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I posted up a diary on this earlier in the week.  You can find it here:

On that diary, the split on support for the idea of returning to a doctrine was interesting.  A majority do not support a doctrine, but it's close with undecideds running about 16 percent!  It really could go either way, depending on where people end up on the topic.

When I saw the unexpected split, I put out the call for pro-doctrine comments, with the goal of continuing the discussion.

More after the jump!

The most compelling pro-doctrine point made is about the very high number of conservative broadcasts on radio, compared to progressive and independent ones.  (And no, I don't count O'Reilly as real indy.)  The crux of the matter comes down to the question of how we keep the momentum for progress going when we've got this horrible framing going on 24 / 7.

This is a fair question, and one that I totally think we need to get behind and address sooner rather than later.  I've spent the week after the election, just watching, reading and listening to a variety of programs, many of which I don't normally pay any attention to, looking for core framing and to see who gets it, and who doesn't, even if I don't agree.

The result of this activity isn't pretty.  There is a lot of work being done right now to establish negative framing and to marginalize the social mandate Obama and Progressives have right now.  It's clear to me that framing will be used to build questionable narratives in the near future, and that's all out of the conservative playbook, 1, 2, 3.

On one hand, I really don't blame them.  What option do they have?  They could actually reconsider their core positions and their tolerance for bigots, theocrats, racists and such.  But then, that would also mean owning up to having given them a platform in the first place, and we all know that isn't gonna happen.  That would actually require these types to admit they have it wrong, and given the positive movement toward progressive ideas right now, would more or less kill off what party strength they have left.

So, it's all about affirmation for the 23 percenters (bigots, theocrats, pro-lifers, and others with an axe to grind), while at the same time pushing any position they can to reinforce the idea that the referendum we saw isn't on the free market, but on specific people who fucked it up, and the blame game is game on!

Poor bastards.

So, what does this have to do with the doctrine then?

Glad you asked.  (and if you didn't, let's talk about it anyway)

The core of the problem surrounds the imbalance between traditional media airing a lot more of this programming, along with a clear corporate bias, and progressive, populist ideas.  On the Internet, these are not really an issue, given we maintain a neutral net.  On the traditional media, it's a mess and the pro-doctrine people have a solid point; namely, these broadcasts in such high numbers creates a false perception of acceptance of these views that is far greater than there actually is!

If acceptance were that high, we simply would not have seen the election we did.

Additionally, expectations for this up and coming administration are running pretty high.  If Obama can't deliver, then the framing being laid down right now, will come home to haunt the Democratic party in the future and we won't see the kinds of gains the people have asked for, and an ugly cycle continues.

My problem with the doctrine boils down to not seeing how creating one would address this.  To recap:

We've got media ownership problems.  Too many venues are owned by too few.  That's inhibiting the normally more robust competition between programming forms and ideologies.  This is the primary reason why progressive / liberal / independent talk isn't growing at the rate it should.  

Why not focus on that then?  It's not like the two are exclusive, or bound together.  It's completely possible to make a strong case for less media ownership consolidation, without having to also tie a new fairness doctrine to it.

The media ownership issue is a winner, even outside the realm of political programming.  Music and general entertainment programming suffers from this problem, and awareness of that runs fairly high among ordinary people.  It's easy to see the framing being that Democrats are trying to free media and bring better programming to everybody, instead of being the party that helped kill media off, with enforced fairness legislation.

The compelling nature of news / entertainment is out of the bag.  Bias is not a bad thing, advocacy is not a bad thing and people have seen that and they like that.  If we legislate some fairness, we might get rid of Limbaugh, or at the least counter that a bit, but we lose Olbermann and others like him as well.  Mandated airtime requirements will cost money, and dilute strong branding and make offerings less compelling.

How many people prefer "The News Hour" to "The Daily Show", or Maddow, for example?  If we did some digging, I think we would find the younger people are, the more they prefer the latter, not the former.  I know I'm in the camp, and "The News Hour" is a good program!  It's also not very entertaining, unless you are a serious news junkie.

Most people aren't.

Dealing with ownership and market rules can and will open up more of the traditional media to competition.  Where those doors are open, there are people who will step through them and compete for their share of the media dollars.  

And that's the poll for today.  Where do you stand on media ownership?  Should we break them up, leave them alone, or don't know?

The framers clearly intended for us to be able to speak freely to the maximum extent possible.  We don't regulate speech, unless doing so would address a direct harm.  Not liking a particular mode of speech isn't good enough.  As much as I don't believe we are being well served by the current imbalance between progressive oriented media and conservative oriented media, I don't think we can legislate the "bad" programming away, without seriously impacting "good" media with a tool like the fairness doctrine.

The problem becomes then, "what is fair?".  Do we assign a committee, what are the legal tests, who qualifies them, are minority views included, and it goes on and on and on.  

This isn't something we can just pass the "level the playing field law" to fix, because the motivation to chill speech we don't like runs high with all of us, meaning if we start down that road, a lot of valid speech will be chilled.

The framers wouldn't go along with that, and neither should we.

Addressing the balance of ownership to encourage more vibrant competition let's us decide what is fair and what is not in the market place of ideas, while giving everybody a fair shot at actually being heard.  Working on media consolidation, while preserving net-neutrality is the way forward to that, not going backward to a fairness doctrine where the SCOTUS has already ruled that, if such a doctrine chills speech, it will be struck down.

(and they are right on that too)

It's fair to identify the problem; namely, a lot of media broadcasts working to marginalize the democratic speech of the American people.  It's also fair to want to fix that, but what I have not seen is it being demonstrated that a return to the fairness doctrine being possible without also chilling a lot of valid speech along with the hate / unhealthy speech.

Given this, and also given the assumption that a fairness doctrine would not survive court review, what other solutions should be on the table, along with media consolidation reform and reinforcement of a neutral Internet policy?

Originally posted to You can call me spud on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 03:49 PM PST.


Should we address media consolidation?

79%71 votes
19%17 votes
1%1 votes

| 89 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Let's talk about other solutions (8+ / 0-)

    I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

    by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 03:55:55 PM PST

    •  Here's one: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      potatohead, doinaheckuvanutjob

      Let's start telling the advertisers on the shows that feature right wing pornography that we don't appreciate their underwriting this kind of thing.

      In other words, hit Limbaugh and Hannity right where they live.

      One advertiser at a time. Target them.

      •  Bingo! (0+ / 0-)

        Yeah, I'm there too.  In fact, in a local discussion forum today, I read about somebody being threatened with arrest for taking audio to their AD revenue sources.

        I linked the guy up with the Spocko story.

        This would work big, if we had more momentum.

        Wonder if there isn't an easy path to do something like we've done for the netroots candidates, only use it to aggragate bad audio, package it up, have it delivered, and use dollars for legal defense funds and such.

        I like this idea a lot.

        Free speech isn't a shield.  So make hate cost them.

        I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

        by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 04:22:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I listen to crap radio. (0+ / 0-)

          It's a guilty pleasure. Actually, it's not a pleasure at all. It's so I know what angle they're pursuing, how they're going to try to use our strengths against us somehow. I know it's never going to go away. We just can't ignore it and put our heads in the sand. It is a business. It runs on money. And the money comes from sponsors. And those people are fearful, especially these days... Tell them how offended we are. Don't let's be shrill, just say, I've had enough of this. This country is in trouble and your guy is out there saying "this" and "this" and "this". Get actual quotes. Ask them, Is this a position that your company agrees with? I'd just like to know, for the record... I'm writing a little article this week, and by the way, what was your name?

