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Tilting at Windmills

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January 24, 2009

IT NEVER ENDS.... The National Review's Michael G. Franc's latest item begins with the headline: "Will Obama Revive the Fairness Doctrine?"

Sigh.

Apparently, during Eric Holder's confirmation hearing, both Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania (remember, he's supposed to be one of the Republican caucus' more sensible members) and Jeff Sessions of Alabama peppered the Attorney General-designate on his position on the Fairness Doctrine. Holder conceded he didn't know much about the policy, saying he would need to "know more about it before I could intelligently respond to the question."

Later, Holder responded to Specter and Sessions in writing, explaining that if Congress acted on the Fairness Doctrine, he would review its legality and be "fair and impartial" about its application. In other words, Holder doesn't much care, and the issue isn't on his radar screen. Given that he'll be at the Justce Department, the issue isn't really up to him anyway.

The National Review's Franc, without noting for his readers that Obama has already said he opposes reinstating the Fairness Doctrine, believes Holder's "evasive responses" offer a "hint" that the new Obama administration may "re-open" the Fairness Doctrine issue. Franc concludes:

The bottom line is beware -- and stay tuned to your favorite talk radio host for further details!

It's like reading dispatches from a parallel universe.

For the record, 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."

I suppose it's better to have far-right voices obsessing over a problem that doesn't exist -- as opposed to, say, bothering us with input on actual policy disputes -- but conservatives' obsession with this sure is tiresome.

(thanks to Ron Chusid for letting me know about Franc's item)

Steve Benen 9:40 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (38)

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Comments

However, the more they talk about how awful it is and how much they're against it, the more I think perhaps it might be a good idea to revive it. If they hate it, there must be something very good about it.

Posted by: Skepticat on January 24, 2009 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

Later this year, they'll be claiming credit for backing the Obama administration up against the wall on the Fairness Doctrine. Got to start planting some seeds to harvest at fundraising time.

Posted by: coldhotel on January 24, 2009 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

Not only are the Republicans unjustifiably paranoid about the Fairness Doctrine, they also don't know what it is. The Fairness Doctrine (capitalized) was the result of a court ruling that permitted a limited amount of air time to those specific individuals who were subject to personal attack. The court and the FCC expanded this narrow interpretation to the point that it began to look like an equal time based right-to-reply for anyone who claimed to be "attacked." (BTW, very few of these cases ever amounted to much and did not interfere in programming) This is the FD no one wants to reinstate. On the other hand, Section 312 of the Communications Act of 1934 (still in effect), requires stations to offer a variety of views on issues of local importance. That is still the law. So, the radio talk show millionaires and their legislative compadres should stop whining about the FD and start worrying about whether the FCC will in fact enforce the fairness doctrine (no caps) that is still the law.

Posted by: Jonathan Takel on January 24, 2009 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

Fair prosecution for opiate abuse, perhaps? I can see how Limbaugh wouldn't like that.

Posted by: dr2chase on January 24, 2009 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

(waving fist) First thing we do, we get rid of all the Fairness.

Posted by: Dick the Butcher on January 24, 2009 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

The hilarity of the right's defense of it's AM radio empire is that by defending it, they undermine it. By so vocally opposing fairness and equal time, they concede it provides neither. That's not a very good foundation for persuasion, and an impossible position to argue 'truth' from.

Let the rabid right revel in their antiquated technology. By this point, all that it adds to political discussion are laugh lines and further evidence that modern conservatism has become a form of mental illness. Why they would want to showcase the delusions that form their world view is beyond me, but since they insist......

Posted by: JoeW on January 24, 2009 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile....the Obama adminstration is tackeling the real problems of the day.

Posted by: Saint Zak on January 24, 2009 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

Plainly, Obama should trade - give up his push for the Fairness Doctrine for significant concessions on the stimulus package. Seems like a fair trade to me

Posted by: rkf on January 24, 2009 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

Repeal of the Fairness Doctrine was an important foundation of the Republican movement over the last 20 years. With it's repeal, Republican interests began buying up radio stations all over the country and creating a privatized propaganda machinery that has helped the Republicans enormously.

As a party dedicated to serving an economic elite, the Republicans have to cover their real agenda in order to bring in the votes of the working class. Their radio propaganda machinery is key to that effort.

Posted by: mccord on January 24, 2009 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

Fairness. Who could object to that?

Sounds like a good idea for those who use the public airways!

How do we sign up for that? I want to write my Congressman.

