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View Diary: FCC Chair promises to kill Fairness Doctrine. WTF??? (202 comments)

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  •  More precisely, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    1918

    the First Amendment rights reside with the licensees of the stations that carry Rush's show, or any other show.  Rush's First-amendment rights end at the windscreen of the licensee's microphone, or at the input jack of the licensee's jackfield.

    •  FCC licenses are a privilege, not a right. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Betty Pinson

      If they were a right, it would be open-spectrum world.

      Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

      by neroden on Thu Jun 09, 2011 at 01:55:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  and the public is allowed to comment (0+ / 0-)

        and file complaints.  The right wing was able to use the complaint and public comment process to their advantage back during the 80's when the FD was dismantled.

        It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. ~ Aristotle

        by Betty Pinson on Thu Jun 09, 2011 at 02:32:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  How did the right use the comment process (0+ / 0-)

          in the renewal cycle to its advantage?

          And when was the last time that the FCC denied a renewal application?  On what grounds did the FCC deny renewal?

          To my knowledge, there has not been an FD-based renewal denial since Red Lion. Renewal denials have been few and far between. Those that have occurred usually involve matters like the running of rigged contests, convictions of licensee principals for drug offenses or for the possession of child pornography, or misrepresentation or lack of candor in FCC filings. The catastrophic RKO renewals that date back about 30 years were doomed by lack of candor.

      •  If it were an open-spectrum world, (0+ / 0-)

        you would not need a license issued by the FCC.

        But I do agree, FCC licenses are grants of a privilege.  No one has a right to a license.  An applicant must demonstrate its basic qualifications.  And the statute (the Communications Act) explicitly states that the grant of a license does not convey a property interest.  So, the licensee does not own the licensee as an asset to which the licensee holds title, as would be the case for the transmitter, the antenna tower, etc.  The licensee is a trustee, and the license is a public trust.

        At least that is the theory (and what the law says).  In practice, particularly with respect to public-service (nonentertainment) programming, the FCC does not require very much of broadcast licensees.  The FCC has granted renewals by, e.g., home shopping stations that had no local news and that aired canned public-affairs programming very early on Sunday mornings.

        I'm of two minds about this.  On the one hand, I lament what has happened to broadcast news and to the broadcasting industry generally.  On the other hand, if listeners and viewers are not interested enough to communicate with licensees, to demand quality programming, and to boycott stations that air the likes of Rush Limbaugh, and to noisily boycott the sponsors of such programs and stations, why should the government force licensees to provide a certain amount of public-affairs programming, a certain amount of balance, a certain amount of locally produced news, etc?

        Broadcasters will generally air what attracts the most eyeballs and eardrums.  If the majority of listeners demanded quality and balanced programming, we would have it.

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