Thursday, November 09, 2006

BRING BACK THE FAIRNESS DOCTRINE

I took up a whole bunch of space at Lizzy's excellent blog (The OCD Gen-X Liberal, see links) and decided it might stand alone as a rant on my own blog, so here it is. It is in response to very recent comments by Rush Limbaugh, in which he says he feels "liberated", like he shouldn't have to "carry the water" anymore for people in his party who "won't stand up for themselves". You can go to YouTube and find Rush on video if you can stand to watch and listen... I learned more about his comments by actually going to his (gag! choke!) website. What do I think?

I'm going to have to rant here. Lots of the following is gut-based emotional blabbering, but when the topic is Rush Limbaugh, I have a hard time being reasonable and keeping myself from getting totally pissed off:

This guy is SO full of himself. He says it isn't about him, but it IS. He is probably one more of the many things that people who didn't vote GOP are getting tired of. Rush has been a driving force in the Karl Rove/neocon "divide and conquer" approach to American voters. People have made a statement, that they are TIRED of this kind of bullshit.

A caller on Rush's program was saying he was afraid that the center would move to the left, and that conservatives would no longer have a voice. I am guessing the guy must have been in, maybe, his twenties... He obviously hasn't been around long enough (or maybe hasn't been paying attention enough) to see how far to the right the "center" has been pulled, through the hard work of people like Rush, and organizations such as FOX "News".

When I was in my twenties (now WAY ancient history!) we had a center on the political spectrum that really was in the center. We had a Fairness Doctrine in broadcasting. People like Rush would likely have been laughed off the air, or at least equal time would have been given for the left. I'm not sure it was the right-wing talkers' messages that were resonating with Americans as much as it was more a matter of rich people buying up lots of radio and TV stations, and getting such crap on the air, enough that AM radio became saturated with it. Kind of a form of mass brainwashing, if you will. Find talkers who are good at using fallacies to get listeners to bypass their critical thinking skills and come around to the side of the talkers... who happen to be Republican tools, convincing voters to vote in favor of preserving wealth. The wealthy have their tool for getting people to vote against their own best interests, and instead for the interests of the wealthy. How cool is that! Pretty cool if you are one of the "haves". And then with all the repetition of their talking points, did this wave of talkers actually start believing what they were saying?

It has been tough for the past 15 years or so, listening to people like Rush Limpbaugh sucking in the suckers and spitting out his venom. As far as I'm concerned, the loss of the Fairness Doctrine and the emergence of such people as Rush represents a national tragedy.

I hope one thing the Democrats try to reinstate is the Fairness Doctrine. Media should not just be for entertainment, but also for education and information. How can the public stay informed if certain parts of the media are dominated by a particular political party? This is at least true in the case of AM radio, which has been dominated by froth-at-the-mouth people who call themselves "conservatives" for the last fifteen years or so. Dwight Eisenhower was a real conservative. Barry Goldwater was a real conservative. This current bunch is full of nationalistic types, fascists at heart, who have been given way too big a podium.

I would answer people who refer to the mainstream media as "the liberal media" by saying I think it is not (and never really was) a "liberal" media, but that this idea was put forth by people who felt that a media functioning as a "watchdog" might uncover things they didn't want the public to know about. If anything, I think the media is "corporate". The mainstream media outlets are businesses, and if things are run as businesses should be, the "bottom line" is the number one priority. Networks could be genuinely informative, OR they could include "news" such as what Michael Jackson is up to, or maybe about murderers, or about Jean Benet Ramsey. I think the mainstream media is all about showing what sells, what people will tune in to see. And what sells is certainly not an in-depth analysis of American politics...

Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly... they rely on fallacy and sensationalism, and due in large part to the latter, they have gained popularity. I wouldn't deny them their success, but just the same, I think they are prime examples of why we need the Fairness Doctrine again. How well could they fare if they actually had some competition?

Liberal media, my ass.