          This kind of thing. Over and over and over....

          •  That Will Only Work if You Already... (0+ / 0-)

            Use their product or service.

            Most of the advertisers in our local market are local business owners.

            If a local auto shop advertises and you have been faithfully using them for 10 years, you may have some clout.  On the other hand, if it is someone that you don't use, I doubt you will have an impact.

            Talk radio, both conservative and progressive are funded by local advertisers.  It isn't like the nightly news that is supported by national companies.

            •  Limbaugh and Beck both shill for GM. (0+ / 0-)

              But then, they're already going down the tubes, without our help, aren't they? Maybe we can call them and say, Nyeah, nyeah, nyeah nyeah nyeah! Or something equally insulting.

    •  First of all (4+ / 0-)

      I believe that even though our current Supreme Court is tilted to the right, it would have no choice but to allow the FCC to enforce the Fairness Doctrine (should the FCC choose to reinstate it), based on established precident from the 1969 case "Red Lion Broadcasting vs. FCC." In order to reverse and established precident,  it would have to declare that the airwaves are no longer a limited commodity (which I don't believe they could do,  at least with broadcast TV and radio).  

      When obtaining a broadcast license,  broadcasters make the commitment to serve the public good.  I realize that as our society has marched rightward over the last 20 years,  this notion may seem antiquated.  I believe it still applies, however, since the same limited amount of broadcast frequencies on the spectrum exist as they did in 1969.

      I support the Fairness Doctrine.  However,  I also support going back to having stricter limits on media ownership.  

      This is a very interesting discussion btw, and I am waltzing into this in the middle, so if I am missing the mark I apologize.  Great diary, rec'd.

      Just another socialist lesbian undermining the sanctity of marriage by breathing

      by Gertrude on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 04:21:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think they will allow it (0+ / 0-)

        In the other diary I linked, there is a summary of cases and the SCOTUS preference is to not chill speech as part of any media regulation, unless that speech is linked to a known harm.

        I think that legal burden is high enough to marginalize any doctrine.  If it doesn't have teeth, why bother.

        Good to see you on the ownership issue.

        I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

        by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 04:26:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Careful Analysis (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, marina, Jagger

    A majority do not support a doctrine...

    More accurately, a majority of the people who participated in that discussion do not support the return of regulating out of control biased media.  That does not translate to "the majority."

    We already know we've had a massive influx of trolls, ship jumpers, sewer rats and conservative stowaways pick up memberships just to try and effect opinion before the election.

    That hasn't changed.  They didn't suddenly turn in their phony tin Progressive badges just because the election is over.  A "majority" of an opinion at Daily Kos doesn't really mean shit.

    But then again, a majority of public opinion at large doesn't mean shit very often, when a majority of the public is entirely WRONG about a particular subject.  And that may be as a result of many factors, not the least of which is ignorance that has been exploited by propagandized counterpoint.


    "(Our) stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand."

    by Detroit Mark on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 03:56:43 PM PST

    •  Oh I think that is fair, however the opinion does (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Luftmensch, doinaheckuvanutjob

      play out roughly in the same fashion in other discussions in other venues.

      I also think you have it hosed up a bit as well:

      "return of regulating out of control media" is different than "return to fairness doctrine".

      The former can be accomplished a lot of ways without chilling speech, while the latter is highly likely to do this.

      If we lumped it all into media reform, I suspect we would have a clear majority consensus on that one.

      My only point was that the pro-doctrine case made so far, doesn't meet the burden set by the SCOTUS, meaning we are likely to see better results with other means and methods.

      I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

      by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 04:03:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, I know. I was over selling it. (0+ / 0-)

        It's not up for a vote today, so I have no internal filter right now.

        "(Our) stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand."

        by Detroit Mark on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 04:07:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think Fairness Doctrine will have (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        a chilling effect on free speech.  We lived with it quite successfully for decades until the Republicans did away with it.

        There are bagels in the fridge

        by Sychotic1 on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 04:26:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  We didn't have infotaiment nor the Internet then. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Luftmensch, doinaheckuvanutjob

          Things have changed enough to make the doctrine a regression now.

          Again, if we chill O'Reilly, we chill Olberman, and maybe others.  (and those are examples obviously)

          News / political discussion back then was stimulating only because that's all we had.  Those kinds of programs would never, ever compete in the media environment of today.

          Essentially, big media would charge that their ability to make compelling programming would be chilled, and they would likely win that one.

          Besides, bias isn't a bad thing, so long as it's clear.

          The only reason we are seeing greater acceptance of stuff like FOX is because they lie, distort and hide behind the idea that they are fair and balanced when they aren't.

          If they actually had to take ownership of their bias, they would lose ratings big.  They already have!

          We need to encourage more of that, not legislate it.

          Media ownership is the key to this, not an outdated doctrine.

          Look at what happened when the Democrats snubbed FOX.  MSNBC posted up Maddow and Olberman, and FOX got it's ass kicked.  

          Imagine if there were just more available venues for that kind of competitive programming.  FOX would lose because the facts don't support their commentary more often than not.

          I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

          by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 04:31:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I disagree (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            potatohead, Jagger, Deejay Lyn

            For years we have been virtually shut out.  I am not talking about making compelling programs I am talking about a chance to even say anything that is at odd with the spin cycle.

            See how far to the right we have gone?

            I am going to sigh and go away, maybe next week I will do a diary on this history and educate people on the fairness doctrine.  It was a good thing, which is why they killed it.

            There are bagels in the fridge

            by Sychotic1 on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 04:40:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, I'm intrested in that diary. (0+ / 0-)

              I've been doing a fair amount of digging on the doctrine, and you are spot on where being shut out is concerned.

              That's changing though.

              Also, there are ways to deal with airtime.  Here are a few:

              Break up media and offer dollars for those doing research on new program forms.

              Restructure the media market, just like what was done with the telecoms.

              (and that looks to be coming up again too, for what that's worth)

              Deal with clarity.  I'm not sure how to do that one, but FOX, et al. work very hard at making the line between fact and opinion unclear and that plays to the conservatives favor.

              Where there is progressive oriented programming, exploit it huge.  We've got the net, and that's a growth deal, particularly with up and comers.

              What I've not had explained to me why we MUST have the fairness doctrine, when media ownership reform can address many of the lockout problems.

              They got talk radio because they were first with it, and removing the doctrine enabled that.  Agreed.  However, they nailed it with media consolidation.

              Roll that back, and it's not a lock anymore.  From there, we have competition.

              I'm gonna be frank.  I can't stand the older style news and politics programming.  I think advocacy is healthy, compelling and the need to not be fair opens the door for some great programming that is entertaining and informative.

              I'm into politics because of that and what we can do on the Internet.

              A return to the old, stale "non-biased" programming would be a killer, particularly to the up and comers, who are gonna point to us and call us old, and want to reform that and we lose longer term.

              I like Maddow, can't stand Limbaugh.  Many of my peers agree!  Opening the door to more of that kind of programming, will absolutely marginalize the Limbaugh programming, and that's fair.

              Sounds to me like you want to eliminate the entire genre of programming, and I don't support that at all.  Nor would the broadcasters, and a whole lot of people, who happen to like talk radio, and info-tainment type programming.

              Look at "The Daily Show".  Is it fair?  Hell no it isn't fair, but it is informative and the fact content is solid, and actually quite clear.  That's way better than "The News Hour", for example.

