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"I believe we need to re-regulate the media," says Howard Dean
Posted by: McQ on Monday, April 30, 2007

George Will gives us the history of the liberal left's favorite bit of media legislation, the Fairness Doctrine. You almost need to put "Fairness" in scare quotes when you place it conjunction with "doctrine" and cite its past. Take the time to read its history. The relevant point is when previously in force, the concern was there were very limited choices for receiving news over the airways and mommy, er, the Democrats felt that it was incumbent upon the government (ah, what a surprise) to ensure there was 'fairness' in information distribution.

That was then, this is now and as Will notes, there are just a few more choices of information outlets than there were then:
Adam Thierer, writing in the City Journal, notes that today's "media cornucopia" has made America "as information-rich as any society in history." In addition to the Internet's uncountable sources of information, there are 14,000 radio stations—twice as many as in 1970—and satellite radio has nearly 14 million subscribers. Eighty-seven percent of households have either cable or satellite television with more than 500 channels to choose from. There are more than 19,000 magazines (up more than 5,000 since 1993). Thierer says, consider a black lesbian feminist who hunts and likes country music:

"Would the 'mainstream media' of 25 years ago represented any of her interests? Unlikely. Today, though, this woman can program her TiVo to record her favorite shows on Black Entertainment Television, Logo (a gay/lesbian-oriented cable channel), Oxygen (female-targeted programming), the Outdoor Life Network and Country Music Television."
As you can tell there's actually competition among information purveyors. But that's not good enough for liberals. No, the one area where liberalism finds it difficult, if not impossible, to gain a toe hold is in talk radio. And that format too has exploded in the years following the repeal of the "Fairness Doctrine".
Talk radio barely existed in 1980, when there were fewer than 100 talk shows nationwide. The Fairness Doctrine was scrapped in 1987, and today more than 1,400 stations are entirely devoted to talk formats.
The fact that the right dominates talk radio remains a thorn in the liberal left's side.

And then there's Fox News. We've all seen how they react like a vampire to a cross whenever Fox is mentioned.

So if scarcity, as was previously understood to be the rationale for controlling the media, no longer exists, what justifies the Howard Dean types who believe "the media" (meaning talk radio and Fox) needs to be "re-regulated":
Some of today's illiberals say that media abundance, not scarcity, justifies the Fairness Doctrine: Americans, the poor dears, are bewildered by too many choices. And the plenitude of information sources disperses "the national campfire," the cozy communitarian experience of the good old days (for liberals), when everyone gathered around—and was dependent on—ABC, NBC and CBS.
Ah, "the national campfire" is now "a thousand points of light", eh? And of course it is very difficult to ensure a "proper" distribution of information if people out there are actually making choices on their own, huh?

How terrible.

Not enough choices, too many choices, in reality the problem is the Dems, or at least some of them, want to ensure they have a means to force you to listen to their message whether you choose too or not. And as we've pointed out in the past, the determination of what is 'fair' in the media would be entirely up to them.

Sound "fair" to you?
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
1) Disarm your enemies, 2) Control the media. Next, open camps...It’s leftism 101...by the book...
 
Written By: Anon
URL: http://
About the radio thing.

There are two reasons Conservatives control Talk Radio

1) Listening to the radio driving to work, driving from work and sometimes while at work is the only media exposure people with 40+ hr/wk jobs can get for 2/3 or 3/4 of their day. (notice little to no Conservative Talk on the weekends ?). .

2) Liberals have 3 TV Network News Channels, 4(?) Cable News Channels, Most regular TV programing and movies. Conservatives have FoxNews, which imho is run poorly, and Glenn Beck on one of the other Cable Channels. Beck is a little too apologetic about being a Conservative for my tastes. So with Liberals having TV, why do they need the radio?

——————

The only thing interesting here is how they will craft a double standard to apply to FoxNews without applying one to CNN.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
It’s amazing how the big free speech advocates are the ones pushing this.

The law of unintended consequences always comes back to bite you on the rear with these sort of things. The Dems won’t always be controlling congress. Put this into effect now, why sometime down the road perky Katie and the rest of them may just have to split their precious newscasts with a mean old conservative when the GOP gets the chamber back.

