May 20, 2007

Why are liberals so afraid of their own ideas?

Or, to put it another way, why are they attempting to revive the so-called Fairness Doctrine? This old FCC regulation requires, essentially, that "equal time" be given to opposing arguments in various media outlets' political programming. The [unfortunate] effect of the Doctrine was that media frequently avoided political discussion at all since they didn't want to possibly face sanctions for violating the rule. The Doctrine was ditched in the early 80s under the Reagan administration and this led to an explosion of new outlets of political opinion, especially AM talk radio.

And therein lies the rub: Politicians like Dennis Kucinich don't like that.

It's confounding really. A good liberal should think that a deregulation which allows political opinion to flourish would be a GOOD thing. Free speech. First Amendment. Ah, but that's what a classical liberal would think, not a modern liberal. Like the administrators (and professors) at college campuses across the country, modern liberals see the ... need to squelch speech they do not like. At colleges it's due to "sensitivity"; for liberals like Kucinich, it's for supposed "fairness."

"Fairness." It would be hilarious if Kucinich didn't have the [potential] power to bring this moronic Doctrine back. Liberals have most major outlets of the mainstream media sharing their political philosophy; conservatives have talk radio and Fox News. (If "fairness" was really the issue, liberals had -- and have -- already won just by the pure numbers here, and the issue is moot.) The Fairness Doctrine would require people like Rush Limbaugh to supply counters to his professed opinions, and Fox News pundits like Bill O'Reilly to do same. But MSM outlets like the New York Times or the AP could "get around" such provisions by utilizing what media pundit Bernie Goldberg essentially dubs "selective reporting" methods -- emphasizing certain stories over others (in "regular" news stories), emphasizing a point of view over another, labeling differences, etc.

I've always laughed at liberals' utter hatred of talk radio and Fox News. It's natural, I suppose, that when you have a monopoly for so long that when you see it disappearing you get miffed. But as noted above, if it's a pure numbers game, liberals still win. But, that lead has shrunk, and significantly over the last couple decades. Talk radio and Fox News have exploded in popularity. Why? The answer is simple: Conservatives finally got outlets for fair expressions of their viewpoints. Liberals try to use excuses like "It's because these outlets cater to the 'non-thinking'," they appeal to "racists" and "fascists," yada yada yada. But it's all bulls**t. What it boils down to is that, as George Will noted, liberals "reveal their lack of confidence in their ability to compete in the marketplace of ideas, and their disdain for consumer sovereignty—and hence for the public.”

One important thing to keep in mind, too: The Fairness Doctrine was used by both the Kennedy and Nixon administrations to harass media that were critical of them. How? By making it so costly for them (legal challenges via the Doctrine) that they'd relent. One can only imagine liberals' screaming and hollering at the Bush administration for utilizing such tactics against MSNBC, the New York Times, etc. "CENSORSHIP! FASCISM!" they'd cry. And they'd be, at least in this case, pretty much right. Yet now, aside from favoring a revival of a rule that favors their political view, we have liberals ridiculously boycotting debates on a conservative-leaning network because of its "unfairness." Heh. Yet, conservatives gladly appear on a liberal-leaning network, indeed enduring ridiculously liberally-loaded questions.

Bottom line -- Bruce Kesler says it:

Conservatives criticize the MSM, network TV, metropolitan newspapers and major wire services, as liberal and often incompetent. Yet, I’ve never heard a conservative calling for the government to regulate what the MSM can broadcast or publish, nor have I heard of Republican organizations threatening lawsuits against them to intimidate changes. There’s a respect for traditional liberal values of competing with ideas, rather than imposing government dictates.

That’s a key distinction to keep in mind. George Will properly labels the Democrats upside down concept of fairness “illiberal.”

Posted by Hube at May 20, 2007 09:58 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

I'm not clear on this I guess. At a skim it seems to me that the Fairness Doctrine would not survive a challenge on First Amendment grounds. It seems so much like a no-brainer that I'm wondering what I'm missing...

Posted by: JR at May 20, 2007 11:35 AM

JR: The SCOTUS ruled it IS constitutional back in 1969. However, in 1974 its also said the Doctrine "inescapably dampens the vigor and limits the variety of public debate."

Posted by: Hube at May 20, 2007 11:53 AM

yawn, liberal media, zzzzz.

quick, by one get one free at the comic book store in newark!

Posted by: donviti at May 21, 2007 04:23 PM

You ought to try reading one, dimwitty. It's certainly a step up from your usual Clifford the Big Red Dog!

Posted by: Hube at May 21, 2007 05:33 PM

While poll watching in 04, a union guy was listening to Hannity in order to hear his spin on the Kerry vote, which at that time of day, was heavily in the Democrat's favor.

"Those guys make me so mad" he said,"I don't know why I listen to them." I thought to myself, if it is making you think, it can't be too bad. If your idea cannot stand up to being criticized, then it probably was not a good idea to begin with. But if it goes forward despite the criticism, than the country will most likely be better off for it.

There was no balance before. Controlled media is controlled media.

But one should take note, America has always grown through conflict. After each bitter exchange, we move a step forward.


Posted by: kavips at May 23, 2007 10:42 PM

Only a liberal could say it this well.

I regard the right to embarrass each other one of the cherished parts of American democracy. -Barney Frank

Posted by: kavips at May 24, 2007 12:30 AM