I do see your point, Leslie, but you still have to admit that even those talk shows have their right to free speech. It isn't about whether the listeners are ignorant or whether you agree or disagree with what is said...it's about freedom of speech. That doesn't just apply to one political side or the other.

The best thinking is independent thinking.

Yes, Freedom of Speech is sacrosanct

in a free democracy.

But as the Supreme Court once ruled, it ends where the safety and security of innocent bystanders is concerned.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schenck_v._United_States

You can't yell, "Fire!" in a crowded movie theater, not because you don't have the right to say whatever you want, but because those words pouring loudly out of your mouth with urgency and force of authority cause others to behave in ways that are destructive to themselves and to others for no rational purpose.

I understand that putting the genie of "truth in political discourse" back in the box is probably impossible. Ever since Jesse Helms bloviated against civil rights, the ERA, affirmative action, etc. back in the day, railing against the evil libruls has been all the rage ... not to mention a HUGE gold mine of a money making endeavor.

However, in my opinion, because of the destructive nature of some of the opinions presented as "fact" by conservative talking heads (i.e., everyone on welfare lives like royalty on your tax dollar; people who get any kind of public assistance do not have jobs; emergency rooms are America's universal health care system; only the stupid or lazy ever need a helping hand; big box stores are good for local economies; people who are poor deserve it (somehow); the current financial crisis is the fault of minorities who've been allowed to buy homes by liberals who passed laws against racial prejudice in banking, etc. etc. etc.), they shouldn't be able to lie with abandon to argue their political point, either.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

And, of course, those are exceptions...

Leslie...what you've cited are exceptions to what is truly said on conservative radio. Yes, those things are said by "radicals"...and no, they're not true or even helpful, of course. But, when you use a small sample of some radical-speak to justify taking away a freedom (such as freedom of speech) it takes away from that freedom.

Government can't be expected to take away people's freedom of speech just because some people say things that are untrue, racist, against the mainstream thought etc. This isn't just about stopping radical conservative thought/radical conservative presentations on radio just because it's abhorrent or unjustified. Rather, it's about taking away that thought/presentation just because it isn't "mainstream".

Freedom of speech isn't about who is right or who is wrong. It's about freedom...nothing more.

The best thinking is independent thinking.

My apologies if I didn't make myself clear ...

which I see on re-reading, I didn't ... I don't think anyone is going to shut down conservative talk radio. If they could do that, they could shut us all down, no? What's good for the goose is good for the gander and all that ...

What disturbs me about conservative radio is what I perceive to be a propensity for using carefully cherry picked numbers and quotes, not just to argue policy but to encourage and fomment distrust of "the other", disdain of liberals, dislike of gov't, disenfrancisement of the already disenfrancized and all manner of anti-otherness that has found a very comfortable home on conservative talk radio. You call them exceptions, and I have to trust that you're being sincere about that, but I don't understand why it is that when I turn on conservative radio that is the majority of what I hear. Maybe I'm just unlucky.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

An answer, Leslie

Maybe it's what folks want to hear. I mean...conservative talk radio does have an extremely HUGE listenership. Hate it if you want...but, it's true. It wouldn't be able to stay on the air if not. Advertisers wouldn't support it if not.

I know you want to think that since Obama was elected and since a majority of the elections were won by democrats, conservativism is "passe".

Trust me, Leslie, that's a long way from the truth. Most of the "wins" you saw this year for democratic candidates was because people were just sick and tired of Bush & Co. It was a vote against republican establishment politics as usual. And, I for one, think it's a very good thing that happened. It's why we have a two-party system. It keeps us "in check". I plan on supporting Obama and I hope in my heart he and the democrats in congress "do the right thing"....not just the political thing.

Don't get too secure in your party's position. Conservative talk radio (if allowed to exist) will continue to bang on the left and will continue to have a huge listenership and will keep the mainstream conservatives believing as they do. Don't make the mistake of thinking because you're in power right now that you've won the country over to your cause. Republicans thought that and look what happened.

The best thinking is independent thinking.

yeah ... well, WWF is really popular, too.

And it's all fake, too. Or is it? hhmmmm ;)

I agree that conservative talk radio is what a lot of people want to hear. No need to convince me of that or warn me about getting comfy in my smug librul chair. I live in Johnston County. Just saying I'm liberal out loud here takes a spine of steel ... still.

I do disagree with you about why people voted for Democrats pretty much across the board, though. First, I think average people have caught on to the GOP's bait & switch political games. I hear it in the conversations of my co-workers. Second, maybe you weren't privy to the electricity around this election in the younger generations, but I saw it first hand. My heretofore totally doNOTtalktomeaboutpolitics-kids got involved and got excited about voting for Obama and other Democrats in November. They were finally hearing someone address their concerns in their language with zero-b.s. honesty, but with a firm confident conviction that we can do so much better than this.

I also think this goes way deeper than you think. It is true, much to my dismay, that conservatives aren't going away anytime soon, but consider this ... Dems won the biggest majorities in the youth vote and in the fastest growing ethnic groups in America. Just sayin' ...

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Knowing youths....

Your point "this year" about the youths is accurate. However, I know youths and they're very fickle. They get fired up on an issue...a fad...a "popularity". It fades fast.

Yes, I know you believe in your heart that the "youth vote" is and will forever be maintained by demos.

Leslie...remember the word "fickle". This was one year...a good year for you and for the demos. But, if you're lured into believing that with regard to the youth vote it was something other than a "flash-in-the-pan" popular cause...think again.