And then I will laugh at their outraged howls.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Has anyone seen the genie? If you do, can you please ask him if he could please return back to this bottle?
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
I know we harp on how liberal the main media is and maybe it is liberal by an objective standard. But it seems to me that media reports, even on networks other than the dreaded FOX, have begun to be more critical of the left. That is probably surprising and rather alarming to some of them. If I had to guess I’d say that along with the liberalism there is a certain amount of "criticize those in power" mindset among journalists. A shift could simply be due to the fact that the Democrats now hold the majority in Congress.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
It’s amazing how the big free speech advocates are the ones pushing this.
Dude, it’s only free speech if it upsets Christians and insults white males.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
What I find amazing is the incredible hard on the Left have against Fox. Goddamn they hate it, almost as much as they hate Bush. It is amazing, as jpm said, they have all the rest of the news networks, but having just one that leans to the right is too much for them to stand.

SYNOVA, Some of what you say is true, but there has been very precious little introspection or self criticism from media people who lean left. The only one who really comes to mind is Bernie Goldberg, who has, at any rate, swung to the right.
 
Written By: kyleN
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
There is no "liberal" justification for this push by Howard and his henchman Dennis Kucinich. It is all about control. Even though the two of them are left wing zealots, eternal vigilance is still in order.

All real liberals who read this blog should be just as concerned as real conservatives and libertarians.
 
Written By: vnjagvet
URL: http://www.yargb.blogspot.com
There isn’t just left and right or liberal and conservative, but a myriad of political positions. Regulation of the media through the form of something like the fairness doctrine is damaging to a free society. I agree that all — liberal, conservative, and especially those with views that aren’t easily categorized — should be concerned when such ideas arise.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
It is amazing, as jpm said, they have all the rest of the news networks, but having just one that leans to the right is too much for them to stand.

Liberals don’t feel that they have "all the rest of the news networks", or any of them, for that matter. From Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Syria, to Edwards’ $400 haircut, to the fake controversy over Nanci’s jet, to Sinclair networks’ fake-but-accurate 9/11 history the left sees television, as a whole, as completely controlled by the conservative movement.

That’s sort of why the fairness doctrine is so popular right now. Get it?

On the substance of the issue - there’s a big difference between attempting to control the content of any form of media - which government absolutely should not be involved in - and attempting to prevent the control of said media by any single viewpoint, doctrine, clique, or handful of economic interests.

If conservatives are afraid of that preventing that control is a trojan horse for pushing liberal views, it would seem that a system could be designed to make omitting conservative viewpoints as heavily penalized as omitting liberal ones. On the other hand, simply ensuring as total decentralization in ownership as possible, rather than attempting to regulate balance in content, might be the smarter way to go.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
McQ said: "Not enough choices, too many choices, in reality the problem is the Dems, or at least some of them, want to ensure they have a means to force you to listen to their message whether you choose too or not."

It’s worse than that. They want to ensure they have a means to prevent you from listening to any message other than their own. We are all, without any effort, inundated with their message all the time: it dominates television, newspapers, entertainment (movies, tv, video games, books), the public square, and virtually every other activity. They don’t need to worry about forcing us to listen to them, or even ensuring we listen to them. They are hell-bent on guaranteeing that we don’t hear any competing messages at all.
 
Written By: pa
URL: http://
Liberals don’t feel that they have "all the rest of the news networks", or any of them, for that matter.
Of course not. They feel what comes out of those networks is "normal", just like them.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Liberals don’t feel that they have "all the rest of the news networks", or any of them, for that matter. From Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Syria, to Edwards’ $400 haircut, to the fake controversy over Nanci’s jet, to Sinclair networks’ fake-but-accurate 9/11 history the left sees television, as a whole, as completely controlled by the conservative movement.

That’s sort of why the fairness doctrine is so popular right now. Get it?
Pelosi and Edwards can’t get away with politically stupid acts, so that means we need the fairness doctrine?