Rush and people like him make my blood boil. For now, it's time to wallow in the knowing that he has been beaten back a bit, at least for the time being, and that as a major influence in his party, HE is a big LOSER this week. By extension, Karl Rove is a big LOSER this week too. So is Cheney a big LOSER. Dumbya is a big LOSER. But I have to think that nobody deserves that LOSER tag more than Rush Limbaugh, who could be a viable candidate for King of Media Hyprocrisy. He can say whatever he wants, but right now I think he needs to realize people may not take him as seriously as they did in 1994!

And I think that's a wonderful thing.

For more on the Fairness Doctrine, you can go here:

http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/F/htmlF/fairnessdoct/fairnessdoct.htm

I think reinstating this would be helpful in keeping our country from swinging too far to the left or the right. What do you think, about Rush, about the Fairness Doctrine, about where the "center" of the American political spectrum actually is?

6 Comments:

Blogger Sheryl said...

What's interesting to me as a Texan is that Texas is equated with conservative, and yet a lot of the media people from the time you mention were Texans. Walter Cronkite was trusted more than anyone in the nation. If he represented Texan values, then he probably represented a semi-conservative interpretation of the news from that time period?

It's like you say about the Barry Goldwater conservatism. They have redefined the word "conservative" to trap people who associate that word with themselves, but I doubt that Walter Cronkite would spew the kind of nonsense from his lips that a lot of these modern media types do.

5:24 PM  
Blogger Sheryl said...

PS I want the democrats to rework the Telecommunications Act of 1996, so that we get our media back. You can't even blame Bush for that one, but it's paved the way for all the BS that has occurred since.

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've got to give equal time to both sides if you're going to have an honest debate about the issues. Currently the majority of political talk on the radio is just a form of Republican brainwashing. Bring back some version of the Fairness Doctrine!

6:18 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

I'm not sure if it's worth fighting to bring back the Fairness Doctrine. It sucks that it got repealed, but I don't know if this is a partisan battle that's worth fighting.

As obnoxious and venomous as the Rush O'Hannity types are, it's hard to tell how much damage they've done. If nothing else, they're keeping millions of losers off the streets. If these wackos weren't sitting around listening to Rush O'Hannity, God knows what they'd be doing.

We're gonna be stirring up enough hornets' nests when we investigate Republican scandals and try to get ourselves out of Iraqmire. Like I said, it sucks that the Fairness Doctrine was repealed, but I think trying to bring it back would take away our focus on larger issues. Just my 2 cents.

Who Hijacked Our Country

6:58 PM  
Blogger Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

I admit that I did listen to Rush during his short-lived TV show circa 1994 or 1995, but I stopped listening before his ratings pushed him off the FM dial. In my defense, remember that I'm only 29 years old, and I was young and dumb back then. I admire the late great Barry Goldwater. He was more of a republitarian, and he wasn't afraid to tell the "Christian" Right where to stick it (as if he was ever shy about sharing his opinions on anyone). He also bears remembering for being the victim of the first modern television attack ad, Daisy, which today serves as but one of many reminders that presidents who were first Texas governors suck.

Tom, at this point, I agree with you. I would only go further and say that I don't know how much Rush and O'Reilly are harming themselves. There always have been and always will be partisan muckrakers as long as this is a free nation, and their tendency is to self-destruct. Eventually, people tend to wake up and smell the guano.

12:20 PM  
Blogger OK278 said...

Seems to me guys... that you are just angry because the right wing has succeeded on radio. While I understand that you all feel that no bias

exists on the mainstream media outlets, but it does (http://www.newsroom.ucla.edu/page.asp?RelNum=6664)

Anyone who is conservative knows this... We see how articles are written about conservatives and we see how softballs are lobbed at democrats...

We see it... You accuse the right of being smug... What are you doing? According to you guys... as usual, you want another law to make sure you

get heard... When you get heard all the time... You have a free blog online yourself! If your "Doctrine" was re-instated, you would have to make

sure that I would get an alternate article to your rant here! Be careful what you wish for.

