Radio Radio

Inspired by the alleged power of conservative talk radio, there’s noise  about digging the so-called “Fairness Doctrine” out of the landfill.  Missed this?  Here.

This is all wrong, and it’s a reason why liberals are (a) so despised, and (b) losers.

old_radioThe premise underlying the “Fairness Doctrine” is almost as idiotic as it is illogical. It’s based on the hilarious notion that there are actually objective truths out there in the world of politics, and that the public somehow has a “right” to have them presented by all parties at all times.  Evidently there are liberals out there who are so incensed by wingnuts’ domination of the radio airwaves  that they want to stifle free expression, based on some bizzaro interpretation of the public’s  “right” to the airwaves.

Stopped laughing yet?

This is horribly wrong on several levels.  First, it’s just fucking wrong for Government to step in and tell anybody what and what not to say.  I won’t present arguments for this here, because if you don’t see immediately why this is so, nothing I say will persuade you of the basic truth.  Suffice it to say that entire wars have been fought and nations conceived over this, including the Yew-nited States of America.  Ever heard of it?

Secondly, it’s political suicide for the dickless Dems who favor it, starting with Cuntly Pelosi and Hairless Reid, whose stewardship of the US Congress has produced even lower levels of approval among the American public than even Monkey Boy in the White House.  It stinks of cowardice and intellectual dishonesty — two Democratic hallmarks — and would be consistent with the party’s incapacity to separate productive, sensible initiatives from sanctimonious, prescriptive violations of personal freedoms.

The proper way to handle verbalized partisan bullshit, hate speech, character assai nation, lies, etc., is to shine a bright light on it and debate it vigorously, not shut it up legislatively.  And in doing so, make the public laugh.  As H.L. Mencken said 80 years ago:

The liberation of the human mind has never been furthered by such learned dunderheads; it has been furthered by gay fellows who heaved dead cats into sanctuaries and then went roistering down the highways of the world, proving to all men that doubt, after all, was safe – that the god in the sanctuary was finite in his power, and hence a fraud. One horse-laugh is worth ten thousand syllogisms. It is not only more effective; it is also vastly more intelligent.

“Fairness” my Charmin’d ass.  But that’s a whole ‘nother matter for another time.

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14 Responses to Radio Radio

  1. ya'gotta'guessit says:

    “Cuntly Pelosi”…good God.
    Thanks so much for forcing me to associate Nancy and female personal parts. Thanks a lot.

    Honestly, Squats, this whole nonsense stems from two factors:

    1.) More folks will actually *pay* (through commercial air time) to hear Conservatives yammer than Progressives, resulting in the current lop-sided programming. I don’t know why this is, but it is.
    2.) There’s some sort of notion floating about that the airwaves are a “public trust”, and as such, shouldn’t be held hostage to a single ideology. This is an ancient idea that has been rendered moot by the relentless selling-off of the radio/TV bands and the simultaneous restriction & prohibition of private/unlicensed broadcasts.

    Being on the bottom of things, the Progressives would love to curtail Limbaugh & Hannity, while providing proscribed airtime for Maddow and Olberman.

    Unmentioned, of course, is that the Progressive agenda is already very well represented via National Public Radio – the home of All Things Diverse. Will NPR be forced to comply, too?

  2. Beardsley says:

    To his credit, Obama opposes the return of the “Fairness Doctrine,” which I suspect will be enough to kill any half-baked plans hatched by Pelosi or Reid. At least I hope so.

    I suspect the chatter over this issue is more the Right playing to its large audience than a genuine scheme on the part of the Left. It makes for an excellent talking point, and, as you point out, would be its advocates’ political suicide. Not that there aren’t members of Congress eager to die on that hill.

  3. Lois Terms says:

    Oldest rule in the book: If you don’t like what you hear, switch stations.

  4. "Esq" A Lawyer says:

    As ya’gotta’guessit points out, the ideological premise for this so-called doctrine goes back to the early days when regulations were designed for licensing airwaves. Most knowledgeable industry watchers regard this as about as relevant and meaningful as the US Constitution’s guidelines on slaveholding states’ representation. ‘Way too much commerce has been conducted using media markets, radio stations, television, cable, etc., for any of this approach to make sense any more, although most agree that a totally free market leads to problems of its own. As is so often the case, the truth resides somewhere in the middle.

  5. Fly Guy says:

    I see why you like HL Mencken. “One horse laugh is worth a 1000 syllogisms” sums it all up.

