The Fairness Doctrine

Patrick Ruffini berates his fellow Republicans for obsessing on the "threat" of the return of the Fairness Doctrine. It does seem a strange crusade, given that Democrats certainly are not clamoring for the return of the Fairness Doctrine and Republicans (rightly in my view) believe the Media was pro-Obama. In any event, I thought I would look to see who was a proponent of the Fairness doctrine and why. (My recollection of the Fairness Doctrine was some ranting citizen on for 5 minutes at 1 in the morning, but maybe it did more than that.) I found this article at the FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, a sort of liberal answer to the late Reed Irvine's old conservative Media "watchdog" organization, AIM (Accuracy In Media) site. This is the argument they presented in 2005:

There are many misconceptions about the Fairness Doctrine. For instance, it did not require that each program be internally balanced, nor did it mandate equal time for opposing points of view. And it didn’t require that the balance of a station’s program lineup be anything like 50/50.

Nor, as Rush Limbaugh has repeatedly claimed, was the Fairness Doctrine all that stood between conservative talkshow hosts and the dominance they would attain after the doctrine’s repeal. In fact, not one Fairness Doctrine decision issued by the FCC had ever concerned itself with talkshows. Indeed, the talkshow format was born and flourished while the doctrine was in operation. Before the doctrine was repealed, right-wing hosts frequently dominated talkshow schedules, even in liberal cities, but none was ever muzzled (The Way Things Aren’t, Rendall et al., 1995). The Fairness Doctrine simply prohibited stations from broadcasting from a single perspective, day after day, without presenting opposing views.

In answer to charges, put forward in the Red Lion case, that the doctrine violated broadcasters’ First Amendment free speech rights because the government was exerting editorial control, Supreme Court Justice Byron White wrote: “There is no sanctuary in the First Amendment for unlimited private censorship operating in a medium not open to all.” In a Washington Post column (1/31/94), the Media Access Project (MAP), a telecommunications law firm that supports the Fairness Doctrine, addressed the First Amendment issue: “The Supreme Court unanimously found [the Fairness Doctrine] advances First Amendment values. It safeguards the public’s right to be informed on issues affecting our democracy, while also balancing broadcasters’ rights to the broadest possible editorial discretion.”

Ok, that explains what it does not do and why it is not inconsistent with the First Amendment, but why do we need it? FAIR's argument:

For citizens who value media democracy and the public interest, broadcast regulation of our publicly owned airwaves has reached a low-water mark. In his new book, Crimes Against Nature, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. probes the failure of broadcasters to cover the environment, writing, “The FCC’s pro-industry, anti-regulatory philosophy has effectively ended the right of access to broadcast television by any but the moneyed interests.”

According to TV Week(11/30/04), a coalition of broadcast giants is currently pondering a legal assault on the Supreme Court’s Red Lion decision. “Media General and a coalition of major TV network owners—NBC Universal, News Corp. and Viacom—made clear that they are seriously considering an attack on Red Lion as part of an industry challenge to an appellate court decision scrapping FCC media ownership deregulation earlier this year.”

Considering the many looming problems facing media democracy advocates, Extra! asked MAP’s Schwartzman why activists should still be concerned about the Fairness Doctrine. What has not changed since 1987 is that over-the-air broadcasting remains the most powerful force affecting public opinion, especially on local issues; as public trustees, broadcasters ought to be insuring that they inform the public, not inflame them. That’s why we need a Fairness Doctrine. It’s not a universal solution. It’s not a substitute for reform or for diversity of ownership. It’s simply a mechanism to address the most extreme kinds of broadcast abuse.

(Emphasis supplied.) Count me as among the unconvinced. But your mileage may vary. One thing for sure, very few, and no one with influence, seems to be clamoring for the return of the Fairness Doctrine.

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    On a related note (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by blogtopus on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:10:19 AM EST
    How soon before we get pharma commercials off the television? I'm getting really damn sick of seeing 60 second ads for this stuff like it was candy for grownups.

    Has Obama or advisors said anything about this? (none / 0) (#45)
    by fairleft on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 12:08:55 PM EST
    Rantng at 1 in the morning (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:24:08 AM EST
    The Fairness Doctrine was pretty mild and had a lot more to do with programming that "serves the public interest" than anything else.

    From FAIR as quoted by Wikipedi:

    "The Fairness Doctrine had two basic elements: It required broadcasters to devote some of their airtime to discussing controversial matters of public interest, and to air contrasting views regarding those matters. Stations were given wide latitude as to how to provide contrasting views: It could be done through news segments, public affairs shows or editorials. The doctrine did not require equal time for opposing views but required that contrasting viewpoints be presented."