              I'll wager we can count the number of 18-30 year olds that watch that and CSPAN on one hand.  By comparison, "The Daily Show" is doing quite nicely in those demographics.

              If we are, in fact, the party of ideas, we better damn well be able to support the robust expression of ideas and let those stand on their merits.

              Looking forward to your diary on this.

              I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

              by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 05:10:55 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The Fairness Doctrine (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                never applied to satire, shows like SNL or Stewart.  It was more concerned with what passed itself off as "news".

                And by the way, the only reason Rush gets away with some of the crap he gets away with ... like using audio from speeches and stuff ... is by convincing the FCC that he is a "news" service.

                The unfortunate effect is that under the Fairness Doctrine, Rachel and Keith would no longer be able to do their 5 minute diatribes on how corrupt the republicans have become.

                But...then it's a chance I'll take, because under the Fairness Doctrine, the republicans will be forced to be slightly less corrupted.

                "(Our) stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand."

                by Detroit Mark on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 05:43:50 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  No way man. (0+ / 0-)

                  I want to hear the Maddow and Olberman, Stewart and more.

                  It's a good thing.

                  Restructuring the media market means more programming of this type.  The Limbaughs can only go down.  Think about it.

                  We have the total advantage here.  23 percent of us really crave that shit.  The rest are inclined to entertain Maddow, et al.

                  Once ownership is broken up, new owners are gonna want to compete.  The potential audience for Maddow, et al is absolutely huge compared to Limbaugh.  If it wasn't, we wouldn't have had the election we just had.

                  Why not turn their own game right back on them?

                  As an added bonus, progressive programming of this kind is well supported by the facts meaning they don't even have to distort much.  Just tell the stories and entertain with them.

                  The other side has to distort, lie, cheat and steal their way, for a built-in handicap.

                  Ownership first, doctrine second, if ever.

                  I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

                  by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 05:57:51 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You are confusing two products (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    potatohead, Sychotic1

                    One is entertainment.

                    The other is the reason that the Constitution protects us from the "abridgement of a free press."

                    Our theoretical 4th Branch of Government is journalism which sees and reports, so that you can vote informed.

                    That journalistic integrity must be protected at all costs.  Journalism is your eyes and ears into government, and into its activities such as war and the negotiations of treaties.

                    We will always have an appetite for good comedy, and for a good progressive rant.  But we will always NEED to be able to open a paper, or find a story on the internet and know that it is very likely the truth wether we are a republican ... or an American.

                    "(Our) stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand."

                    by Detroit Mark on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 06:09:57 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Not true for KO and Rachel (0+ / 0-)

                  People seem to not understand where the FD applied and would apply. The FCC only has control over broadcast TV, and AM and FM radio. Not cable channels or satellite TV and radio. A new FD would have no impact on KO or Rachel. It's still a really bad idea.

                  "let's talk about that"

                  by VClib on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 06:10:44 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  The FD is a bad thing (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              And I am glad it's dead. We are the party of free speech.

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 06:08:13 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  It did, I was there (0+ / 0-)

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 06:07:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  The Context is Public Airwaves (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, Jagger

    And, in that context, Ronald Reagan repealed the Fairness Doctrine.

    Forever after, the American People became the American Sheeple, the nation was run and destroyed by certain corporations, and somewhere George Orwell is smiling as he watches it all play out.

    •  Yeah? And we are seeing growth of good (0+ / 0-)

      programming now.  I think the problem boils down to conservatives having some built-in advantage in that they cater to raw emotion and wealthy interests controlling media and seeing to control more.

      One thing I've noted, and that I can't get away from, is that biased programming is compelling, entertaining and often quite informative, AS LONG AS THAT BIAS IS CLEAR.

      With Maddow, for example, it is perfectly clear.  With O'Reilly / FOX, is isn't, and I think that's a problem not easily solved by fairness in airtime regulations.

      That lack of clarity is why the programming is accepted far more than it otherwise would be.

      I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

      by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 04:06:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A comparison (5+ / 0-)

    In 1993-1994, Rwandan right-wing hate radio played a central role in both inciting and organizing genocide against the Tutsi.  Putting a monopolistic weapon of discourse into the hands of one extremist faction greatly enhances the power of extremists to mobilize their supporters and create the conditions for violence.

    Given some of the right-wing rhetoric, both during the campaign and continuing today, I see no reason to suppose that a Rwandan-type scenario is not possible in the United States, as long as right-wing hate radio can monopolize bandwidth and exclude entirely opposing points of view -- except in the distorted form needed to defame them and lie about them.

    That's not free speech.  That's shackled speech.

    •  I made this argument in another diary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sychotic1, Don Enrique

      and thanks for bringing it up again. Except for the direct incitement to violence (which could happen here), there is little separating the rhetoric of Limbaugh, Savage, et al from that of the Hutu deejays in Rwanda. It is openly racist and appeals to people's sense of grievance in uncertain times. If those people had to listen to cooler heads on the other side, enough of them might turn away from right extremism. The way that Limbaugh rails against the Fairness Doctrine shows that his game is up if it's reimposed.

      •  True, but we can also do it by changing (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Luftmensch, doinaheckuvanutjob

        media market rules.

        If we legislate Limbaugh into having to share his time, we do the same for Maddow, Olberman, et al.

        This will dilute the progressive ideas and move us more center, instead of left.

        Given the 30 years or so of strong right leaning pull away from the center, it's not smart to simply pull to center.  We need to progress, the people have said they want progress, and that means being able to air strong ideas about progress.

        It's game up for Rush as soon as we crack the media consolidation nut too.  IMHO, he's smart enough to know that feeding fuel to the idea of a new doctrine will blow up huge against Democrats.

        The framing is simple:  They will say the party of tolerance broke down and couldn't tolerate me, and it goes off from there.

        Better to make damn sure he's got solid voices on the air, that expose him for the nut-bag he is, and ratings and dollars will take care of the rest.

        That's an ownership problem, not a fairness in airtime problem.

        I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

        by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 04:18:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not valid (0+ / 0-)

      When right-wing radio starts advocating genocide against Dems I'll agree with you that the FD would be a good idea. Are you trying to suggest any equivalence here? That's nonsense.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 06:05:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What do you think (0+ / 0-)

        They're talking about when they tell their listeners to buy guns (supposedly to protect them against things the evil liberals are going to do to them)?

        It sounds like agitation for a civil war to me.

        •  Buying guns (0+ / 0-)

          For self protection is a far cry ftom advocating genocide. There is no equivalence here. Do you really think the wingers are suggesting that their listeners start a civil war? This is nonsense.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 04:04:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Why Would Anybody Want To Shut The Right Up?? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    potatohead, Luftmensch, shrike

    Hello. Are these fools helping their cause or sinking their ship? I not only do not want to silence them or tone them down or balance them out I want to make sure everybody who votes listens to their stupidity. The Right Wing Noise Machine dooms the GOP. I would like to keep it that way. More Ann Coulter please. Throw in a little Michael Savage. Top it off with some Fox News. With enemies like these who needs friends??

    "But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope." Barack Obama

    by Sam James on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 04:04:55 PM PST

  •  We have to do something about... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, Jagger, doinaheckuvanutjob imbalance.

    It's gotten to the point where it's not even about "fairness" any more so much as it is about objective reality.

    Media Matters reported today that Michael Savage essentially accused Barack Obama of murdering his grandmother to cover up the doctoring of his Hawaiian birth certificate.