Posted by: capitalistimperialistpig on January 24, 2009 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

"...but conservatives' obsession with this sure is tiresome."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Isn't conservative obsession with EVERYTHING exceedingly tiresome? Their ice cream is too cold and their coffee in unfortunately brewed just right. How in the hell any of them ever get laid is beyond me. Most women I know rank pissing and moaning right up there with wife beating and unemployment on the "sexy" scale for a man.

Posted by: steve duncan on January 24, 2009 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

Now the Republicans are going to save us from Weapons of Mass-Media Destruction.

Posted by: Reverend Dennis on January 24, 2009 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Is paranoia and self-pity worse than their out right stealing from the American people and subverting our Constitutional rights and safeguards?

Posted by: capalistpig on January 24, 2009 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

In my first analysis being very upset in the way Mainstream Media is today makes me reflect on this ideal that

“The fairness doctrine be reinstated?”

Just saying that shows how ass backwards our Constitutional rights have been stretched to lines that cross to criminal violations and free speech treachery are in the forefront right now. Grievances cannot be heard, as a citizen my only right is to assemble here seems to be on this blog in the electromagnetic spectrum far removed from a video presentation. I hope and pray this transparency works to revive America.

Just having a fair debate is what we say we want isn’t it?

Listening to 24x7 cable prosecution in everyday news has gotten out of control.

Major Journalist have legal backgrounds that are manipulated for powerful agendas rather than good government. Or major media is supported by legions of legal cadre think tanks and politically motivated enterprises that are used Instead of reporting. Who know how many off shore tax havens the Arabs have that are legal entities working against American values. I have researched there are hundreds unreported.

We are shown with conscious deliberate smear; character personalities twisted in media manufactured video presentation that distort reality.

All can be proved in time, is politically motivated and is the real objection of the Neo-Con that is well connected to major media Mongols that work in concert to oppress citizen’s right with deliberate intent that is wrecking America’s social structure. A generation of propagandized prosecution with popular opinion has developed to generated guilt without do process or law.

For me, it just an opinion, I submit that the Arab Wahabbi, specifically the Bin Laden family close friends of Bush, in control of the oil that America needs have corrupted our government with the aide of Neo-Con’s, and Bush’s leadership have encouraged a culture of corruption that blindly, with dumb greed, has fouled the American free enterprise. Here we are at the mercy of tyrants that are a hip hop skip away from massive resource of people in Sudan slavery, a cultural original sin rampant wide open oppressed from America. It is a shameful sin event even any form of Grace can rectify.

Arab money flows under the radar unreported and it fouls the Americas communications medium. This is the worst terrorist achievement, worse than a bomb, and very successful so far. Today, America seems to be dysfunctional in almost every category. A Wahabbi dream.


Posted by: Megalomania on January 24, 2009 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

In my first analysis being very upset in the way Mainstream Media is today makes me reflect on this ideal that

“The fairness doctrine be reinstated?”

Just saying that shows how ass backwards our Constitutional rights have been stretched to lines that cross to criminal violations and free speech treachery are in the forefront right now. Grievances cannot be heard, as a citizen my only right is to assemble here seems to be on this blog in the electromagnetic spectrum far removed from a video presentation. I hope and pray this transparency works to revive America.

Just having a fair debate is what we say we want isn’t it?

Listening to 24x7 cable prosecution in everyday news has gotten out of control.

Major Journalist have legal backgrounds that are manipulated for powerful agendas rather than good government. Or major media is supported by legions of legal cadre think tanks and politically motivated enterprises that are used Instead of reporting. Who know how many off shore tax havens the Arabs have that are legal entities working against American values. I have researched there might be hundreds.

We are shown with conscious deliberate smear; character personalities twisted in media manufactured video presentation that distort reality.

All can be proved in time, is politically motivated and is the real objection of the Neo-Con that is well connected to major media Mongols that work in concert to oppress citizen’s right with deliberate intent that is wrecking America’s social structure. A generation of propagandized prosecution with popular opinion has developed to generated guilt without do process or law.

For me, it just an opinion, I submit that the Arab Wahabbi, specifically the Bin Laden family close friends of Bush, in control of the oil that America needs have corrupted our government with the aide of Neo-Con’s, and Bush’s leadership have encouraged a culture of corruption that blindly, with dumb greed, has fouled the American free enterprise. Here we are at the mercy of tyrants that are a hip hop skip away from massive resource of people in Sudan slavery, a cultural original sin rampant wide open oppressed from America. It is a shameful sin event even any form of Grace can rectify.