    What that generally meant was that radio and TV stations were required to put on the occasional documentary, town hall meeting, etc.

    But you got those people ranting at 1:00 in the morning, too, not because the Fairness Doctrine said so but because stations pretty much bent over backwards to avoid having said ranting citizen file a complaint or a lawsuit or otherwise make life difficult.  Much easier to give them their 60 seconds to make their case.

    There's also something called the Equal Time Rule, which is still ostensibly in effect.  That applies only to candidates for elective office and requires that if a station gives one candidate free air time, it has to give the same to all his/her opponents.  It specifically exempts interviews and news stories, and even debates are considered news stories and therefore exempt.

    There have been various squabbles and quibbles over what consitutes free air time, and when the Fairness Doctrine was still in effect, again broadcasters bent over backwards to accommodate candidates who felt aggrieved.  They usually solved the problem by giving them all a few minutes of free air time -- ie, a free commercial in essence -- to make their case.

    When the Fairness Doctrine was revoked, broadcasters also quit worrying very much about the Equal Time rule.  Broadcasters aren't in the habit of giving free air time to anybody, never mind for political commercials, so it never really was much of an issue.

    Personally, I'd love to see the Fairness Doctrine come back just to do what it once did, increase the amount of time broadcasters are required to present a little public interest programming once in a while.  It was never an onerous rule (and it had nothing to do with right-wing talk radio's rise), it just gave tight-fisted owners an obligation to spend a little bit of money on worthwhile stuff once in a while.  I suspect CBS's famous "White Papers" broadcasts would never have happened at all if it weren't for the Fairness Doctrine, and of course, they're long gone now, as is the bulk of similar serious and thoughtful programming at the other networks, replaced by more popular income-generating semi-tabloid news magazines.

    Can you do something about (none / 0) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:27:23 AM EST
    Jesus documentaries (how can you make a documentary about someone we can't even clearly prove ever existed?) clogging up the History Channel please :)

    He probably existed... (none / 0) (#19)
    by Salo on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:59:45 AM EST
    ...but it seems like these documentaries are documenting scholars who are writing about Christianity or the Holy Land.

    I like for my history to be about history (none / 0) (#22)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:11:08 AM EST
    I'm sick today.  I have the crud now that my husband was sharing with me the other night by touching my back repeatedly :)  I usually have the History Channel on all day while cleaning house and all that stuff.  When I'm sick I lay there and watch the History Channel, I might as well learn something.  There's so much Jesus stuff on the History Channel anymore though and yes, most of it is scholars discussing how they interpret different accounts of Jesus' life.....but that isn't history.  Now this morning, the Unholy Battle for Rome during WWII - that is history.  The pope always attempting to stay neutral, that is history.  The mistakes the allies made is forever part of history.  Jews hiding within the Vatican, that is history.  Caves full of executed Italian patriots, that is history.  Jesus?, not so much.

    The History Channel and WWII? (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by brodie on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 12:13:15 PM EST
    It was about the only thing THC offered its viewers from their beginning and throughout the 90s and until recently.  24/7 nonstop rehash of The Good War.  Endless stuff about Hitler -- a favorite topic of theirs to this day.

    THC and Jesus?  Well, he was probably the most important historical figure of all time.  The fact that he didn't leave behind writings or that he wasn't interviewed by that era's Barbara Walters doesn't mean he didn't exist.  

    Of course, coming up on Xmas time, THC and the other outlets are bound to roll out and overdo all the Jesus programming, most of it very noncontroversial stuff.

    THC is presumably owned by a big corp, and therefore you're bound to be fed a steady diet of "American Heritage" type vanilla programming, mostly of the American-flag-waiving nature, sprinkled with the occasional ratings-driven stuff about the Mayan Calendar, crop circles, and ufos.


    NOBODY has more stuff on the Nazis (none / 0) (#55)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 12:45:05 PM EST
    except maybe Mossad.

    It's historiography. (none / 0) (#25)
    by Salo on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:18:56 AM EST
    what i'd like to see is a documentary about the industrial revolution instead of the war stuff. Here's how output of steel or coal transformed the world.

    Something about the enclosure acts that kicked peasants off the land or the policies of the New Deal and how people coped with the great depression. Most history classes in the UK skip the wars. Military history is a sub-speciality.

    Maybe something about Gangsters in the 1920s to soup it all up a little.