    This is a man who reportedly is heard on a national network of 350 radio stations and reaches an estimated 8.25 million listeners.

    That someone who makes such an outrageous accusation without any supporting evidence - in fact, in the face of ample evidence to the contrary - is given access to a microphone on public airwaves is a national disgrace.

    •  Well, how will fair time fix that? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Say we've got the doctrine!

      So, Savage still says that crap, and his looser bob base of followers still listen to it and feel good about it.

      There is some BS rebuttal at the end of his program, or perhaps his program is followed by a more sane program.

      So what?  

      Those that really are into that shit are still gonna consume it.

      How does the doctrine fix that?

      I think we could do more damage hitting people for AD dollars than we can than we can do trying to legislate "fair" and "decent" into the law.

      I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

      by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 04:08:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right-wing talk radio... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sychotic1, Jagger, Foxwizard, Don Enrique
        ...came into being with the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine.

        Until then, if a radio station aired an opinion, it had to offer equal time to those with dissenting opinions.

        Shows like Limbaugh's, Hannity's, Savage's and others simply didn't exist, because if a radio station gave an hour of air time to someone with an opinion show (and that's what these are), they would have to provide another hour of air time to those with opposing views.

        In other words, for every Rush Limbaugh they would have to air a Rachel Maddow. For every Sean Hannity a Randi Rhodes. For every Michael Savage, a Jim Hightower.

        The Fairness Doctrine did not hamper free speech. It simply dictated that diverse opinions had to be accomodated on the public airwaves.

        •  I don't understand (0+ / 0-)

          how, if you air opinion-based programs, you can legislate "fairness". Won't the right wingers just turn off the radio after Limbaugh's show is over, and then turn it back on when Hannity comes on?

          Or does the F.D. make it so that Limbaugh is required to say liberal things in between his militant neocon screeds?

          Also, who is to say what the "opposing view" is that is going to be allowed to balance the initial opinion? The F.D. is premised on the misnomer that there is only one opposing view to any opinion. What true fairness would be would be a permanent 24 hour soapbox of unscreened callers, babbling incoherently.

          Come to think of it, it's kind of like this place...

          •  It's not about the individual hosts... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
  's about the radio station and its ability to do business. If a station owner in a deep red-state community is required to seek out liberal talk shows - which few of their listeners will listen to - they'll likely change formats rather than continue to air programs like Limbaugh.

            I repeat - right-wing talk radio simply did not exist before the FD was lifted. If the FD (or something like it) was put back into place, there would be little profit to stations in airing opinion-based radio programming.

            •  But we also have Hartmann, Schultz... (0+ / 0-)

              ...Rhodes and others now too.

              IMHO, talk radio is a good thing.  It's true that the format was less viable with the doctrine, but then again, a lot of stuff was less viable with the doctrine.

              Going back to that is essentially saying we should nuke traditional media.  That's not what we need.  Seriously.

              Let's fix it, and continue to have compelling programming, not just nuke the programming.

              That won't fly with the SCOTUS and Congress anyway.  Media would crucify them and they know it.

              This is a media ownership problem, and that also helped the rise of talk radio.

              I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

              by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 04:34:46 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  This is the crucial point (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              there would be little profit to stations in airing opinion-based radio programming.

              That's ANY opinion based programming, not just right-wing opinion based program.  If you have to deal with the influx of lawyers constantly requiring that you prove that you have "balanced" opinions, you will just remove opinions from your broadcast.  Right leaning opinions AND left leaning opinions.  

              It seems to me that the Fairness Doctrine will simply shut down opinion based content.  

              •  Sorry, I don't see that as a bad thing (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                It may be sacrilige to say this here, but I don't watch Maddow or Olbermann, and I don't listen to liberal or conservative talk radio (granted, there is no liberal talk radio in my neck of the woods, which is perhaps why I wouldn't miss it.

                And while I do read the opinion sections of my daily newspaper, and have even been known to write letters to the editor, I'm glad those sections are relegated to one or two pages of the paper (a few more on Sunday).

                One of the problems with our discourse today is that we're awash in opinions, which generates far more heat than light.

                I, for one, would like to see less opinion and more fact-based information.

                •  I don't. (0+ / 0-)

                  I like those programs, and think we should have more of them.

                  Facts are easy these days.  It's almost correct to say they are free, and rather un-interesting, unless put into context.

                  Context is where we get stories, and from those we generate food for thought.  Movements happen from good advocacy like this, our movement is powered by advocacy like this.

                  We wouldn't be where we are, if it were not for advocacy like this kind of advocacy.

                  If being fair means losing "The Daily Show", or Maddow, then that's chilling valid speech.  SCOTUS was clear about that not being ok, and big media will win that one.

                  Nobody wants a return to the 70's, where news and information programming is concerned.

                  Bias is not a bad thing.  Lack of clarity about it is.

                  I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

                  by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 05:16:09 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The FD was not that far-reaching... (0+ / 0-)
                    ...political satire is entertainment, and entertainment did not fall under the jurisdiction of the FD. Only news programming.

                    I went away for a while, but I'm back.

                    There seems to be a basic misunderstanding here about what the FD required. It did not apply to sitcoms, weather reports, sports programming, soap operas, variety shows or game shows.

                    Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, The Smothers Brothers and All In the Family all thrived under the FD.

                    The FD would not rid us of The Daily Show. In fact, it would probably not doom Rachel Maddow, since she goes out of her way to give air time to people whose viewpoints do not agree with hers.

                    As for "context," I'm confused - "context" is what is provided by objective fact. Limbaugh and Hannity are not in any way about providing "context."

                    •  Context is about tying the facts... (0+ / 0-)

                      together toward some conclusion.

                      We have opinion because the facts are often not inclusive.  If they were, there would be no viable opinion.

                      There is a case for us really having all the facts, but not being smart enough to see what they mean.  No question on that, and no remedy either.

                      When I hear the goings on, who legislated what, who fucked who, who paid who, etc...

                      Those suggest a story.  Sometimes there are multiple stories too.  Facts are not exclusive to one event, right?

                      So then, in that scenario, some stories, some conclusions have greater meaning, greater context, and that's really the root of advocacy.

                      Advocacy motivates people to do stuff, where sometimes just reporting doesn't.

                      In this age where we have a lot of media choice, a greater emphasis on advocacy is warranted.  Back then, media was limited, so any real advocacy packed quite a punch.  That's not as true today.

                      Also, there are a freaking TON of facts available now.  Too many, some would argue right?  Tying those together, with a known and clear bias helps to focus on those things that might be important, given one shares that bias.

                      I see absolutely nothing wrong with that, given the bias is clear, and the difference between fact and commentary is clear.

                      Agreed on Maddow.  She's great.

                      One other thing too.  Say there is a significant movement to bring the doctrine back.  Don't you think the right would seek to expand it to hobble the left and it's more effective advocacy?

                      Damn right they would, and they would be motivated by the Religious Right to do so, meaning we can't be sure the scope would stay sane.  IMHO, that's risky.

                      On the other hand, breaking up big media has fairly predictable results, by contrast.  Increasing competition means opening up doors for progressive ideas more than it means opening up doors for the already saturated lot of conservative ideas.

                      I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

                      by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 06:12:36 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, it did. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          socialist butterfly, VClib

          We just didn't realize it because the doctrine covered most all the media we consumed.

          Now that's not true, and it would bring an unfair advantage to new media, over traditional media.

          They would win that one, or force a trade for a non-neutral net, and we would lose on both of those.