Arab money flows under the radar unreported and it fouls the Americas communications medium. This is the worst terrorist achievement, worse than a bomb, and very successful so far. Today, America seems to be dysfunctional in almost every category. A Wahabbi dream.


Posted by: Megalomania on January 24, 2009 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

There is something strangely appropriate that the right-wing is not only obsessed with this imaginary threat, but also that it is so, well, old-fashioned. Fairness doctrine? Really? That's so 'old media', isn't it?

In a world where the President has a Blackberry and is supported by bloggers who twittered the Inauguration from their iPhones, then went home to watch the cable coverage they'd Tivo'd, isn't it a bit strange to be so focussed on the Fairness Doctrine. It's a bit like worrying about being afraid the Feds will outlaw black-and-white TV shows.

The GOP, marching boldly backwards to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

Posted by: biggerbox on January 24, 2009 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Could we at least arrest Limpdick as the drug-crazed child-rapist he is???

Posted by: TCinLA on January 24, 2009 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

The new administration's appointees -- and Obama himself! -- have said nothing whatsoever about the plan to give me brazilians of dollars every year for the rest of my life, and free chocolate chip cookies.

If "evasive responses" such as Holder's "hint" at the administration's interest in the Fairness Doctrine, the utter refusal to say anything at all about my moolah means my fortune is assured.

To say nothing of the cookies.

And -- dear smart and lovely single women, I'm single too!

It's good to be paranoid and delusional. Or something.

Posted by: King Ralph 2B on January 24, 2009 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Clearly the Right does think that it is engaging in unfair activity that should be shut down. Why wouldn't we help them with their moral convictions?

Posted by: freelunch on January 24, 2009 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Even if the "threat" was real, I'd be against the fairness doctrine — we've come a long way from VHF and AM and I'd prefer to kick their ass in other media and don't want them whining that the Internet is unfair to conservatives someday. But I'm in favor of trust busting Media monopolies, which has even less of a chance than the Fairness Doctrine.

In the meantime, I love their panic. It's like watching people who are convinced that War of the Worlds was real, no matter Welles disavowal of it.

Posted by: Jay B. on January 24, 2009 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

Well, I think something needs to be done.
To have a fair debate about issues is one thing, but the right-wing has been reduced to LYING about everything, and I don't think they should be able to spew their lies unimpeded. How can the public make informed decisions when they are bombarded with lies 24/7? And this is not a small issue. It's as important as any challenge facing us today. Just think about how close the bushies came to turning America into a police state. Do you think they were using their spying powers to catch terrorists when terrorism was their biggest political tool? I think their top priority was to spy on political opponents. Do we always want to rely on these authoritarians to be incompetent? The free flow of information to the public is vital.

Posted by: James G on January 24, 2009 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

Every month Obama should tell the Republicans he'll put off reinstating the Fairness Doctrine for another month if they'll just sign on to X, where X is whatever he wants to do that month.

Posted by: N.Wells on January 24, 2009 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

It's been almost an hour. I can't believe those smart and lovely single women don't have my phone ringing off the hook yet.

How much less than nothing
Can the new administration say,
To prove that they've got my plan
Underway?

Posted by: King Ralph 2B on January 24, 2009 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

I've said this before: this isn't really about radio or television (although most pundits probably think it is) this is the next front on net neutrality. Wait till Comcast wants to put washingtonmonthly, huffpo, tpm and the like on a special 'news tier' that you pay more for. Or charges you for page views, or simply makes it load at dialup speeds, while foxnews is everyone's startup page (per a financial agreement with Murdoch). The Times loads slowly, but the Journal quickly. This is what this fight is about. Political animal gets queued, but the Corner always seems to work. And don't get started on all the 'spam' from moveon or the new Obama organizing group. If it's ok for comcast's radio stations do broadcast whatever they want, why not allow the firm to restrict what travels on their coaxial cable? The right has lost the web wars on a level playing field, anyone really think they're going to let that stand?

Posted by: Northzax on January 24, 2009 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Arab money flows under the radar unreported

I agree. Where did those millions donated to Obama come from ?

The Fairness Doctrine will be revived as "Local Control." An old technique.

It's interesting to see how comments that do not agree with the ideology of the blog are deleted on the left but not on the right. Mother Jones does not even post any comment I make there. I don't consider that an example of how "The right has lost the web wars on a level playing field." Last week I wanted to agree with Kevin about his comments of the Swedish bank rescue of the 90s and had to send him an e-mail.