The best thinking is independent thinking.

Keep the faith, Brother.

Understand your need to do it, but I'd say there's more than a little twinge of "protesteth too mucheth" in your efforts to down play the trouncing you boys took this year .. .and in 06. But, I do understand the need to keep hope alive. Maybe it's just a bad dream and you'll wake up tomorrow and Karl's THEE math will be right ... time will tell.

I would counsel you, friend Republican, that if your hopes for 2010 and beyond lie in the return of disgusted apathy to the U25 voter, you need a new plan. ;) Good luck.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Genuflect if you wish....

Look...enjoy the win. But, as I said earlier...be careful. Things in politics change very rapidly. Do you think that when the republicans were in control of both houses of congress and the presidency that they weren't spewing what you're spewing?

You're intelligent, no doubt. But to say that you're going to "counsel" me...well, that's a bit presumptious, m'lady.

The best thinking is independent thinking.

:) Just returning the favor, friend.

No need to be touchy. Your counsel is taken under advisement.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

There is an appetite for conservative info-tainment

but it doesn't really serve any other purpose. Does it teach people about real conservative values? No.

The Republican party is not served by the dumbing down of issues to the public by the likes of Limbaugh. At least not if you want it to be anything valuable in the American discourse.

Limbaugh is a jerk

Look, Rush Limbaugh is a total and complete jerk. He has HUGE ratings in talk radio and generates a lot of ad dollars for the radio stations that allow his syndicated radio show to be aired. It's all about the buck-a-roos. Does he serve a purpose? Youbetcha (as Sarah Palin would say). He keeps mainstream conservative listeners pumped up. Limbaugh isn't on the air to "teach" anyone anything...rather, he is there to pander to their inner beliefs. And, he does so in a way that no one else can. If you hate him....then hate him. But, know this.........a kazillion (figure of speech) love him to death. Many are on the fence and it's a very fine line with them loving Rush or hating Rush. It doesn't take much for him to reel them in. It only takes an issue.

That "dumbing down" statement is right out of quite a few of the conservative talk personality's rhetoric. Nice try.

The best thinking is independent thinking.

But here's the thing ....

Rush is what all the rest of them aspire to be. They have the air time. They have the requisite level of integrity. But alas, most of them don't possess the natural born lung capacity of His Eminence, the Limbaugh.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Smitty, I'm not trying anything

except to engage you on what you think the state of the Republican party is coming to. Do you believe you will keep supporting Rush clones who blather on with the one issue talking points?

Politics is not just about winning. You actually need to govern after you win. Are these the folks you support? You want something better don't you?

It's a tough question, loftT, no doubt

Actually, loftT, the more involvement I have in venues like this one (and BlueNC is by far one of the premier political blogs around), the less I pay attention to the conservative "talking points" on FM101.1 talk radio. In fact, I even take with a grain of salt the things said on the Brad & Brit show in the early morning and these two lean left heavily on many issues. It's becoming more and more entertainment to me rather than my source of information. I have maintained from the get-go that I am going to support Obama and try not to pick him apart on minor issues. I will stick by my word on that, although I'll certainly question things Barack/demos do that I see as purely political and not in the interest of our country like this "Fairness Doctrine" we're discussing here and further bail-out money that comes with no strings attached if that happens (like the Bushman allowed) and getting involved in allowing unions to form without requiring secret elections by employees..etc.

I feel myself moving away from some of my far right side...you guys are working on me !!!

The best thinking is independent thinking.

Where you live

we can send you a blue panted donkey and you can put him in a corral in your front lawn. That should push you back to the right!

Sure your neighbors will think you've gone over the deep end. Egads, Smitty got himself a blue DEMO donkey, quick, call a doc. Hell HATH frozen over, smitty has gone BLUE!

Ah........N O T !

Whoa, horse ! Not sure, but me thinks you've misread the post I put on here that says I can feel myself moving a bit away from far right. I ain't that easy, parmea....but, I CAN be had !!

I remain EXTREMELY committed to opinions on MANY issues many of you left-leaners here on BlueNC disagree with totally. I do like your style here, don't get me wrong, and you all are hard nuts to crack 'cause you're all too damn edicated. Keeps me on my toes.

Keep that donkey where it belongs, parmea....in your own front yard.

The best thinking is independent thinking.

Smitty

The reason I like discussing issues with people who disagree with me is that it helps me clarify my own beliefs - so I'm sure I'm not just parroting something that a F.T.H.* said. I think since you've come here, we've found a way to discuss those hot button issues without things becoming too hot. I appreciate that.

*Famous Talking Head

I haven't always been so "congenial"

Well, I'll tell ya, Linda, I have grown as a blogger exponentially ever since coming to BlueNC. It wasn't long ago when I was pretty much of a jerk on blogs. I have presented a facade (sp?) in some, went falsely back and forth on issues so as to spark discussion...just pretty much used the venues to "play games".

Then, I began to realize that there really were great issues that we, as Americans, differ greatly on and it started to interest me greatly on how different our opinions are and where those opinions come from. I have always known that I leaned right on most issues. But, gotta admit it was kinda like a "devil's advocate" playing the other side sometimes. I made some enemies doing that, and I deserved them.

Because of you folks here, I've given that childish behavior up. BlueNC is a really great blog and I am thankful for your acceptance even though I usually don't agree with most posters here.

Have a great year, Linda.

The best thinking is independent thinking.