          I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

          by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 05:13:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  This is about business practices (0+ / 0-)

            Owning, running, licensing, and staffing a radio station takes huge $$$ compared to a website. When radio got the chance to fill their airwaves with incendiary drivel, they were also able to rack up revenues from advertisers selling golf clubs, trips to Vegas, life insurance and so on.

            If they have to go back to scheduling actual boring truth along with the rage, it will hurt their business model enough that they'll go back to playing classic rock.

            I say bring on the Zeppelin.

        •  Not true (0+ / 0-)

          Those of us who were in broadcasting at the time know that the FD stopped most stations from even mentioning political issues. We are the party of free speech, no FD.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 06:01:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  WiMax will soon make the spectrum wars (0+ / 0-)


    Leave Free Speech alone!!!!!

    •  I agree with this, also younger listeners (0+ / 0-)

      have already tuned out to a larger degree than my generation has.  The oldest among us give this stuff the most credence.  The very youngest don't, and probably won't given the mess that's on right now.

      I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

      by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 04:09:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  That there is even a plurality of people here (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shrike, bugscuffle, tnproud2b, Sam James

    interested in handing the gov't control over private speech is appalling.

    It's a reminder that I need to look over my shoulder at fellow Dems as well as across the battle lines to the Republicans.

      •  Money quote: (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sui Juris, Luftmensch, shrike, coffeetalk

        I was in radio under the reign of the Fairness Doctrine, at WMEX in Boston in the 1940s and early 50s. We did not have any of the present-day contentious talk radio shows, but we covered politics and politicians. I was often the announcer for the mellifluous appearance of the legendary James Michael Curley (played by Spencer Tracy in The Last Hurrah). And we did offer political opinions on the air. I, for example, did so on my jazz and folk music programs.

        Suddenly, Fairness Doctrine letters started coming from the FCC and our station’s front office panicked. Lawyers had to be summoned; tapes of the accused broadcasters had to be examined with extreme care; voluminous responses had to be prepared and sent. After a few of these FCC letters, our boss announced that there would be no more controversy of any sort on WMEX. We had been muzzled.

        This happened at other radio stations as well. And as evidence mounted that the Fairness Doctrine lessened, rather than increased, diversity of views, the Supreme Court in 1984 --- in a case called FCC v. League of Women Voters --- concluded that in view of the abounding number of radio and television channels around the country (and, I would add, the growth of one-newspaper towns and cities), the scarcity doctrine (thus the Fairness Doctrine) didn’t hold up. In 1987, the FCC followed the high court and ringingly declared that "the intrusion by government into the content of programming occasioned by the enforcement of the [Fairness Doctrine] unnecessarily restricts the journalistic freedom of broadcasters... [and] actually inhibits the presentation of controversial issues of public importance to the detriment of the public and in degradation of the editorial prerogative of broadcast journalists."

    •  No Kidding! (3+ / 0-)

      That's why I've started diaring on it.  This is a discussion we need to have.

      Reaching a fair state of media affairs, doesn't mean we have to have the fairness doctrine back.  It just means we need to start applying all the tools we have to the problem, looking for solid gains and keep at that until we are in a better space.

      Those tools are law, money, norms, physics.

      Legislating fair is a legal mess.  On the other hand, breaking up media to encourage robust competition will bring us more fairness, while at the same time not having to deal with discriminatory law!

      Why people don't get this is beyond me.

      Good news is the media consolidation issue is seeing a stronger consensus.  That's good news, if we get movement toward that.  Democrats are likely to favor this far more than Republicans are.  Could be a good thing.

      I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

      by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 04:12:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Don't misunderstand me... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        I am strongly in favor of breaking up the media conglomerates, in fact, much more in favor of that than bringing back the Fairness Doctrine.

        I would not mind seeing the doctrine's return, but I don't believe it should be a priority of the Obama Administration.

        I do think media diversification should be a first-term - in fact, first two years - priority.

        •  fwiw (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          socialist butterfly, coffeetalk

          Diversification is great in theory, and really really really tough in practice.  I'd love to see a diversified ownership of radio and television (more radio, though), but there's only so much gov't can do.

          The Fairness Doctrine, though, that's not just a practical mess (as well illustrated above), but an abomination of principle.  Government has deciding what opinions ought and ought not be aired.   That there are thousands of people here who still - after eight years of Bush - fail to appreciate the dangers of placing discretion over fundamental rights in the hands of gov't - is boggling.  And terribly terribly disappointing.

        •  We agree on media consolidation. (0+ / 0-)

          I also think we will find it to be effective, thus relegating the doctrine to idle discussion only.

          And here's the thing on that.  If we continue to bring the doctrine into the discussion, Limbaugh plays that up, and media consolidation won't happen as it should.

          Better to take them as seperate issues, and work on breaking up big media first, then and only then, deal with the doctrine, if we find it necessary.

          At that point there will be momentum and larger scale acceptance of the problem.

          Now is the wrong time to continue discussion of possibly returning to the doctrine.

          I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

          by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 05:18:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Diaried This in October (0+ / 0-)

    An alternative to the Fairness Doctrine may be Rep. Slaughter's "Media Act."

    "When people fear the government there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty."--Thomas Jefferson

    by skeezixwolfnagle on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 04:12:42 PM PST

  •  Fairness Doctrine (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, Jagger

    Originally, the Fairness Doctrine stemmed from the idea that if broadcasters were to be allowed to use a public resource--the airways--they needed to somehow serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity. Over the past 70 years or so, we have gotten away from the notion of serving the public and somehow replaced it with service more narrow ideological interests. These interests include theological interests as well as political interests. There is little concern for the public.

    I would suggest that this might be related to a broader concern that many people who are licensed to serve the public--doctors, pharmacists, taxi drivers--now feel that they can deny serving the public in the name of religion or some other non-public interest.

    •  I think that angle would work in practical terms. (0+ / 0-)

      A commitment by the FCC and Obama to revive, enforce and demand more public service commitment in media could clean up much of this mess, and could be supported by a public majority.

      Children in the U.S... detained [against] intl. & domestic standards." --Amnesty Internati

      by doinaheckuvanutjob on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 05:41:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  While I agree we need to deal with the ownership (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    consolidation question, I also think a new fairness doctrine is needed.

    It is the nature of the fairness doctrine that is a question. Would we insist on fairness across the board, so that an hour of Limbaugh would have to be balanced with an hour of Maddow?

    That, it seems to me would clearly cross the lines of constitutional muster and common business sense.

    What I think a fairness doctrine needs to be applied to is the availability and pricing of ad time on broadcast media. IOW, say a radio station sells 20 thirty second spots to the GOP candidate at $800 (a realistic scenario), but then, because the ownership supports the GOP, the Dem candidate would be charged $1200 for the same spots in the same timeframes. I believe that the electoral process is so important to our civil life as a democracy that it is important the station be forced to sell the same spots for the same price to both parties. This does not deprive the owner from voicing his opinion; he is free to editorilize, after all. But it would assure a fair and open marketplace of political ideas.

    •  Having worked in the newspaper biz... (0+ / 0-)
      ...and having friends in radio, I can assure you  it is rare, if not non-existent, for a media outlet to have two political ad rate cards - one for Democrats and one for Republicans.

      If it happens, it doesn't happen much.

  •  Will the FD mean that my Playboy subscription (0+ / 0-)

    could become a sausage farm?