    There's old gangster stuff on lots (none / 0) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:27:47 AM EST
    just ask me, cuz I like to watch gangster stuff.  Modern Marvels does a lot on the industrial revolution and I have seen separate documentaries on.  New Deal stuff.......ummmm, no.  Haven't seen anything about the Great Depression on the History Channel in a really long time.  Have never seen anything about the enclosure acts.

    gee, where were you last week? (none / 0) (#50)
    by cpinva on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 12:18:07 PM EST
    Haven't seen anything about the Great Depression on the History Channel in a really long time.

    they had a two hour segment on the dust bowl, a major part of the depression.

    with regards to shows about jesus, the bible or christianity in general, i find them to be (for the most part) quite interesting. for example, they just re-ran a show they did on books that were banned from the bible. remember good old King James? yep, that would be the guy who vivisected the bible, slicing out parts that he didn't want his subjects to see.

    most of the shows (that i've seen anyway) seem to deal with the bible as a historical tract, and attempt to determine if, in fact, it can be supported by actual archeological evidence.

    have you ever watched "the naked archeologist"? cool show, that deals with actual history, and it's relationship to the biblical narrative. no, he isn't actually naked!


    I was healthy last week for the record (none / 0) (#54)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 12:39:09 PM EST
    and I'll just have you know that I have other stuff I do besides just clean this house :) As for you liking the Jesus stuff......with people like you I'm never going to be able to get rid of it:)  I watched banned from the Bible last night to distract myself from feeling like I needed to upchuck, I liked it because they talked about how Lilith is older than Eve and she was Adam's first wife.  She was created out of the same dust, not a rib, and she told Adam she had a headache one night and then spoke God's name and took off into the netherworld. I'm certain I'm a daughter of Lilith that keeps getting missed when they kill 100 of her children every day.  The Naked Archeologist is okay but I don't tend to view his show as one that deals with actual history and it's relation to Biblical narrative.  I view it as actual history and it's relation to mostly Judiac narrative.  Christians stole the Old Testament from the Jews :)

    Salo- nothing on THC (none / 0) (#80)
    by kenosharick on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 03:46:24 PM EST
    is historiography. Historiography is "the history of history," and much more associated with academic history rather than the popular history that is on TV. If you pick an issue and discuss the different ways it is/was interpreted by consensus historians vs. marxist historians vs. new left historians, ect. then you are starting to get into historiography. Sorry to go on, but it's my life.

    You'd prefer yet another theory (none / 0) (#30)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:31:12 AM EST
    re the Mayan calendar and/or the steps at Copan?

    P.S.  Hope you feel better soon.  


    I can see a Mayan calendar (none / 0) (#33)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:40:52 AM EST
    I can touch it.  I can walk the steps of the Copan.  This Jesus person......not so much.

    You heretic. How about the Shroud of (none / 0) (#34)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:42:20 AM EST

    Heh, the Shroud of Turin huh? (none / 0) (#37)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:44:12 AM EST
    I wanna know, can they prove that shroud was wrapped around some dude named Turin?

    I took the deposition of former (none / 0) (#40)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:46:56 AM EST
    county pathologist.  His CV included his work on the shroud; a true believer.  

    I think it's an authentic burial shroud (none / 0) (#46)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 12:08:55 PM EST
    and I think it originated in the Middle East somewhere, but I don't know how old it is or if it wrapped Jesus.  It is stunning though, almost like artwork.  Perhaps it is a natural work of art due to mankinds blood thirsty nature.

    The tour guide for the (none / 0) (#49)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 12:14:47 PM EST
    excavations beneath the Vatican patiently explained why the bones in the vault must be those of St. Peter.  When I asked about a particular portion of his narrative he sd., that's where faith comes into play.  

    He he ha ha (none / 0) (#51)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 12:19:33 PM EST
    Denial, it's not a river in Egypt but it's faith in Rome :)

    Hah Art Work, No Kidding (none / 0) (#79)
    by squeaky on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 03:21:48 PM EST
    I did a performance piece in torino, last time the shroud was on display there. I recreated it out of bounty paper towels, and called it bounty shroud the quicker picker upper.

    First made the shroud by taping together strips of bounty to match the dimensions of the shroud. Then, I stripped down to my shorts and covered myself with coffee grounds and wine and laid  down on the shroud. Someone covered my eyes with coins and folded the the shroud over me. Two minutes later I rose and pulled the shroud up in the air as I had it wired to a pully.

