Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

January 8, 2009

A SOLUTION TO A PROBLEM THAT DOESN'T EXIST.... You've got to be kidding.

Republicans introduced a bill Wednesday that would bar Congress, President-elect Barack Obama and federal media regulators from bringing back the Fairness Doctrine, which they said would all but eliminate the talk-radio industry. [...]

"Freedom of speech is under attack in this country," said Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican and co-sponsor of the Broadcaster Freedom Act. "I am just committing today to use every rule, every tactic that we have at our disposal to keep the Fairness Doctrine from moving in Congress or to overrule it if it is implemented by the FCC." [...]

"Bringing back the Fairness Doctrine today would amount to government control over political views expressed on the airwaves," said Rep. Mike Pence, Indiana Republican and a former broadcaster.

Joining Mr. Pence and Mr. DeMint were Sen. James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma and Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon.

These guys aren't pushing a bill to get rid of the Fairness Doctrine, because it's already gone. They're pushing a bill to prevent anyone from trying to bring it back -- despite the fact that there is no meaningful effort to do so. TNR's Marin Cogan recently wrote a great piece, noting that she couldn't find anyone on the left who was serious about reinstating the policy. Cogan explained, "The prospect of being in the opposition often brings out the worst in conservatives -- paranoia and self-pity."

And as Matt Yglesias recent put it, "I've never heard of anything like the current conservative mania for blocking a particular legislative provision that nobody is trying to enact."

As for the Democratic response to yesterday's bizarre press conference, a spokesperson for the Senate Majority Leader said, "We have enough real problems facing this country that we don't need to invent ones that don't exist."

Steve Benen 9:45 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (55)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

As the article doesn't cite any language from the bill, how the hell do you write a law to prevent another law being revived. If the dems call it something other than The Fairness Doctrine, is that ok?

These nutjobs should just relabel the bill Dead In Committee

Posted by: martin on January 8, 2009 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

It's an obvious ploy to force dems to vote against it, thus allowing the repugs to claim with some truth that the dems want to bring back the Fairness Doctrine.

It's the same obvious rope-a-dope ploy they've been using for decades.

Why the dem majority can't quash them in committee is beyond me.

Posted by: Yellow Dog on January 8, 2009 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Next week the Republicans are going to submit a bill to ban the importation of tribbles.

Posted by: Mustang Bobby on January 8, 2009 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

Cogan explained, "The prospect of being in the opposition often brings out the worst in conservatives -- paranoia and self-pity."

This is wrong. They're like that all the time.

Posted by: Ugh on January 8, 2009 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

I think this whole Fairness Doctrine stuff is a red herring. What the Rs really don't want is a revival of media industry ownership rules that have been dismantled in the past decade, leading to a consolidated hold on radio by a few conservative-dominated companies.

Posted by: Ralph Kramden on January 8, 2009 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

The 'Fairness Doctrine' is just another straw man for Hate Radio to fulminate against. Like the 'War Against Christmas', 'Global Warming' and 'Clinton's Fault', it's raw meat for the base.

Posted by: DAY on January 8, 2009 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

And what's to stop any subsequent bill nullifying the anti-fairness-doctrine-act? Now an amendment, that would be a different story. But they're not going to get an amendment passed ...

This is pointless bullshit of the first order.

Posted by: royalblue_tom on January 8, 2009 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

When I am about to be run over by a speeding truck, I find that complaining loudly about how poor my garbage service has gotten makes me feel safer.

Posted by: the seal on January 8, 2009 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

The funniest part is definitely that such a law would have absolutely no effect. If Congress actually wanted to reinstate the fairness doctrine I imagine they could find a way to draft the law to repeal this stupid law at the same time.

Posted by: Liberal Chris on January 8, 2009 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

Posted by: Al on January 8, 2009 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

"We have enough real problems facing this country that we don't need to invent ones that don't exist."

One way to protest the fairness doctrine would be, of course, to engage in flag burning.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on January 8, 2009 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

We need to have Dems push for a disbarring of the Bush Doctrine, then.
Seriously this pre-emptive filibuster should be outlawed. Deal with what's on the table, not the chicken - little style of RNC fearmongering.


Posted by: RememberNovember on January 8, 2009 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

"We have enough real problems facing this country that we don't need to invent ones that don't exist."

While this may not be a 'real' issue, this is a solution to a problem that we (republicans) have! It keeps our base (low income white voters & the other assorted religious idiots) happy to be attacking the dumbocrats.

We may not be accomplishing anything meaningful, but we are accomplishing something. Just add this to all the other lip service we give to religious right! It gives them something to be angry at the 'left' about & keeps them from focusing on how much we screw them over economically.