    I can’t stand talk radio. The hosts are usually pompous airbags, and the callers are ass-licking imbeciles. I don’t doubt that millions of people tune in and hang on their every word…they’re probably too dumb to figure out how to turn the radio off.

  6. FerfeLabat says:

    Where did you hear Obama opposes it? Quite frankly his appointment of pre-Reagan era FCC transition czar Henry Rivera who is a strong supporter of the Fairness Doctrine sems to counter that claim. So by that token it looks like Obama is for passing H.R.3302 – if not – why Rivera?

    Here is what is about to happen – and you can debate me all you want but we’ll know for certain in June. When Commissioner Robert M. McDowell (R-VA) (term expires June 2009) steps down Rivera will appoint a Democrat. H.R.3302 will pass because of the Democratic majority and that will be that. Let the lawsuits begin.

    These are the signers of the bill:

    Rep DeFazio, Peter A. [OR-4] – 7/14/2005
    Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51] – 7/14/2005
    Rep Hastings, Alcee L. [FL-23] – 7/14/2005
    Rep Kaptur, Marcy [OH-9] – 7/14/2005
    Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-9] – 7/14/2005
    Rep McDermott, Jim [WA-7] – 7/14/2005
    Rep Moran, James P. [VA-8] – 7/14/2005
    Rep Owens, Major R. [NY-11] – 7/14/2005
    Rep Sanders, Bernard [VT] – 7/14/2005
    Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. [IL-9] – 7/22/2005
    Rep Slaughter, Louise McIntosh [NY-28] – 7/14/2005
    Rep Solis, Hilda L. [CA-32] – 7/14/2005
    Rep Stark, Fortney Pete [CA-13] – 7/14/2005
    Rep Waters, Maxine [CA-35] – 7/14/2005
    Rep Watson, Diane E. [CA-33] – 7/14/2005
    Rep Woolsey, Lynn C. [CA-6] – 7/14/2005

    People who have spoken out in favor?

    Chuck Schumer, DSCC chair, November 4
    Jeff Bingaman, October 22nd
    Dick Durbin, Majority Whip, July 2007
    Robert (Bob) Menéndez NJ Nov 3 2008

    Hillary Clinton was caught in a conversation about two years back with Pelosi wishing for it’s return.

    I don’t know why Liberals do not listen to talk radio but they apparently do not. In order to find liberal talk radio I have to get it through Sirius. Shows like Rush, Hannity, Mark Levin, Glenn Beck command 5 million plus listeners a day. Air America went bankrupt. But for alternative views there are a myriad of sources NPR being one of the easiest to access on any medium.

    This law will not apply to tv, internet, or print news – just radio and it is the most evil POS I have ever seen. For once we agree Squat.

  7. Ms Calabaza says:

    “The proper way to handle verbalized partisan bullshit, hate speech, character assai nation, lies, etc., is to shine a bright light on it and debate it vigorously, not shut it up legislatively. And in doing so, make the public laugh”. . . AMEN!

    Squatty, great post but I agree with Ferfe on wht Obama’s stand on this is. I do think her scenario is what’s gonna happen.

  8. Squathole says:

    Maybe Beardsley has info I don’t – he’s a retired college prof and has even more time to waste now than he did when he was teaching — but I googled “obama fairness doctrine” and found several items supporting him, like this:

    It won’t happen, says Obama. On June 25, in a savvy political move, his press secretary sent an email to the industry journal Broadcasting & Cable. Deftly deflating the scare, the secretary stated flatly that “Sen. Obama does not support reimposing the Fairness Doctrine on broadcasters.”

    That wasn’t the whole story, but it’s typical of what I saw.

    What set me off was a longish article in the Miami Hurled yesterday, which I just re-read, and found this:

    Many liberal commentators, in fact, say the prospect of a new Fairness Doctrine is purely imaginary, part paranoia and part promotional device. They note that Obama himself says he’s against the policy and that his administration will be too busy trying to deliver on its promises about the economy and the war in Iraq to worry about talk radio.

    ”I’m not sure that many of these talk-show hosts who are hyping this believe it themselves,” says Steve Rendall, who hosts a radio talk show syndicated by the left-wing media-monitoring group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. “It’s just fear-mongering . . . They don’t have a lot to work people up now, so they rely on fairness, which is pretty thin gruel.”

    …which sounds like Beardsley’s exact point. (Maybe Beardsley himself will respond to this when he sobers up.)

    Frankly, I don’t care if he’s for it or agin it. It’s wrong, stupid, and sinister, just the sort of crap politicians pull when they want to get away with something while not owning up to their own twisted motives. If accurate, that list of supporting Congresscreeps Ferfe posted is an Honor Roll of Evil.