It's not the act of a winner, folks.

Posted by: Mike K on January 24, 2009 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

No, it never ends but at least those clowns have less power in Government! Look at this edited email I got today from Human Events , (still too long, sorry, but it is important for readers to see this) in my research set. Note hysterical language, insults, lies, digs at Media Matters and ACORN, whatever. (This is a gem: "To head-off sleazy, squalid schemes by the Pelosi Gang and the Obama Administration to curtail free speech...") There is one point worth considering as fair play, which was that the Fairness Doctrine may indeed not have been a good idea and is abusable. But the point is, Democrats are not (?) I presume trying to impose it anyway.

"
Below please find a special message from one of our advertisers, Center for Individual Freedom. From time to time, we receive opportunities we believe you as a valued customer may want to know about. Please note that the following message does not necessarily reflect the editorial positions of Human Events.

According to Congressman Mike Pence, and others, the Pelosi-controlled Congress HAS JUST RENEWED ITS ATTACK on Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and others. They're ONCE AGAIN trying to shut down conservative talk-radio by bringing back the so-called Fairness Doctrine.

"Over the past few months, some of the most powerful Democrats in Congress have made their intentions to restore this Depression-era regulation clear. However, bringing back the Fairness Doctrine would amount to government control over political views expressed on the public airwaves. It is dangerous to suggest that the government should be in the business of rationing free speech."

Congressman Pence isn't the only one sounding the alarm.

Senator Jim DeMint says the Left's intention and goal is to silence millions of conservative Americans who disagree with the Left's warped vision for America.

"Democrats want to impose an unfair doctrine that destroys talk radio and silences the voices of millions of Americans who disagree with their vision for America. But the First Amendment of our Constitution guarantees the right of free speech, regardless of political affiliation..."

Senator John Thune tells us that the First Amendment to the United States Constitution is at risk and calls this draconian attempt by Pelosi and other leftists in Congress to impose their version of so-called "fairness" on the American people a "recipe for an Orwellian disaster."

...
And Congressman Greg Walden tells us that some Democrats seem to be INTENT on censoring speech on radio and television!

...
To head-off sleazy, squalid schemes by the Pelosi Gang and the Obama Administration to curtail free speech, conservatives in Congress have introduced the Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2009 (S. 34), legislation designed to crush the poisonous head of the so-called Fairness Doctrine.

According to DeMint:

"The bill would prevent the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from reinstating the Fairness Doctrine, which would suppress free speech by requiring the government to monitor political views and decide what constitutes fair political discourse."

Make no mistake, the Pelosi Gang and the Obama Administration will continue their policy of obstruction and try to KILL the Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2009. They want NOTHING to stand in the way of their attempt to control what you and I see and hear on the radio and on television!

That's why we must go on OFFENSE RIGHT HERE AND RIGHT NOW! We must bombard our elected officials with Blast Faxes and force them to explain exactly why they view the First Amendment as a threat!

Use the hyperlink below to send your personalized 36 Blast Faxes to President Obama and each and every Member of the Republican and Democrat Leadership of the House and Senate!

Demand that they either explain to the American people why they fear and loath the First Amendment, or stop their obstruction and bring the Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2009 to the floor for a fair up-or-down vote.

- Send My Blast Faxes -


Will Obama Or Pelosi Strike First?


The Obama Administration can bring back the Fairness Doctrine WITHOUT a vote ever taking place in Congress.

Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi:

"You give president-elect Obama a few months or a few years in office, and pretty soon he will have appointed a majority of the Federal Communications Commission. And my fear is that Commission could re-impose the Fairness Doctrine without ever having a vote in the United States House or Senate."

And what happens if the Obama Administration brings back the Fairness Doctrine?

Bill Ruder, a top official in the Kennedy Administration, told us how the Fairness Doctrine worked in the good old' days when it was simply FCC policy:

"Our massive strategy was to use the Fairness Doctrine to challenge and harass right-wing broadcasters and hope the challenges would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue."

But we're fighting a two-front war because Nancy Pelosi can make "fairness" the law of the land as well... AND LIBERALS IN CONGRESS ARE WORKING TO DO THAT RIGHT NOW!

Vincent R. Caravan, writing in the Valley News, said:

"Senators Diane Feinstein of California and John Kerry of Massachusetts and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter of New York are pushing for passage of a new Fairness Doctrine. Their aim, of course, is to end conservative dominance of the American airways and the Internet."