    It looked exactly like the shroud of turin. Pretty amazing. I thought I might get killed but the italian art crowd had was not violent and were quite pleased with the piece.


    And the Vatican? (none / 0) (#92)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 04:49:00 PM EST
    lol (none / 0) (#94)
    by squeaky on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 04:54:37 PM EST
    They did not send a representative. As far as I know they have not sanctified the shroud as a true relic so are lukewarm on the whole idea.

    BTW, is your (none / 0) (#95)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 04:55:45 PM EST
    performance piece on YouTube perchance?

    As Far As I Know, No (none / 0) (#97)
    by squeaky on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 05:00:20 PM EST
    You may have dodged a bullet. (none / 0) (#96)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 04:58:16 PM EST
    From Wiki (no annotation):

    From a religious standpoint, in 1958 Pope Pius XII approved of the image in association with the Roman Catholic devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus, celebrated every year on Shrove Tuesday.

    The REAL TRICK though (none / 0) (#35)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:42:20 AM EST
    is to not let sick people TOUCH YOU :)

    Ha. I thought of that (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:45:47 AM EST
    during the initial back and forth between you and BTD.  

    Thank you for proving my point (none / 0) (#65)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 01:03:22 PM EST
    If given the chance people, as MT demonstrates, will demand what they see as wrong shut down,

    You have a profoundly twisted (none / 0) (#71)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 02:44:17 PM EST
    world view, I must say.

    Say as you please (none / 0) (#85)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 04:03:35 PM EST
    Wrong you are.

    Agree with the last part of this (none / 0) (#43)
    by brodie on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 12:01:50 PM EST
    I suspect CBS's famous "White Papers" broadcasts would never have happened at all if it weren't for the Fairness Doctrine, and of course, they're long gone now, as is the bulk of similar serious and thoughtful programming at the other networks, replaced by more popular income-generating semi-tabloid news magazines.

    Today, the hour-long documentary on an important subject treated in an appropriately serious way -- as CBS and NBC especially did in the 60s/70s pre-cable era -- has long since given way to the light-n-fluffy tabloidy treatment suitable to the shorter attention spans of today's viewers.  60 Minutes does this very well indeed, for 40 yrs now, but they have never gone very deep on any topic -- Don Hewitt's strict format rarely allows it.  Indeed, they often avoid tackling the big issues.

    There were some standout docs done back in the day*, particularly at CBS ("CBS Reports"; NBC had their occasional "White Paper" one-hour reports).   Though it may be that the network doc programs arose, starting roughly in 1960, not as a result of the Fairness Doctrine but because doing serious non-fiction programming once in a while offered the networks a way to earn back some of the credibility they'd lost in the infamous quiz show scandals of the late 50s.

    (* One network doc from the 60s was just outright gov't propaganda.  The only instance I'm aware of where the FD was successfully invoked at the network television level was in 1967, when NBC aired a heavily one-sided and misleading doc slamming NOLA DA Jim Garrison; he petitioned the FCC to provide him equal time for presentation of the opposing view of the Dallas/conspiracy case, and the FCC gave him a half-hour in prime time on the network to respond, which he used very skillfully, imo, to argue his side.)


    Many reasons (none / 0) (#44)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 12:08:52 PM EST
    the nets did those long-form documentaries back in the day, or let's say there are many reasons they don't anymore.  Prime among them is that in those days, they networks were owned by genuinely public-spirited individuals or families, not giant corporations who couldn't care less about anything except the bottom line.

    But the Fairness Doctrine was a good excuse and good leverage for the news people to get some funding and some airtime.


    It was a different social-political (none / 0) (#53)
    by brodie on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 12:32:19 PM EST
    era back then -- mostly a "liberal" or "other-oriented" one, lasting until the arrival of Reaganism.  And it was an era where the FCC had ethical public-minded people running it (mostly), with a heavily Dem Congress ready to back it up (as they also created Public Broadcasting in 67).  Contrast, for instance, Kennedy's FCC appointee Newt Minnow ("television is a vast wasteland") with Reagan's FCC Chair, the ex-network lawyer who helped undo the FD.

    Re network attitudes towards the public, Bill Paley at CBS did give the viewer a solid news team which lasted into the 70s, but it was also under Paley that Murrow was quietly relegated to the sidelines then let go.  And the non-news programming at CBS in the 60s/70s was a bunch of countrified or lowbrow garbage, for the most part -- most famously Gilligan's Island.