  9. FerfeLabat says:

    This falls under the “Are you going to believe what I tell you or are you going to believe your lying eyes”. He may say he’s against it, but his choice for Communications Czar is the very definition of “Fairness Doctrine”. There is a group – I can’t remember the name off the top of my head but if I find it I’ll report back – they’ve compiled sound bites from Rush and crew and presented their list of conservative talk radio’s transgressions to congress demanding McCarthy-style inquiries – which is rather ironic in my opinion. They appear to be ramping up to make their case and the fact that they are starting eight months in advance bodes ill for conservatives. That coupled with the Rivera choise, tied in with the very public statements by high ranking senators and representatives tells me this is not just red meat served up to hold an audience.

    It’s AM for crying out loud. No one else even wants to broadcast on AM because the reception sucks.

    It looks like a duck. It’s quacking like a duck. I think it’s definitely a duck.

  10. FerfeLabat says:

    “It’s just fear-mongering . . . They don’t have a lot to work people up now, so they rely on fairness, which is pretty thin gruel.”

    They don’t have a lot to work people up with right now? Is he high? Bush just stomped the ever loving crap out of the free market, Princess Caroline is turning the Senate into the House of Lords, Obama is appointing far left environmentalists to key positions and talk is ramping up in support of cap and trade which is going to kill the economy, we STILL don’t have a viable battery for a decent electric car, Zimbabwe has reached critical mass, Russia is delivering missiles to Cuba and China can’t arm Venezuela fast enough it seems – is he kidding? The fairness doctrine issue is on the back burner. Everyone is watching it, we all see what is coming – but there’s no point in bitching until the first hearing is convened and the show trials start.

  11. Beardsley says:

    Quite a tempest tossing here. Let’s see if I can help settle rather than roil the waves.

    First, I doubt I have anything that nobody else does: same sources as cited here. Obama is on record as opposing reinstatement of the Doctrine, and Rivera, simply because he was a Commissioner when the Doctrine was active, doesn’t suggest to me that his reappointment signals its return as well.

    FWIW, I found this:

    Second, and here’s what brings our different perspectives into focus, I agree with Ferfelabat (great name!) that there are a zillion better things to latch onto to get people worked up. But the Right is very good at finding hot-button issues, often of minor or zero signficance whatsoever. to work up their base. I think this is one of them, along with “Hussein,” flag lapel buttons, the de-Christmasing of Christmas, etc. I suspect this is one of them. The frenzied attention by mouthy rightwing media types, the explosion of attention in the blogosphere, the lack of any tangible evidence where it would mean something genuine (I can’t find a single word about this from Rivera himself, for example, and the only word from Obama is in opposition!). Same old same old.

    As Ferfelabat accurately stated, If it looks like a duck…..

    I could be wrong about this, of course, and to your credit, in the last year people like Pelosi and John Edwards expressed strong support for the Doctrine’s return. I suspect they were doing exactly what the Right is doing now: pandering to their base, not advocating policy.

    Like everybody here, I strongly oppose this Doctrine, and agree with Prof Squathole’s position that the way to combat opinions is to offer better ones.

    It’s been a pleasure meeting everybody this way, which is a new experience for me, and I hope we can continue.

  12. FerfeLabat says:

    To Beardsley – here are some links. This is not some paranoid conservative talking point. If the facts in my post above don’t comvince you, then have a look at the congressmen and Senators in these links:,2933,285933,00.html

    It was Clinton and Boxer – not Pelosi. Here is what Pelosi had to say:

    So. It’s not a closet issue and career killer. Aparently it’s on the table and open for business.

  13. Squathole says:

    Ferfe: Your comment got stuck for a few days in WordPress’s spam-catcher, probably because of the links. Anyway, I freed it and changed the date so it would appear on top where readers (all 3 of them) could find it.

  14. Beardsley says:

    FerfeLabat: I read (and watched) what you linked and I see that there really are some influential folks who are pressing for the return of the poorly named “Fairness Doctrine.” Again, I only said Obama seems opposed to it. As am I, and are you, and (I suspect) the ACLU. I think Durbin’s position is untenable as it is repugnant.

    But again, to me this sounds like the Right whipping up its base; this time finding a choice specimen of liberal hogwash to launch a crusade. This time I’m in complete agreement with the cause, but I’m suspicious of the motive.

    I write my congressional representatives often. When this comes up — IF it comes up — rest assured I’ll be writing them to lobby against it.

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