Having the media wrapped up all these years sure made you lefties weak.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
yeah, you know, the media gave Delay a complete pass.
And Lott,
Abramoff,
Iraq,
Katrina,
Gonzales,
Plame/Wilson/Libby/Rove
Cheney
.
.
.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
"...it would seem that a system could be designed to make omitting conservative viewpoints as heavily penalized as omitting liberal ones."
Herewith another example of why liberals just don’t get it. Glasnost wants to design a government system for fairness and is fairly certain that a workable one could be designed. No doubt it would be similar to the Diversity Department that was recently set up in Berkeley to bring more "diversity" to the campus.

One wag commnented (perhaps it was on QandO) that it surely would be a relief to see more students from Utah, returning military veterans and other right wing types welcomed to campus life to cure the current lack of diversity.

The "Fairness" system would be applied to the media in much the same manner. For another example, visit most college campuses and see how "fairly" conservatives are treated. They have the same right to espouse and demonstrate liberal beliefs as anyone.
 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
...the left sees television, as a whole, as completely controlled by the conservative movement.
Or perhaps the left is feeling the loss of control over the message and the increasing irrevelency of a sympathetic traditional media, and without that, they are going to have to start making cogent arguments once again... Like a quarterback without the protective presense of the all-pro left tackle.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
As commenter cathyf pointed out on Captain’s Quarters last night:
Life under the "Fairness Doctrine" could be way more interesting than the illiberals are planning. Talk radio may be dominated by Rush and other lesser-known conservatives. But the hourly "news" breaks, which run on a much larger set of stations, are still pure MSM at their baldly-biased best. Last weekend ABC radio gave us a 4 or 5 sentence "story" about Reid, which started out stating as a fact that we have lost the war in Iraq. Or how many times did they tell us that Scooter Libby was on trial, then convicted, of leaking CIA agent Plame’s identity to the press.

Sure, radio stations don’t have the resources to keep track of this stuff, but the Army of Davids sure does. Any and all news beyond the weather, sports and traffic is going to disappear from radio AND tv. And don’t be so sure that illiberal propaganda like The West Wing is going to survive a new Fairness Doctrine, either.
to which I added:
Amen, cathyf. And it really doesn’t matter what the Supreme Court rules either; as lots of parody writers found out, the ruling that parody was protected fair use didn’t stop Disney from inviting them for an expensive trip thru the court system to make sure their work was covered.
You talk about death by a thousand cuts....

And frankly, it should have already started; there are laws against providing adulterated or fraudulent goods. after all.
 
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
From Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Syria,
Yes, lot of good came from that, didn’t it?

Pelosi is a friggin’ idiot. That seems to be the real outcome. :)
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
If I were a conservative talk-show host forced by Big Brother to have liberals on my show, I would just insult the hell out of these uninvited guests. Nothing would be too rude: ad hominem attacks, innuendoes about their sexual kinks, as many obscenities as the censor would permit. Under normal circumstances that would be wrong, but since they’d be intruding on my show without my consent, verbal abuse would be simply the civilized alternative to grabbing by the scruff of the neck, frog-marching them to the door, and kicking them in the ass out into the alley.
 
Written By: Bilwick
URL: http://
Don, it just means that liberals obviously don’t own or control non-Fox networks.

I would probably trade the Fairness doctrine for aggressive pro-decentralization policies and intense antitrust regulation. It might end up being a lightning rod, or unworkable, although I doubt it would increase liberal control.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Don, it just means that liberals obviously don’t own or control non-Fox networks.
What a load of hooey. "Conservatives" don’t own Fox, you nitwit. Perhaps the owner of Fox is a conservative, but that doesn’t mean that conservatives own the network.

And for your information, the head of Time Warner — owner of CNN, CNN Headline News, etc. — is very much a liberal. By your logic, then, liberals own at the very least CNN and CNNHN.

The Fairness Doctrine is wrong on its face. That you support it speaks volumes about your commitment to liberty.
 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
At least people like glasnost will finally make the trains run on time.
 
Written By: cap joe
URL: http://

 
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