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on January 8, 2009 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

Now, let's see. We have an economy on the verge of total collapse, two wars, an impending crisis in health care, rapidly rising unemployment, crumbling infrastructure, critical problems with energy, and a financial system in need of repair. So what's the first order of business for the republicans? Of course, it's the straw man issue that Limbaugh and Hannity have been ranting about for months. Makes perfect sense to me--gotta take care of your base. Screw the rest of the country. This should warn the dems as to what they're up against in the Senate--obstruction and diversion will be the name of the game. Best to crush them early and be done with it.

Posted by: sparky on January 8, 2009 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

Next up, the "Barring the President From Taking Your Guns Away" bill will be introduced.

Followed by the "Barring the Democrats From Legalizing Bestiality and Pedophilia" bill.

Then the "Barring the President from Replacing the 'The United States of America' with 'The People's Socialist Islamic Republic'" bill.

And finally, the "Barring the President To Keep Christmas From Coming" bill will be rolled out for the holiday season.

Posted by: 2Manchu on January 8, 2009 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

"This is pointless bullshit of the first order."


I didn't realize that bullshit could be ordered.

Posted by: in vino veritas on January 8, 2009 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with Ralph Kramden, Forget the fairness doctrine, time to reform media industry ownership. Gawd I hate the Beltway boys.

Posted by: Ed Norton on January 8, 2009 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK


Don't these guys know that the days of the AM Radio and the 3 Network TV Channels are over?

It is not a wonder that the Republican Party has been "Left Behind."

Posted by: TCG on January 8, 2009 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

If only Congressional Republicans had been so vigilant when Bush was attacking our Constitutional freedoms during the past 8 years. But I'm sure this is much more impotent.

Posted by: ckelly on January 8, 2009 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

If this is so damn important to them we ought to use it as a bargaining chip on future bills. Just because they are paranoid of something that will never happen doesn't mean we shouldn't hit them over the head with it.

Posted by: Phlip on January 8, 2009 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

The Republican Party, which is the wholly-owned political arm of America's Ultra-Rich Ruling Class, Inc., is working hard to ensure that America's mass media remains the wholly-owned propaganda arm of America's Ultra-Rich Ruling Class, Inc.

What do you expect? That's what Republicans are paid to do by their owners, just like Rush Limbaugh and his right-wing extremist clones are paid to spew lies and hate speech by the same owners, and just like the corporate-owned so-called "mainstream" mass media "personalities" are paid to spew corporate-sponsored "infotainment" propaganda by the same owners.

So shut up about the ownership of virtually all of America's mass media by a handful of giant corporations, and shut up about "fairness" or the notion that the public airwaves should be used in the public interest instead of corporate interests, and go shopping and buy the stuff you see advertised on TV. It's your patriotic duty to the corporate state.


Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 8, 2009 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

2Manchu's got it, except that the "Barring Teh Gays from Actively Recruiting Your Children" bill comes first.

Posted by: shortstop on January 8, 2009 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

"Republicans introduced a bill Wednesday that would bar Congress, President-elect Barack Obama and federal media regulators from bringing back the Fairness Doctrine"

I think the Dems should whole-heartedly, 100% support the bill and pass it through Congress right away. Then Pres. Obama can break out his brand new "signing statements" pen.

Posted by: Marko on January 8, 2009 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

Conservatives always need a boogyman, so they can always be fighting it. This stunt is for the benefit of the knuckledraggers who get most of their information from AM radio. They'll be quite impressed with this valiant fight against this imaginary liberal boogyman.
The GOP base is a pack of fools and the party leadership is smart enough to realize it.

Posted by: JoeW on January 8, 2009 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Yep. This is a sneaking horse for the media consolidation thing, not about the old fairness.

This is about the FCC ruling that cable owners can decide what's news based on their own personal beliefs about the world. All three or is it now two owners.

This is about the Florida supreme court ruling when Monsanto got newspaper reporters fired, the ruling that the media owners get to decide what gets reported and the reporters have no right to say they're being censored.

This is about Internet fair access too.

Watch these bastards.

Don't believe what the MEDIA tells you they're doing, for God's sake. Get a clue.

Posted by: me on January 8, 2009 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

These GOP leaders are really Thought Police -- they want to penalize people for even considering the idea of a Fairness Doctrine, before anyone takes action or even speaks about it.

The oppressiveness of these GOP Senators is repulsive. In their foolhardy attempts to build fences around Democrats they confuse democracy with authoritarianism and tyranny. Their only notion of debate is to prevent it from occurring.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on January 8, 2009 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

You figure with how the right screams like a wounded animal about the media being godawful liberal, they would welcome the Fairness Doctrine with open arms. You don't think they are not serious about the media being so godawful liberal, do you? Nah!

Posted by: gttim on January 8, 2009 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

I have a trade for the repubs. Pass this mindless drivel but add an amendment subjecting the broadcast media to tell the the truth and if it's proven that they lied then subject them to enormous fines.