    NBC and ABC have for many decades just been big corp networks with a heavy-handed corp mindset.  RCA.  GE.  Cap Cities. Disney.

    ABC did have a brief period in the late 60s, where they tried to go against the network grain and do interesting and informative programming.  Didn't last long.  And they ended up firing Dick Cavett, who had one of the most informative and high-brow shows ever seen on network teevee.

    So, I'm not really a big fan of the Golden Age of Public-Spirited Informative Television theory.  Just that, for a while the doc programming was better, for the most part.


    Paley was no saint (none / 0) (#72)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 02:49:34 PM EST
    and neither were the others.  But the point is we've gone wayyy downhill from there.  The Paley types (and Ted Turner more latterly), also newspaper equivalents, were willing to sink a lot of money into their news operations.  They didn't try to make money from them, which is what the case is now.  As long as they didn't lose a bundle on the network as a whole, they were willing to have crappy entertainment subsidize the giant money sinkhole of news.

    And yes, Roone Arledge presided over a genuine "golden age" of news at ABC for a while.  All gone now.


    So you want to (none / 0) (#67)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 01:07:22 PM EST
    use the unFairness Doctrine to let someone dictate what will be broadcast.

    That's censorship, even if the results are good.

    What do you say when a Repub admin takes over??? We did it but you can't??


    You have no clue what the (none / 0) (#73)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 02:52:13 PM EST
    Fairness Doctrine is. (Second notice) You keep repeating the same canards with slight variations.

    I'd be delighted to have had the Fairness Doctrine come back under a Republican administration because it has zippo to do with politics and zippo to do with censorship.  But see, Republicans don't like the Fairness Doctrine because they're much happier when the public is ignorant.  So a Republican FD is an oxymoron of the highest order.


    heh (none / 0) (#86)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 04:09:25 PM EST
    Anything that constrains free speech is censorship.

    If it doesn't provide political support for the Left, why are the Demos I listed for it?

    People don't do things for no reason. Especially politicians.


    Not a panacea, but I agree: (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by oldpro on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 12:57:51 PM EST
    "It's simply a mechanism to address the most extreme kinds of broadcast abuse."

    The issue is important for local stations and affiliates on local/state issues...particularly initiatives and referenda...hot stuff in my state of Washington.

    I miss the "talk back" segments from community members on local issues...

    The Dems (1.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Gustavion on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 09:53:33 AM EST
    I hope that the Democrats can come together in an effort for environmental reform. I think it is particularly important for us, as consumers, to support `green' business. For example, http://www.simplestop.net stops your postal junk mail and benefits the environment. I hope our government will support the effort.

    Spambot Gustavion (none / 0) (#69)
    by MyLeftMind on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 01:49:51 PM EST
    Repeatedly posts links to advertise his site.

    I'm always a little wary (none / 0) (#1)
    by AlkalineDave on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 09:31:48 AM EST
    Of imposed regulations on free media.  I don't want to make a slippery slope argument, but I could see intrusion end up going further

    I would be afraid of what Bush's FCC (none / 0) (#11)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:20:00 AM EST
    would do with the power.

    I think the real solutions to the issues with the media are in the ownership rules.


    The Democrats (none / 0) (#2)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 09:34:19 AM EST
    will attempt to reinstate the Unfairness Doctrine in the first 100 days of the new Congress.

    inb one way... (none / 0) (#10)
    by Salo on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:14:38 AM EST
    ...cable provides the potential for a huge number of voices.  In another way the 24/7 news channels have killed informed debate.

    It's a paradoxical situation. More choices for consumption, less choices ideologically.


    Here's 3 1/2 (none / 0) (#15)
    by roy on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:37:20 AM EST
    Diane Feinstein speaks favorably of it and says she's "looking into it"; I think the context was an immigration discussion.

    Here's Kuchinich pretty clearly supporting it.

    Less of a clear advocacy, Chuck Schumer compared the Fairness Doctrine to limiting pornography on the air.

    None is a smoking gun "I will vote for the Fairness Doctrine", but given how politicians tend to speak in slippery terms I'd call them pretty supportive.

    Supposedly Nancy Pelosi explicitly said she's for it, but the only source I found on it is sketchy.

    And while Obama said he's against it, he also said he's accept public campaign financing and that he'd reject it, that he'd repeal the Bush tax cuts early and that he wouldn't, and that he supports individual 2nd Amendment right and that he supports the Washington DC gun ban.


    quelle stupide. pardon my French. (none / 0) (#17)
    by Salo on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:54:55 AM EST
    All those capitulations by Obama have tended to favour lassez faire policy or rightwing views:

    No public finance (Obama killed public finance this year RIP)

    No tax hike on higher earners ( hold on a mo...)