    •  the fairness doctrine applied only to broadcast (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      media, on the theory that the people own the airwaves, and it was a requirement of those licensed to use the wavelength to serve the public interest.

      •  I'm joking - but the abuse of the FD will be (3+ / 0-)

        onerous.  I have heard people complain about the "fairness" of the Weather Channel.  

        No kidding.  Some on the right don't like the coverage of AGW.

        •  Can you imagine the religious right (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          with this kind of tool?

          I can.  It's ugly right now with simple decency standards.  They push, push and fucking push all the time.

          They would have a field day with the question of what is fair.

          No thanks.

          I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

          by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 05:42:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  This is something I've also thought about, (0+ / 0-)

            and it's a serious concern. But wrapped up in all of this is my concern that the public's ownership of the airwaves be reasserted. Right now, much of it has been privatized for cell phone companies; the broadcast media have been behaving as if they have no responsibility to anyone.

            So, it's all part of the things we have to think about in regard to this.

            •  Agreed. (0+ / 0-)

              That's actually an angle I've thought about to approach the clarity problem.

              How can airing distortions and lies 24/7 possibly be a public service, save for affirmation?

              And then the uglier question:  should we be affirming racism, for example?

              I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

              by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 06:30:57 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  So television is included as well... (0+ / 0-)

        and we can look forward to 50 percent of all tv programming being "rebuttal" programming, I guess, if the F.D. is reinstituted. That strikes me as funny, and outlandish. How do you rebut a game show, if you disagree with the message it sends? Or a salacious sitcom?

        God help us that all we look to to guide our lives is crappy radio and tv. I know it's a serious issue, but it makes me nauseous.

        •  Look, I don't want "fairness" - that is what the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          wingnuts want with Creationism taught in public schools.

          I want to win the battle of ideas and despite Bush the Lesser we will do it.

          •  Damn right! (0+ / 0-)

            I'm there too.

            Even with the severe imbalance, progressive ideas are making inroads.  We can improve on that, and highlight the blow-hard, regressive right for what it is.

            I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

            by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 05:21:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  There are clear guidelines... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ...separating news and opinion.

          News is something which can be backed up by objective fact. Opinion is something which is subject to interpretation.

          If Michael Savage were a real journalist with a news program, he would be fired for saying Barack Obama's grandmother died under "suspicious" circumstances, since her death certificate no doubt clearly states she died of natural causes.

          He could not even say there are "allegations" of a "suspicious death," because no one in an official capacity has made such allegations, and again, the objective facts demonstrate there is no basis for such allegations.

          Entertainment programming like game shows and sitcoms were never subject to the FD - only informational programming.

          •  A lot of news is not fact based. (0+ / 0-)

            But yet it appears on the news program. A lot of it is opinions of people who are not speaking in an official capacity, but merely being interviewed by "reporters".

            At one time, it may have been true that people regarded the "news" as fact based. But not today. You just can't turn the calendar back to 1975.

            Today it is just entertainment. It is a game show. And I wish there were some way to rebut it. But there isn't.

            •  That's not entirely true (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              The job of a journalist (I am one) is to provide information. We are trained to base that information on objective fact.

              Yes, "news" has become "entertainment" (and actually on most local TV stations, it has always been thus - listen to one of my favorite songs, Don Henley's "Dirty Laundry"), and fewer and fewer "journalists" really understand the concept of journalistic standards.

              But that's a separate problem from the FD debate.

              •  IMHO, this is very important because (0+ / 0-)

                it speaks to clarity.

                Again, Maddow vs Limbaugh.  

                Maddow is biased as hell.  She makes no bones about it though, and is careful to differentiate fact from her commentary.

                Limbaugh does the opposite.  He claims little bias, and blurs the line between fact and opinion so badly, it's difficult to even know.

                I think not getting limbaughs was the reason many lamented the non-biased, objective reporting style and the loss of the doctrine.

                Frankly, given only Limbaughs, I agree.

                However, we have Maddows now, and they compete well.

                Perhaps this is something the left can learn to do better.  Conservatives are authoritarian and have good message dicipline, and are not shy about broadcasting their opinion.  They like weak people, dominate them and feel good about all of that.

                We don't usually do the latter, but we can very easily do some of the former.

                Maddow is a strong, considerate, smart and entertaining woman.  She makes politics fun, and informative.  My wife hates news and politics programming, but will watch Maddow any day of the week.

                So, that's good for us, it competes well and is very much in the spirit of the journalistic ethic you write about.  The woman even issues corrections to a commentary show, when she could so totally ignore that.

                It can be done, we can compete, there is no reason to neuter whole genres of programming, just to be fair.

                I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

                by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 05:40:48 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  What you do is produce (0+ / 0-)

              compelling programming to counter it.

              And we leverage new media to continue to put pressure on those not doing us a good service.

              Also, being entertained with ideas is not a bad thing, given some diversity of ideas!  Look at what we do here.  What if it had to be fair?  Would it be compelling?

              Probably not.

              And we are not fair, and that's ok.  We don't have to be.  Why?  Because we want to put our ideas out there and win with them.

              Given the large number of media choices we have today, having traditional media air entertainment programming isn't a bad thing, IMHO.

              The only reason why hate entertainment is tolerated is because we don't yet have enough non-hate programming being aired for contrast.  Media ownership is the key to this, not rolling back the clock.

              I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

              by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 05:24:39 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't believe you can counter partisan (0+ / 0-)

                propaganda on the right with anything other than left wing propaganda and poop flinging.

                You can't be constantly on defensive against these cretins, because then you are allowing them the power of the frame.

                Non-Hate programming... that is not going to be entertaining. It won't sell GM cars. Not that Limbaugh has been managing spectacularly well on this score lately...

                Hate entertainment is tolerated because it makes people listen... it appeals to people who are tired, and need to focus, so it is the equivalent of taking speed, or having someone poke you in the side every 30 seconds so you don't doze off at the wheel.

                Mr. Rogers isn't going to make the grade. And I think an atmosphere of constant "reply" from one side to another's latest outrage is a recipe for escalating violence.

                I really think people would do better to contact the sponsors and tell them that they are being targeted for economic sanctions by the community and tell them what station their commercials are being heard on, and what programs they are sponsoring, and what the programs are about.

                •  I don't agree. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  It is completely possible to produce entertaining programming, that does not leverage the lazy, raw emotion of hate.

                  If I am wrong, we seriously need to reconsider a great many things about our Progressive platform.

                  Think about it.

                  Speak or be spoken for. This is the lesson learned over the last 8 years.

                  by potatohead on Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 09:26:31 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Let's Reframe This... (0+ / 0-)

    I grew up in a time during which the Fairness Doctrine was practiced on TV.  And even though it had its odd moments (some times an opposing side is VERY odd) the tone of the debate was far, far more civil than it is today.  For that reason alone, I support its return.

    I also agree that media ownership is an issue.  A recent example is the advertisements that were run for Prop 8; some media establishments did not want to run ads for the pro side, but were forced to by their conglomerate owners.  There ought to at least be an "opt out" provision that allows media outlets to refuse to air ads they consider unfair, unjust, or against their conscience...without retaliation.

    However, I rather strongly disagree with a major contention of this post.  I do not believe that left-leaning critters are apt to flock to talk radio no matter HOW many outlets there are.  We just don't think that way.

    If you think for a moment, right-talk radio isn't about ideas, it isn't about solutions, and it certainly isn't about community service.  What it IS about is validating emotions.  While some may squawk that this characterization is unfair, it's true.  The people who listen to right-radio are not looking to learn new ideas, find solutions, or even find out more about the issues.  If they did, they'd stop listening because what they hear is so often at odds with reality.