...

Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily.com paints an even uglier picture:

"This legislation will be crafted with one purpose in mind - control. As far as the Democratic Congress is concerned, they have no worries about control of the Big Media. Big Media dance to their Big Government schemes without being provided choreography.

"The new 'Fairness Doctrine' is going to be written in a way that allows the government to mobilize community organizers to do Big Government's dirty work. Groups like Media Matters and ACORN will be named to community oversight boards to police the programming of local radio stations. These groups will not be promoting 'fairness.' They will be promoting their own narrow and extreme political agenda. Anything that deviates from it will generate complaints and letters and calls opposing license renewals."

...

What Could Be More Fair?


Does the Pelosi Gang really believe in giving both sides of the political debate voice?

Let's take a look at Exhibit # 1.

For years, the American people have complained about the leftist bias of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR) - institutions supported by your tax dollars.

Viewers have been bombarded with attacks on orthodox Christianity; fawning, idealized depictions of Mohammad funded by the government of Saudi Arabia and the shameless nightly skewing of contemporary politics.

When decent Americans protested, the Left responded by thumbing its nose at us.

"Bias? We aren't biased. You're just paranoid. So shut up!"

Jeffrey A. Dvorkin - NPR's Ombudsman - wrote a smug, self-congratulatory column in which he actually said that nobody can legitimately point to a liberal agenda in NPR's broadcasts.

"Some listeners say they know it is there, because they can hear it, even if they can't put a finger on it."

Dvorkin is either delusional or a very bad liar.

...
Anything the left agrees with is "fair" by definition. Equal time is NOT required.

Anything decent conservative Americans agree with is "hate-speech" and MUST be countered with opposing views. It's only right.

In some sick way, Pelosi and Obama and leftists will probably tell the American people that they're being "tolerant" by even allowing conservative or religious viewpoints to have ANY airtime at all!

America can't go there!

...

Suppression Of Speech Is Quickly Becoming The American Way.


If this push for government control of political dialogue were an isolated phenomenon, that would be one thing - no more than an odd perversion of American values in a single industry.

But suppression of free speech is rapidly becoming the American way.

With few exceptions, major newspapers, magazines and the major television networks are monolithically leftist. They steadily lose money, lay-off employees and go out of business, but they stay the course.

In a shocking majority of our colleges and universities, left-wing slogans and Marxist clichés have replaced genuine scholarship in the classroom and on the podium.
...

Yours In Freedom,

Jeff Mazzella
President
cfif.org

P.S. Please help us reach as many concerned Americans as possible by forwarding this e-mail to at least 10 of your friends and family members.


Center for Individual Freedom
113 S. Columbus St., Suite 310
Alexandria, VA 22314
703-535-5836
Fax:703-535-5838
"

Posted by: Neil B ◙ on January 24, 2009 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Unbeknown to all but a few, the government is working on a new doctrine tentatively titled - Right Wing Nutjob Analprobes Doctrine.

Shh, don't tell anyone...

Yours in freedom,

Tin Foil Nut Job Dude

Posted by: Glen on January 24, 2009 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

This isn't hard to understand. It's the same tactic used for the last 8 years. Scare the rubes, make them pay to keep them safe, do nothing, declare victory over nonexistent danger.
Repeat.

Posted by: Antonius on January 24, 2009 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

BTW I don't like the original FD anayway for various reasons, but we should demand more local control and input for stations. And yes, keep a very keen eye on net neutrality as the Big Right (ironically, wanting to do there, close to what they're complaining about) distract us over the FD and traditional media.

Posted by: Neil B ☼ on January 24, 2009 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Why don't you and the Democratic leadership say straight out that you oppose reviving the fairness doctrine and put an end to the speculation? Holder had multiple chances to affirm that the fairness doctrine was bad, and he ducked each time.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 24, 2009 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

OK MRM, I'm game and think that would be a good idea. But hysterical exaggeration aren't warranted and will be like the boy crying wolf, which may never come.

Posted by: Neil B ☺ on January 24, 2009 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

conservatives' obsession with this sure is tiresome

It's also baffling -- claiming that the Fairness Doctrine will destroy conservative talk radio is tantamount to an admission that conservative talk radio can't stand up to having an opposing viewpoint presented.

(And even that leaves aside the question of why the public airwaves should be dedicated to conservative propaganda...)

Speaking of conservative bullshit, Marler wrote: Why don't you and the Democratic leadership say straight out that you oppose reviving the fairness doctrine and put an end to the speculation?