    No gun bans  (he held strong gun control views earlier in career and has abandoned them.)

    No fairness dcotrine follows logically from that progression to the rightwing mindset.

    Rightwing concerntrolling over the fairness docrtine I think.  Obama has no interest in censoring the right. He'll depend on their support before too long, in certain foreign policy arenas.


    I repeat (none / 0) (#81)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 03:56:15 PM EST
    The bill will be introduced and passed and he will "reluctantly" sign it.

    Believe it or not things get done in  Washington that a President is not directly involved in.

    It is called democracy. What a concept.


    lol (none / 0) (#82)
    by squeaky on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 03:57:57 PM EST
    You have the worst track record here regarding predictions. Not sure why you bother.

    Fair points (none / 0) (#64)
    by roy on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 01:01:59 PM EST
    The Right's worries are exagerated; I just don't think they're entirely baseless.  Moreover, I suspect that nearly all broadcasters are already in compliance with the Fairness Doctrine as described in the articles BTD linked, which makes me wonder as much about those who advocate the Doctrine as those who fret over it.

    There is no evidence that it won't be. (none / 0) (#88)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 04:15:50 PM EST
    Here's three for a start (none / 0) (#21)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:10:26 AM EST
    Asked if he is a supporter of telling radio stations what content they should have, Schumer used the fair and balanced line, claiming that critics of the Fairness Doctrine are being inconsistent.

    "The very same people who don't want the Fairness Doctrine want the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] to limit pornography on the air. I am for that... But you can't say government hands off in one area to a commercial enterprise but you are allowed to intervene in another. That's not consistent."

    In 2007, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a close ally of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) told The Hill, "It's time to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine. I have this old-fashioned attitude that when Americans hear both sides of the story, they're in a better position to make a decision."


    And then we have this fro New Mexico:

    on October 21, 2008 New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman appeared on radio 770 KKOB Albuquerque with host Jim Vallanucci. They discussed the Fairness Doctrine. The Fairness Doctrine was dropped by the Regan Administration, talk radio has gone from 125 stations to over 2,000."

    Link to article and video.

    Please try and read. I said "Congress." Congress will produce a bill and Obama will reluctantly sign it. Then the legal challenges begin.


    De Nile is a river in Egypt. (none / 0) (#56)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 12:45:07 PM EST
    Denial is the state you live in.

    You really aren't worth (none / 0) (#83)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 03:58:10 PM EST
    debating with.

    Seems to me that things are fair enough (none / 0) (#3)
    by blogtopus on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 09:34:27 AM EST
    The only problem is one that can't be helped. Right Wing Talk show radio flourishes because most of the people who listen to it are wingers, of course. The internet tends to be more left wing in general due to the fact that, well, facts can be checked almost instantly, and winger bloviations deflate pretty quickly in that environment.

    The internet's liberality was a natural reaction to the unbalanced winger media happening in the 90's, and the environment made bald-faced lying more difficult to get away with, thank god.

    Makes one wonder what might grow, right-wing-wise, in reaction to the media's embracing of Obama. That's assuming, of course, his media darling status remains post-inauguration.

    huh?? (none / 0) (#24)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:15:28 AM EST
    Do you really believe "facts" can be checked like that?

    The Internet is filled with millions of facts, some of them are true.

    Do you really believe that more left wingers blog as compared to right wingers?? Do you have any proof?

    Do you have any proof of Limbaugh or Hannity lying?

    And if you want to talk about the media and the Internet lying, do we really need to bring up the lies that were told on Palin?


    For a while... (none / 0) (#26)
    by Salo on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:21:15 AM EST
    ...the fact checking on Dkos was actuially superb.   After the advent of Obama not as good, but they can still shoot down a rumour in a trice if the community get on the case.

    The one good function of the net is the debunking...


    I don't do KOS (none / 0) (#28)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:24:39 AM EST
    perhaps you can provide some proof of the rumors they shot down...

    I have read that they took down the link, after a day or two, that claimed Palin's challenged child was actually her daughters...


    generally?... (none / 0) (#36)
    by Salo on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:43:27 AM EST
    ...anything to do with rumours that Bush would invade Iran.  There was a rather infamous diary posted from a poster claiming to work on a carrier talking about prep for an Iran invasion. It was shot down in hours because the poster was employing anachronisms and the comminty over there love to do research. In the primaries they got dishonest about about the respective democratic candidates though.