    On the left-hand side, there's always NPR, and they do a good job, but they have no where near the popularity of right-talk, and they've been around forever and can be found everywhere.  WE just don't think that way.  We want info, we want to mesh minds, we want to create solutions and you just can't do that via radio...but you CAN online.

    So if there's ONE mega-lesson to learn from this election, it's that the left blogosphere is more powerful (finally!) than right-radio.  And if we want to battle them on their own turf, we have to learn how to play to OUR emotions, but then we too run the risk of becomming ditto-heads.

    •  Didn't Archie Bunker one time do a rebuttal (0+ / 0-)

      to a liberal opinion that he saw on the television? I remember he went on and said some really, at the time, hilarious things. I wish I had that segment on tape to post as a clip...

      But he wasn't a professional hater. So you could forgive him a little easier than some others.

    •  Absolutely it's about affirmation (0+ / 0-)

      This is the whole point!

      We have 23 percent of us, who need one hell of a lot of affirmation because of the shitty ideas we hold in high regard.

      Limbaugh and company are making big smack delivering just that.

      Here's something to ponder.  When Air America took off, I tuned in and found out I was not alone in my beliefs.  Know what?

      That felt damn good.

      Works both ways man.  If we take this affirmation and structure it so that there is competition, then we will have people being well served and people having a choice.  It's their choice, not ours.

      Besides, if you deny this to people on the traditional media, they will just go and do it on the Internet, leaving traditional media at a significant disadvantage.  They will win that one you know.

      Is there a reason why we can't work on media consolidation first, without bringing a controversial doctrine into it?

      What if that works well?  It could!  From what I've seen, it's likely to work.

      And that's one point I'm making here.  The more I have this discussion the stronger I feel about it.

      Reform is needed, but the doctrine is too controversial.  On the other hand, there is far better consensus on media ownership issues, and a lot of that comes from broadcast professionals themselves!

      By contrast, almost none of them want the doctrine back.  They know what will happen.

      1970's style news programming vs the internet means a lot of dark towers.  They would be right in that too.

      So tell me why we have to push both together?

      I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

      by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 05:30:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's about ad sales (0+ / 0-)

      The money involved in radio (vs. a website) is enormous, and requires big budget advertising for companies selling a broad-market big-ticket product or service.

      If we won't buy that stuff, and conservatives will, the radio personalities are going say what they want to hear.

      If we suddenly started buying that stuff, Hannity and Limbaugh would switch. They will read whatever talking points are placed in front of them for their paycheck.

      •  And that suggests we can hit back... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        socialist butterfly

        ...those lines.

        We need money for legal defense, and to empower people to collect audio, and get it delivered to ordinary people and that AD revenue source.

        Looking back at what happened when Spocko did this to KSFO, it's easy to see him being in trouble, if it were not for the EFF asserting fair use on his behalf.

        In my town, I was just talking to somebody who says they were threatened for trying the same thing.  

        Perhaps this can be done in a net-roots fashion, complete with some donation drives to fund legal efforts and such.

        I would totally participate in that, and I think it would work very well to limit the more hateful speech we are hearing.

        I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

        by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 06:25:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's exactly right (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        potatohead, socialist butterfly

        if you think that more progressive voices belong on the air, then it's all about ratings, ratings, ratings.  Or to be more crude, it's all about money, money, money.  As long as Rush and Hannity get big ratings, and thus can demand top dollar sponsor money, and thus make the stations a huge amount of money, they stay on the air.  Once they stop getting big ratings, they go off. It's really as simple as that.  

  •  Four questions: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    So you think the solution is to make the radio station that carries Rush also carry a radio show by Rachel (by way of example)?  

    Four issues:

    1.   What makes you think that the people who listen to Rush are going to listen to Rachel?  You can't force them.  They will simply turn  Rachel off.  Nothing accomplished there.  You haven't broadened the views of Rush's audienceat all.  
    1.   What if Rachel's show gets lower ratings that say, Hannity? (that's what happened on Air America).  Radio stations make money off ratings. So, for the hour they put Rachel on instead of Hannity, they lose money.  Who pays for that?  Will the government subsidize the "opposing point of view" if it gets lower ratings and causes the broadcaster to lose money?
    1.  Shouldn't I, as a consumer, have a choice of what I listen to?  If I want to listen to all progressive voices, shouldn't I have the right to do that?  Right now, what is on the air is governed by money -- by ratings.  Those greedy capitalistic owners of the media would show Rush the door in a second if he didn't make them any money.  The way to put more progressive voices on talk radio is through public demand, not through government dictated content.
    1.  Finally, and this is the most important point, who gets to decide what is "progressive" enought to represent an opposing point of view?  In New Orleans, there is a conservatvie station that calls itself "Rush Radio" and has all the conservative talk shows.  If you tell them to put on a progressive, they'll put on somebody like Tom Brokaw because they'll say he's not a conservative.  Does the government say who is, or is not, progressive enough to be a counter balance?  What about people who are right wing on some things but not on others (like Hagel who is anti-Iraq war)?  Doe they get to be the balance?  Can  Rush radio put on Lieberman as a balance and say that he was the Dem nominee for VP so he represents the Dem point of view?  

    I can't see any way that this could operate without a huge dispute over what view must be balanced with what view.  Being a lawyer myself, this is a lawyer's dream -- going through program by program, arguing which opposing views must be represented (does the Green Party view need to be represented?  What about the Libertarian Party view?) and arguing whether a particular person is a sufficient representative of whatever views the government says must be represented.  

    The most likely scenario is that any opinion based programming will simply cause the station owners to be overwhelmed with trying to prove compliance with the Fairness Doctrine.  You're just going to shut down virtually all opinion based programming, from either side.  

    •  As I said upthread... (0+ / 0-)
      ...the likely result of a return of the FD would be the collapse of opinion-based talk radio period. No more Limbaugh, but no more Maddow either.

      And as I said upthread, I don't see that as a bad thing.

      Too many people in today's society lack a grounding in objective fact, and I see talk radio as a large culprit in that.

      Let's say Rush Limbaugh tells me it's too cold in Ocala today to suit him, and Rachel Maddow tells me it's too hot in Ocala to suit her. Should I take the word of the one I normally agree with, or should I walk outside and see what the temperature feels like to me?

      •  I couldn't disagree more (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I think publishing of one's political opinion is one of the great traditions of our country, and is the reason freedom of speech and of the press is the First Amendment, not the 9th or 10th.  Most of the great political changes in our history would not have happened without the right of the people to express their opinions on the great political issues of the day.  I'm for doing things that increase the dissemination of political opinion, not things that would clearly shut down the expression of political opinion.  

        As for "objective fact," with the exception of scientifically provable things, there is very little that people from both sides of the political spectrum would agree are "objective fact."  Just to give one example, what about the question of whether tax cuts for the "rich" stimulate economic  growth?  I think you would even have economists from different sides of the political spectrum debate that.  I would like to hear that debate, not shut it down.  The only way to hear that debate is either through (1) news conferences or interviews with politicians; or (2) opinion based programming.  If I want to hear conservative views on that, I know where to look.  If I want to hear progressive views on that, I know where to look. I do not want those options shut off.  