Because 1) The Democrats won, and that means the Republicans don't get to set the agenda any more, and 2) the obvious point that since the "speculation" is purely bad faith on the part of Republicans, no amount of truth telling can prevent their fantasies -- as your continued posting here demonstrates.

Holder had multiple chances to affirm that the fairness doctrine was bad, and he ducked each time.

Why should he say the fairness doctrine is bad? Since when is using the public airwaves for right wing propaganda that you tacilty admit won't survive scrutiny by an opposing viewpoint a privilege?

Thanks for continuing to demonstrate the dishonesty and bad faith without which the Republican Party can't survive -- and with which it can't survive either.

Jackass.

Posted by: Gregory on January 24, 2009 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, I second mccord's point that ownership rules are even more vital to the conservative media machine than the fairness doctrine. Restoring them to pre-Reagan levels benefits the American public at the expense of big media corporations and Republican propagandists (as if there's a difference), so it's win-win.

Posted by: Gregory on January 24, 2009 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

While we on the subject, would those who are asking "Why wouldn't Holder just give a straight answer, if he didn't have anything up his sleeve?" explain to me why the man asked to head the Justice Department should have a well-thought-out opinion of an imaginary initiative of some other agency, i.e., the FCC?

Are we also supposed to worry that Holder refused to comment on the (completely imaginary) Interior Department plan to build arctic rafts to preserve polar bear habitat? Is the Attorney General nominee supposed to take a stand on the (also completely fictional) NOAA project to build submarine habitats and breed humans who have gills?

Let me say this slowly: Holder didn't have an answer because a Fairness Doctrine initiative is NOT REAL, and, even if it were, it is NOT HIS DEPARTMENT. Unlike on Fox News, in the grown-up world we expect that responsible adults won't spew mindless comments about things they know nothing about. Maturity. Get used to it.

Posted by: biggerbox on January 24, 2009 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

"Maturity. Get used to it." biggerbox @ 3:41 PM.
I like that. Such an adult concept.

Posted by: Doug on January 24, 2009 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

gregory: Why should he say the fairness doctrine is bad? Since when is using the public airwaves for right wing propaganda that you tacilty admit won't survive scrutiny by an opposing viewpoint a privilege?


1. Because he thinks it is bad and he wants to end speculation. 2. The first ammendment; are you tacitly asserting that a Fairness Doctrine (possibly named "Local Control") should be reinstated?

Neil B., not all of the "vigilance" regarding the fairness doctrine is hysterical. It's a bad idea and some leftist writers want it, so everybody else has to watch and make sure it doesn't happen.

Doug: Holder didn't have an answer because a Fairness Doctrine initiative is NOT REAL, and, even if it were, it is NOT HIS DEPARTMENT.

In that case his answer is worse because he said that he would study the issue.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 24, 2009 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

You know how in Congress they pass a bill in one house, send it to the other side, where it gets completely gutted and replaced with something different?

I think this 'fairness' thing is like that. Health care, net neutrality, or media concentration, or the ability of media owners to dictate what's news--something's going to come along that deserves fairness.

And these guys will say "see, it's the Fairness idea coming out like we told you."

"Fairness" can be spun into anything -- usually into "they're trying to take something from you and give it to people who have less" -- eh?

Remember, you know what the 'Fairness Doctrine' rule used to mean. Years ago.

The right wingers are spinning the word into a weapon -- they'll tell their thugs what it means when they've got them angry enough.

And the liberals will still be saying "no, put that down, you don't understand ..."

They don't want to understand. They want to hurt people.

Look what they're doing to Reich right now.

Check "An Open Letter to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Michelle Malkin" for the spin.
http://robertreich.blogspot.com/

Posted by: rather not say, a bit fearful on January 25, 2009 at 1:25 AM | PERMALINK

Think for a moment about the affect of the Fairness Doctrine on media like Radio Pacifica, Democracy Now, and others that lean to the left. I'm against bringing back the fairness doctrine because I would shudder at the thought of the government looking over the shoulder of Amy Goodman to enforce "balance" or requiring a mandatory 10-min rebuttal inserted into every hour of Air America. In addition, would the fairness doctrine require science shows like Nature and NOVA to make the case for Intelligent Design alongside evolution, or to give a platform to HIV-denialists? I'm worried, and all that much more because I think people on the left are taking a naive view of the issue.

Posted by: Serious Blue on January 25, 2009 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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