    Howvere, you even saw long standing community members there shoot down the Obama guff about McCain  promising a 100 year war.  They were pointing out that McCain would probably be around for no more than a decade at worst and that he'd constitutionally be unable to control policy beyond 2016.

    The search engine is there waiting for you.  everything that anyone has written there is recorded. The fact checking is astonishingly good at times.


    And very poor sometimes. (none / 0) (#58)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 12:50:18 PM EST
    The problem has become that the MSM has started reporting on what "pick your blog" is writing.... and you get no retraction.

    Oh about a 100,000 times (none / 0) (#84)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 04:01:41 PM EST
    Show me a MSM retraction for a Internet originated rumor that was false.

    In thread... (none / 0) (#41)
    by Salo on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:48:34 AM EST
    ...plenty of posters disagreed and suggested the thread be obliterated.

    Content is policed by the community.  


    In the meantime (none / 0) (#57)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 12:46:19 PM EST
    it spread all over the world.

    "I didn't know the gun was loaded" is a poor defense.


    Good grief (none / 0) (#91)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 04:40:12 PM EST
    Are you aware of the Palin's baby actually being her daughter's BS?

    by Inky99
    Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 02:19:42 PM PST
    Okay, I just have to diary about this, although in many ways this falls into the "none of our business category".  

    But it appears that Pallin's last child, a baby with Down's syndrome, may not be hers.  It may be that of her teenage daughter.  

    Here's a link just to get you started:


    Inky99's diary :: ::

    link to KOS

    (475,000 hits on Google.)

    It was, I understand, first posted on KOS, stayed up for two days and spread over the known universe. Anyone know the real time frame??

    Then there was the lie about the book burning. (1,960,000 hits on Google)

    Then there was the lie about her referring to Obama in a derogatory manner. (342,000 hits Google)

    Then there was the lie about her saying she could see Russia from her home. (That came from a SNL skit which was picked up and spread. What she said was you should see Russia from Alaska. And you can.) (634,000 hits on Google)

    Then there was the tale about Cindy McCain's outfit costing more than $3000 at the RNC.. That was finally "corrected" by the person spreading it, after a week. (479,000 hits on Google)

    Then there was the tale about someone yelling "Kill Obama" at a Palin rally. The FBI investigated and said it didn't happen, but again a week later. (11,300,000 hits on Google)

    etc., etc., etc.


    More than two sides to an issue.... (none / 0) (#4)
    by jerry on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 09:51:16 AM EST
    The fairness doctrine is flawed because often times there are more than two sides that need to be presented to present an issue in full.  Hearing from the canonical "right" on trade, and the canonical left on "trade", you may never hear of the possibility of fair trade.

    It's needed because presenting one side only all the time clearly presents an opportunity to the license holder to present only biased, distorted information.

    It's legal and fair because the airwaves are still, presumably, owned by the public, not the license owner, and are a limited resource.

    My alternative to the fairness doctrine would be to make broadcasting licenses good for one 7 year term and then reverting back to the public.  The Constitution doesn't protect industries.  7 years is a long time for someone to be given such a powerful podium.  Let them enjoy it, and then pass the microphone.

    Nope (none / 0) (#27)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:21:55 AM EST
    With cable TV there is no real technical limitation to the number of channels. There is a content limitation... there aren't enough shows, etc. that people will pay for.

    Even with over the air broadcasts you can have a very large number now that we are going digital.

    The FCC's response years and years ago was based on a fear by the government that we would/hear see things that we "shouldn't."

    If you are for the Fairness Doctrine you are for government censorship.


    You obviously (none / 0) (#47)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 12:11:13 PM EST
    have no clue what the Fairness Doctrine actually was.  Haven't you figured out that Rush Limbaugh lies to you routinely?

    See my post below for details on the Fairness Doctrine, or do you own research.


    Catch a clue (none / 0) (#60)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 12:55:13 PM EST
    If the Democrats don't intend to use it for political censorship, or advantage, or both, why are they for it?

    Day follows night. Winter follows fall.


    Not talking cable TV. (none / 0) (#52)
    by jerry on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 12:24:02 PM EST
    Talking broadcast airwaves, which is definitely a limited resource and why the auctions for the airwaves make so much money.

    The auctions have not been (none / 0) (#59)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 12:52:32 PM EST
    for broadcast TV.