The real issue is that conservative radio works... You guys cannot get your own people to actually listen to Air America of whoever the

"Limbaugh of the Left" is this year... What you should do is create a radio show people actually want to listen to... What does that tell you

about your side of the isle? I understand you guys just tell yourselves that it is "brainwashing" and we are all drones if we hear Rush on the

radio and such, but in reality... there was a need for Rush... sorry, but it is true. So, if you cannot compete in the free market, you guys

write a law to "Hush Rush"... How would this work?

How do you regulate equal time? How do you regulate what is an opposing viewpoint? WHo regualtes it? You? I sure hope not... You want a direct

violation of free speech... If Rush was so evil as you say, people would not listen... But they do, which is what really bugs your side here...

You guys advocate free speech, you should be championing Rush instead of hoping for him to fail... Because if you success in "HUSH RUSH", then

you will pave the way to everything you truly fear. Can you write your blog here without an opposing viewpoint? You may say that my viewpoint is

listed, so that is a different point of view... But liberals call Rush all the time.

One of your commenters "Sheryl" said this:

"PS I want the democrats to rework the Telecommunications Act of 1996, so that we get our media back."

Really? who's media is it? only people who agree with you? Perhaps Rush's smugness that you loath so much is a reflection of yourself on your

side of the political isle. I thought the media was for the people? Not the liberal people... I guarantee when I read your "rant" the first

thing I thought was that you were "smug"... This is what our side keeps saying about your side being an "elitists".

Another commenter's comment: "There always have been and always will be partisan muckrakers as long as this is a free nation, and their tendency

is to self-destruct."

Limbaugh has been on the air for 19 years... still waiting for the self-destruction? If your doctrine is passed, the there is no free

nation...go ahead and re-write the 1st amendment and make it say, "Freedom of speech to all only if someone is there to refute your beliefs"

BOTTOM LINE:
If people did not listen to Limbaugh, he would not be on the air. Same of O'reilly, same for Hannity... etc.

If people listened to Franken, he would still be on the air. period. Your side just did not listen... You JUST DID NOT LISTEN. I hear of NO

right wingers asking to silence your side... yet you guys seem to revel in speech suppression... For God's sake, I am watching CNN and they left

is worried about the TV show "24" because it may help Bush... get real people. If your Doctrine was in-acted, could Micheal Moore make his

stupid "Hate Bush" movie or would you guys make a provision to exclude him? Because he is correct right? Not opinion, but a "documentary"...

In my country, both of us can say what we want, when we want it and how we want... In your country... I cannot talk until I find a partison to

refute me.

Lastly... Your hatred of Fox News comes from the fact that they actually portray a right wing side... You see, the very fact that they present

both sides pisses you off because they even DARE to present the other side, because according to you, it is wrong and they are all evil bigots.

You Rush is honest about one thing you cannot refute... he tells you he is conservative... He tells you his bias... then you can do what you

want. Does Chris Matthews tell you that he worked for Tip O'neal? What about George Stephanopolis? A Clinton guy??? You guys feel that Matthews

is fair and balanced and I can tell you that he is clearly not... You all assume (and so does Matthews) that "All Southerners are Racist", "All

Republicans are Evil", "All republicans are Gay Haters and actually gay themselves" and so one... yet you seem to be the only side calling the

other names...

Be careful.. If you guys get your doctrine passed... You cannot call our side names anymore... you would have to make sure you have someone

there to call you another name to be "fair"...

I hope you never get what you want so you can continue to write about how evil the right is freely.

As far as O'reilly... I cannot figure what you hate about him... He takes up for the left all of the time... Oh wait... I got it... He takes of

for the right even once, then he is a partison hack and must be removed... FOR EXAMPLE: Joe Leiberman

OK278

6:40 AM  

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