Posted by: gandalf on January 8, 2009 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Personally I think we ought to try and bring the Fairness Doctrine back just to piss them off.

Posted by: AndrewBW on January 8, 2009 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Well, the strategy is obvious. Since nobody will introduce a bill to get rid of the fairness doctrine, they have to introduce one to really, really get rid of it. Then when Reid stifles it (or given recent performance, allows it to the floor), they can say "See. They do SO want to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine."

Advertising revenue for Rush, and feeding paranoia in the know-nothing tribe.

At some point, though, they are going to have to recognize that this is a death spiral, leading to a party that consists solely of knuckle-dragging loons.

Posted by: jayackroyd on January 8, 2009 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK
Next week the Republicans are going to submit a bill to ban the importation of tribbles.
But Tribbles are such harmless creatures ... and they like EVERYONE .... except republicans... they DON'T like republicans!

Posted by: G.Kerby on January 8, 2009 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't it facinating how the conservatives railing against the Fairness Doctrine have now made explicit the long-implied notion that providing opposing viewpoints would kill talk radio?

Posted by: Gregory on January 8, 2009 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

It could be that bringing back the fairness doctrine should be done. We must do something about the media or the media will erode our mandate and lead us into further war.
I like better simply cancelling the existing FCC licenses and putting fairness terms and conditions in the new licenses. We Democrats and liberals will make a big mistake if we take Bill Clinton's attitude toward the media.

Posted by: Doug Page on January 8, 2009 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

But Tribbles are such harmless creatures ... and they like EVERYONE .... except republicans... they DON'T like republicans!

Posted by: G.Kerby on January 8, 2009 at 11:07 AM

ROTFLOL! Bless you, G.Kerby, for the best belly-laugh of the week.

If only we'd had some tribbles to set loose in the Green Zone five years ago ....

Posted by: Yellow Dog on January 8, 2009 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

As far as I can tell, the only Democrat who has indicated, in any remote way, that he would support a revival of the "fairness doctrine" is Chuck Schumer. When asked directly about reviving the "fairness doctrine" by Bill Hemmer of FAUX News, his response was something along the lines of "We all want to be fair and balanced...don't we?" Given FAUX's ironic use of the motto, "Fair and Balanced", Schumer's comment can be interpreted in so many different ways, on so many different levels. Trying to hang a conspiracy to destroy right wing hate radio on that statement is like trying to hoist a ten ton Golem with a gossamer thread.

Posted by: majun on January 8, 2009 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

"Next week the Republicans are going to submit a bill to ban the importation of tribbles.

"Posted by: Mustang Bobby on January 8, 2009 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK"

Man, what a drag. I really want a tribble and NOW if I get one, when I go to the local bar, I'll look like I'm trying to start a fight with all the suits who come in after work.

Posted by: Kurt on January 8, 2009 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

With 250+ TV channels available on Verizon FIOS and hundreds of internet blogs and radio stations what is the fairness doctrine really about? Is it that each radio or TV channel must present all sides of controversial issues or is it that any group must be given the opportunity to present its issues somewhere?

The fairness doctrine emerged in the pre-cable era when just a handful of broadcast channels dominated the news. Maybe liberals just need to adopt a bloc of channels and market our ideas better. Admittedly right-wing anger, like the video games Halo and Grand Theft Auto, is a quick sell but the GOP is starting to complain about the liberal internet infrastructure and how the right has nothing comparable.

This shows that at some level the GOP envies people open to debate who can speak the truth. Sometimes, like in the old Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc nations, the truth itself is enough of a sell. We should just keep focusing on the message and let appropriate delivery channels emerge.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on January 8, 2009 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK
I didn't realize that bullshit could be ordered.

Why not? Regnery Publishing and the Church of Scientology both deliver.

Posted by: Catsy on January 8, 2009 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

Senate majority spokesman's comment is surpisingly spot on. Why doesn't Harry listen up?

Posted by: beans on January 8, 2009 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Dozens of radio stations spew right-wing talk 24/7 because the Fairness Doctrine no longer exists. Even if the big monopolies are broken up, odds are that owners will generally be conservative and likely to promote right wing radio. The Repubs are telling us what they fear. So bring back the Doctrine, and with it some fairness.

Posted by: wilky on January 8, 2009 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

If only Congressional Republicans had been so vigilant when Bush was attacking our Constitutional freedoms during the past 8 years. But I'm sure this is much more impotent.

Freudian slip or pun? Either way, it's damn funny.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on January 8, 2009 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Appropriate Dem response would be to whip each and every member of the party and make sure the bill passes with unanimous consent from each and every Dem even the handful that might like the Fairness Doctrine. Its never coming back anyway and if the Dems co-opt the issue the egg goes back squarely on the face of the Rethugs. Hopefully some Dem is smart enough to see the opportunity here.