    The auctions have been for spectrum, used how they (none / 0) (#93)
    by jerry on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 04:50:55 PM EST
    wish.  Radio spectrum.  They are so limited that there are many fights over their uses.

    And the point still stands the broadcast channels are a limited resource.  I get 13 or so.  Others get a few more.


    Because thats not what it is about (none / 0) (#62)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 12:59:38 PM EST

    It is about, "If you don't present one side of a many sided issue to the satisfaction of third parties your ability to continue broadcasting is in jeopardy." That is censorship.

    Besides, expecting one source to be good at presenting every side of every issue is silly.  If you want the Left side of an issue try Olberman, if the Right try Hannity.  Every side of every issue is already available.  


    Because (none / 0) (#63)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 01:00:58 PM EST
    Telling a TV/Radio station what it must broadcast is censorship. I don't care what you call it or why you say it is good.

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press...."

    You have a point, but... (none / 0) (#68)
    by roy on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 01:08:22 PM EST
    You have a point that it wouldn't be censorship if all the broadcasters had to do was add more information to their broadcasts.  Personally, I still wouldn't approve, but I wouldn't call it censorship.  The problem is you can't generally add content without removing other content.  It's not like stations necessarily have otherwise unused broadcast time.  They have stuff they want to broadcast at any given moment; they would have to eliminate something to make room for content to comply with the Doctrine.  If that elimination happens under threat of penalty by the government, it's textbook censorship.

    Moreover, adding information to a message changes the message.  If a station's staff wants to broadcast the message that conservatism is the only proper political ideology, they're can't to do so under the Doctrine because including counterpoints undermines that message.  So the Doctrine makes it illegal to broadcast that message.  Clearly that's censorship, and this sort of censorship is considered a feature, not a bug, of the Doctrine.


    Something like the BBC for instance... (none / 0) (#8)
    by Salo on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:10:34 AM EST
    ...the charter is kinda interesting.   And I might add you guys are copying all the BBC shows from 'All in the Family'; 'The Office' to 'Dancing with the Stars.'

    So why not go the whole way?

    This would also reduce the TV censorship that goes on with sexual and political content today in the US.

    Re "you guys": (none / 0) (#16)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:37:25 AM EST
    Care to reveal where you are, countrywise?

    In St Louis right now... (none / 0) (#18)
    by Salo on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:57:45 AM EST
    ...teaching. Emigre from the UK.

    The BBC would be a good thought experiment for US broadcasting.  They actually got into a real fight with Blair over the war over the 'sexed up' dossier stuff and that arms inspector who topped himself.

    Imagine if there had been a BBC type news organization running around in the US in 2001 or 2000?


    Paul Taylor (none / 0) (#42)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:53:16 AM EST
    (contemporary dance) was in St. Louis.  NYT review made me wish I were also there.  Plus another chance to try and make it all the way to the end of the Museum of the Westward Expansion.

    "Assault on Liberty" (none / 0) (#9)
    by michael098762001 on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:11:06 AM EST
       Via a crazed right-wing military blogger,
    http://caosblog.com/9480 , I will be on with Dr. Ken Hill, the author of "Assault on Liberty", who is an expert in communications and will give us some information on the coming Fairness Doctrine.

    TNR, "Obama's secret plan..." (none / 0) (#13)
    by michael098762001 on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:25:38 AM EST
     The New Republic
    Bum Rush by Marin Cogan
    Obama's secret plan to muzzle talk radio. Very, very secret.
    Post Date Wednesday, December 03, 2008

    Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and other friends have spent the past year screaming about the horrors of Barack Obama. And, while it's true that they talked ad nauseam about socialism and the Weathermen and Jeremiah Wright, careful listeners would have noticed a recurring theme of anxiety: that Obama was going to use the newly acquired levers of government to destroy them. Specifically, conservative paranoia over the possible reinstatement of the "fairness doctrine," a defunct policy requiring that broadcasters allow opposing points of view to be heard over the airwaves, has reached a fevered pitch.

    They are bonkers. (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Salo on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:00:18 AM EST

    bonkers is far too nice. (none / 0) (#66)
    by OldCity on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 01:04:54 PM EST
    Deluded.  As are all of the people who routinely call to inform Hannity that he's a "great American".

    the internet (none / 0) (#99)
    by andken on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 08:17:59 PM EST
    The Internet makes whatever owns the airwaves irrelevant. Conventional radio is a dying industry(They are the biggest victims of the Ipod and the MP3) and the reason that people makes so much fuss about talk radio is because it´s one of the few profitable things on radio.