        As for your last point, the way you sway an audience is to "win" the contest of ideas.  You put out your ideas, andif you are persuasive, you win over an audience.  Frankly, I don't want to treat the American public like they are too stupid to undestand, and evaluate different ideas. And, of course, for the vast majority of this country, prgressive opinions are available to them -- on MSNBC, on Air America, on NPR.  If some people choose not to listen to them, whether or not you agree with that, that's their right.

        •  Absolutely! It's like neutering all of us (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

          Sure it will work, but why even bother?

          Hey, there is always "The News Hour" with Jim Leherer.  It's right there, 1970's style.  ;)

          I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

          by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 05:32:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Not true (0+ / 0-)

       What makes you think that the people who listen to Rush are going to listen to Rachel?  You can't force them.  They will simply turn  Rachel off.  Nothing accomplished there.  You haven't broadened the views of Rush's audienceat all.

      That's simply not true, and I cannot believe that you can have had any exposure to radio at all and not know it.

      People, and especially businesses, that play radio tune to one station and they leave it on all day.  People who tune in to listen to one voice are likely to stay around to hear what comes next.  They may turn it off, but it's a lot easier not to.  And if they are forced to change stations, they may come across ideas they're not used to anyway.

      •  They leave it on one station (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        potatohead, VClib

        because the station is homogeneous.  Its programming is consistent througout the day.  If they like "oldies music," they leave it on an oldies station.  If they like country music, they leave it on a country music station.  If they are a conserative, here in New Orleans they leave in on 99.5, the "Rush Radio" station.  Yes, I do have exposure to radio, especially in a business setting.  They leave it on one station mainly because who ever is in charge of the radio (often the owner if it is a small business) has chosen the station precisely because he/she knows what to expect on that station.  If the station is no longer consistent throughout the day, then, in most situations, the station is not going to stay on that one station all day.  If station 99.5 is no longer "Rush Radio," a lot of right wing small business owners change the station.  

    •  Amen coffeetalk (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You are right. Who becomes the speech police? I thought we were the party of free speech?

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 06:13:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And here's something else to think about (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sui Juris, VClib

        The stated goal is to get listeners to listen to different points of view.  That is, Rush listeners to also have to listen to KO and Rachel.  Then, it follows that, under the Fairness Doctrine, the goal is also to get those who love KO and Rachel  to hear the opposing point of view -- e.g., to listen to Rush.  

        How many people here watch KO and Rachel regularly and never watch Fox News (or at least watch it only to see what "the enemy" is doing)?  Here's the question for you:  Do you really think it is the role of the government to try to expose you to the "opposing point of view" -- Rush or Hannity??  Should government get involved in trying to get progressive viewers/listeners more exposure to Rush?

        •  NO. That should be our choice, period. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sui Juris

          Besides, more Maddow drains the pool for FOX to exploit.  Once they get used to her, FOX becomes harder and harder to take.

          Try it for a week.  Maddow every day, then switch to O'Reilly.  You can literally feel the hate and anger.

          I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

          by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 06:29:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I completely agree with you (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sui Juris, VClib

            If I want to listen to KO and Rachel, it is NOT the role of government to tell me I should also have to listen to Hannity.  I am very very frightened of a government that would have that tries to be in the business of telling people what opinions they should have to listen to. Ask yourself if you would have been ok with the Bush administration playing this role?

            However, if you believe that the government should not be in the role of trying to get progressives to have exposure to Rush, then you must necessarily also accept that government has no role in trying to get Rush listeners to have exposure to progressive voices.  

  •  Forgive me if this has been mentioned (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    An article about the FCC's news distortion policy, as practiced in the case ofAkre and Wilson v. FOX News.

    Jane Akre and her husband Steve Wilson are former employees of Fox owned-and-operated station WTVT in Tampa, Florida. In 1997, they were fired from the station after refusing to include knowingly false information in their report concerning the Monsanto Corporation's production of RBGH, a drug designed to make cows produce more milk than what is natural. They successfully sued under Florida's whistle blower law and were awarded a US $425,000 settlement by jury decision. However, Fox appealed to an appellate court and won, after the court declared that the FCC policy against falsification that Fox violated was just a policy and not a "law, rule, or regulation", and so the whistle blower law did not apply.

    •  This is a good comment. This matter bothers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      me greatly.

      Essentially, FOX has asserted it's right to distort the line between fact and opinion, and the facts themselves!

      That's not clear, and their viewers are the least informed there is.  IMHO, this is not a public service and man, I wish I had a solution to address clarity.

      I think FOX is correct in asserting their right to do that, but I also think they are not correct in branding that shit fair and balanced.

      What they are really doing is bringing what they see as being fair to the table, with lies and distortions, and doing so means there is balance.

      Two way different things.

      I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

      by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 05:35:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, a rule, law or regulation should solve (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that problem.

      Children in the U.S... detained [against] intl. & domestic standards." --Amnesty Internati

      by doinaheckuvanutjob on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 05:47:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  How would you structure it? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marina, doinaheckuvanutjob

        I'm curious to hear ideas on that as it's an area of advocacy I would love to press on.

        Problem is I think it's easy to say increased clarity.  It's very difficult to define what that is, in terms of some reasonable legal test.

        Ideas on this one?  It's worth some significant discussion, IMHO.

        (future diary for me, for sure)

        I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

        by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 05:59:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Honestly I have no idea save for something (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          potatohead, marina

          must be done, and that doing little or nothing is unacceptable.

          I do think there are ways to regulate and legislate, according to existing guidelines along with new ones yet to be created, that will be both constitutionally and politically viable. I don't know what they are, but I'm confident they exist and that someone in media law can articulate them, and someone in Congress is up on it. I'd look to FCC member Michael Copps for ideas on that, he seems to be very savvy and has proposed things in the past that looked good. I'd agree with you that the Fairness Doctrine, in its old form, is not a viable solution today both politically and practically, but some of what it tried to do needs to be revisited in a different manner.

          Children in the U.S... detained [against] intl. & domestic standards." --Amnesty Internati

          by doinaheckuvanutjob on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 06:17:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  My prior comment was based on the court ruling (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          potatohead, marina

          that complained there was no rule, law or regulation. Therefore, if there were rules, laws and regulations that are constitutionally and politically viable, they'd not be tossed out by the courts, and they'd be enforcable. Something does need to be done about falsehoods in information media. Perhaps labeling content as 'opinion' or entertainment versus journalism, so the public knows clearly the standards of info are different. Perhaps that's a lame idea, but I am sure there is a solution, and I'd look to media law experts to come up with it and vet it through politicians and public hearing to come up with viable laws and regulations. And yes, I don't think we should overdo it either, that usually ends up with worse consequences.

          Children in the U.S... detained [against] intl. & domestic standards." --Amnesty Internati

          by doinaheckuvanutjob on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 06:22:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I kind of like that one, actually! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            marina, doinaheckuvanutjob

            Clarity is a big problem, and as long as it's permitted to the degree it is, the right has an advantage.

            Warning:  This program contains questionable statements about it's fairness...

            Warning:  -3 for bigotry, racism, and theocracy!

            That last one for Focus on the Family  Dobson would shit a brick!

            I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

            by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 06:27:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  That's what I've been thinking (0+ / 0-)

        Apparently the policy has developed over a series of decisions, but not really been codified. Although I suppose Republicans would oppose any effort to do that as well.

        •  You bet they will, and to a degree... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ...I don't blame them.

          Such a test has got to be SOLID, or it's a potential mess.

          I knew Droogie, I liked Droogie, I won't forget what the AP did to Droogie.

          by potatohead on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 06:03:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

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