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla on January 8, 2009 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, I understand your (like Kevin's) "style" is a sort of "Gee, I'm from Missouri scratching my head over these funny goings on ..." as a sort of sarcastic literary conceit or whatever, but of course (?) you realize that "yesterday's bizarre press conference" was for purposes of grandstanding in front of the dead-ender base (subscribers to Human Events newsletters with Ann Coulter messages, etc.)

Posted by: Neil B ☺ on January 8, 2009 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, there really is something worth imposing (brought back? - was it ever in place?): requiring a certain percentage of local-produced/broadcast programming from any licensee. That, as well as restoring the older more restrictive rules about conglomeration and market domination that the jerkier Powell boy trashed (or tried to.)

Posted by: Neil B ☼ on January 8, 2009 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

If he didn't, Neil B., he's thanking providence that he's got you always ready and eager to explain these things to him.

Posted by: shortstop on January 8, 2009 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

If the Democrats have no intention of re-creating the Fairness Doctrine, either directly or indirectly (through regulation), then they should have no problems passing this bill in the Obama spirit of post-partisan cooperation.

Posted by: DBL on January 8, 2009 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

yes dbl, the dems should vote for this bill. it should be on the agenda, right after the vote to repeal prohibition.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on January 8, 2009 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

What the democrats should do is wait till they have some bill they are having trouble passing and allow republicans to attach this useless measure to it.

Posted by: JeffF on January 8, 2009 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Appropriate Dem response would be to whip each and every member of the party and make sure the bill passes with unanimous consent from each and every Dem even the handful that might like the Fairness Doctrine.

As fast as possible, and with no debate. Just get this idiocy out of the way and focus on something more important (like, anything else), and deprive the GOP of a chance to grandstand. I suspect this will make the Republican congressional leadership absolutely furious, which is a nice side benefit. (Best possible outcome: GOP senators try to filibuster their own bill because they don't want to vote for cloture.)

Seriously, if they really have no intention of restoring the Fairness Doctrine (and I really hope they don't!), the Democrats would do well to preempt what is certain to be 4+ years of constant whining. They have absolutely nothing to lose from this.

Posted by: Nat on January 8, 2009 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK
Republicans introduced a bill Wednesday that would bar Congress [...]

A bill can't bar Congress from doing anything, since Congress can repeal a law just as easily as it can make one.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 8, 2009 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK


"This is pointless bullshit of the first order."

I didn't realize that bullshit could be ordered.

Posted by: in vino veritas on January 8, 2009 at 10:09 AM

Oh yes it can! There's worse and more pretentious (in context, "higher order") and there's not so bad or more trivial BS, believe me oenosoph baby.

And thanks to CMD for another cogent point, sharp as a tack man.

Posted by: Neil B ♪ ♫ on January 8, 2009 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

As a Chicano from the Sonoran Desert, many of my fellow conspirators do favor bringing back the Fairness Doctrine. If not, public discourse from the Chicano's point of view is rendered irrelevant, and at worst, non-existent.

And if you don't believe me, then, take Professor Jaango's Test for 'listening'. Thus, can you name the authors?

1. Who crafted the Idea that national legislation is called for and which prohibits any national political party for accepting racists and bigots into their midst for the purpose of affiliation?

2. Who crafted the Idea that the undocumented immigrant parents of a child born here in the United States, should be given Priority One to achieve citizenship?

3. Who crafted the Idea that Universal Health Care should "be rolled" into the VA's Medical and Hospital Systemic?

4. Who crafted the Idea that an "academic-military" draft should be implemented for "improving lives"?

Now, if you can name one author, you have been been "listening" to the Spanish-speaking community, and quite well, I might add.

On the other hand, if you are unable to name one author, there is no hope for you. And obviously, intellectual lazines, comes in all forms and sizes.

Posted by: Jaango on January 8, 2009 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

The real problem is liberal bias in mainstream media where agitprop masquerades as news.

Why are reporters afraid to reveal their political preferences and voting habits? We know why.

Posted by: Luther on January 8, 2009 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

I have to side with Ralph Kramden and me; this isn't about the former "Fairness Doctrine", this is about forestalling the Democrats from reining in the media monopolies that have grown up under the Republicans. Any attempt to reinstate and then enforce previous FCC regulations concerning media monopolies will be labeled as an assault on free speech and an attempt to re-introduce the "Fairness Doctrine".
And if they're going to whine and carry on about this, why not actually give them something to whine and carry on about?

Posted by: Doug on January 8, 2009 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

the republicans have been a joke for years. But the joke seemed to work for so long they can't get out of the habit of doing it.

they are used to rabble rousing and ranting a la rush limbaugh working.

So these guys are gonna try to make their base angry about something fictitious 'cause they don't have anything credible to use.

Posted by: lana on January 8, 2009 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK
Post a comment









Remember personal info?










 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly