But the Fairness Doctrine is back or at least being talked about again, with Congress set to challenge the FCC. The thought is already driving conservatives nuts, with more here, here, here, here, here, with Jeff Goldstein his usual obtuse self. QandO offers more. One blogger calls it Free Speech’s Abu Ghraib. They're all nuts. They're also very happy with controlling the radio waves.
Now I bring this up not necessarily because she called all those who abhor further government intrusion and control "nuts". I've been called worse by better people.
No, I'm more interested in using it to illustrate that liberals such as Marsh are really statist wolves in liberty sheep's clothing. It is also further proof that a liberal/libertarian fusion is impossible.
Marsh spins the "need" for a reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine this way:
The short version of the Fairness Doctrine is that in 1987 Reagan had it scuttled. Shortly after that Rush Limbaugh began his journey and right-wing radio was created and gradually took over the airwaves, with the help of their corporate friends, while the Democrats were still trying to figure out direct mail. I'm exaggerating, but Democrats were so dense about radio for so long it's amazing there are still any progressive hosts out here working every day to get back on radio. As I've written many times, the Republicans have used radio to pump up emotion and GOTV. In case you haven't noticed, radio works. Just ask Karl Rove, who has worked and worked and worked it. It's about getting control of all the little stations in all the little towns so that you can influence all those people. The host gets to know his/her audience, they trust him/her, so when this host tells them to vote for Right Wing Randy/Roxanne, they likely will. After all, they've built up a trust. Republicans will do anything to get ratings, which includes leaving the facts out and plying their audience with daily doses of emotion instead. Democrats are still behind in radio, trying to reinvent the wheel instead of using their donor base to help hosts who could hold their own. Creating Democratic business consortiums that help hosts get on the air, with the best of us staying on and eventually catapulting to syndication. The Fairness Doctrine could really make a difference. Why do you think conservatives are screaming like crazy?
In case you missed it, Marsh is a liberal radio talk show host. Obviously unable to garner a Limbaugh-size audience on her own, she's content to blame her own marginal status on the designs of, wait for it, Karl Rove and the right-wing's "corporate friends". She obviously believes that the only thing keeping her from the same success as Limbaugh has nothing to do with her and everything to do with that evil Karl Rove and those nasty corporations out there.
It's almost a pro-forma argument that may be emotionally satisfying to the likes of Marsh, but is neither particularly smart or honest. Corporations push what sells. That's how they make money. If Taylor Marsh had the ability and the message which compared favorably to Limbaugh's one has to ask why a corporation wouldn't be selling that in the radio market place? Well of course they would. Money isn't blue or red ... it's green.
The whole premise behind launching Air America was that there was a market for such a format and that it would sell. Now there are obviously problems with AA's approach to the market and that it appears to have been undercapitalized, so it's not clear at this point that the premise is false. But it also appears that AA wasn't that successful in attracting listeners either.
Ironically, what those like Marsh - who are always caterwauling about conservative assaults on liberty - want is for government to "level the playing field" by making an assault on liberty. She's all for using it's power of coercion to force those who have developed a successful format within the radio talk market to include those who've basically failed.
The Taylor Marsh's of the world are perfectly content to use the government's power to get their message out because, in a competitive market, they've proven unable to do so.
Markets. They don't need no stinkin' markets ... not when they have government to make up for their failures.
So when Marsh says ...
Republicans will do anything to get ratings, which includes leaving the facts out and plying their audience with daily doses of emotion instead.
... you just have to shake your head. The irony of such a statement, given her argument for government intrusion, is simply staggering and apparently completely lost on her.
Marsh’s contention seems to be that since conservatives are better at using radio as a medium, then they must be hobbled. I’m hoping there are some liberals with a shred of honesty who think this is a horrendous assault on free speech.
I chuckled at her brief history of the Fairness Doctrine, trying to show a causal relationship between Reagan scuttling it and Limbaugh launching his radio show.
I really love her response to Jeff Goldstein in her comments: "Anyway, I don’t expect you to understand the Fairness Doctrine. Conservatives today are actually not very well disguised fascists." Wow. Minus points for logic, but plus points for b*llsiness.