Mellow Out or You Will Pay

The latest hint that the Dems might try to revive the odious Fairness Doctrine:

Feinstein, speaking on "Fox News Sunday" with Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., said talk radio in particular has presented a one-sided view of immigration reform legislation being considered by the Senate....

Asked if she would revive the fairness doctrine, which used to require broadcasters to present competing sides of controversial issues, Feinstein said she was "looking at it."

"I remember when there was a fairness doctrine," she said, "and I think there was much more serious correct reporting to people."

In a better world, this woman's political career would have been derailed 28 years ago by a surprise upset victory for the lead singer of the Dead Kennedys. In the world we're stuck in, you can read about the Fairness Doctrine's speech-squashing effects here.

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  • sarcasmo||

    Hell, an upset by Dick Boddie would have done fine...
    JMR

  • ||

    Oh well, if you can't beat 'em, beat 'em. With a bat. Until they join you.

    "I remember when there was a fairness doctrine," she said, "and I think there was much more serious correct reporting to people."

    Will the Fairness Doctrine fix mild incoherence in politios' speech?

  • ||

    Dead Kennedys reference, Jesse? Nice.

  • ||

    Now this is awesome--an article title derived from the DK's, PLUS a Jello Biafra mention in the article itself.

  • ||

  • ||

    False Dichotomy might be a nice name for a band.

  • ||

    Well, I'm sure she's not advocating a return to the old Fairness Doctrine.

    What she's advocating is a new, smarter Fairness Doctrine that covers not only TV and radio but newspapers and the internet too (but only when they affect interstate commerce, of course).

  • Lord Jubjub||

    I was under the impression that the Fairness Doctrine is unconstitutional.

  • ||

    I wouldn't just put this on Feinstein, don't forget national embarassment Trent Lott. When the fairness doctrine reighned political talk radio was nonexistent. Radio stations were afraid to run the shows because if they were not balanced or made the wrong people angry, they could get into trouble with the FCC. As soon as the doctrine went away, political talk radio exploded. It is the one government policy that you can say without doubt chilled political speech.

  • ||

    Listen up, choir.
    The original justification for the fairness doctrine was the limited spectrum available for broadcasting thus limiting the number of broadcasters. How many channels are there on your cable TV system? How many channnels are available on satellite radio? How about that web broadcasting stuff, huh?
    Ms. Feinstein should be forced to sit on the stool in the corner with the cone shaped cap.

    I was under the impression that the Fairness Doctrine is unconstitutional.

    If it wasn't before, it surely must be now.

  • ||

    My wife and I were just watching the P&T: BS episode on profanity, and we agreed that the whole rationale for regulating content on radio and broadcast television was silly. The cable channels already could run amok--being unregulated, content wise--but they don't. Why? Because for many of them, their audience and their advertisers would be unhappy. So it's not like every channel would feature people saying "fuck" all of the time.

    Freedom is messy, and liberty means enduring unpleasant viewpoints. But it's worth it, and a free society doesn't have to be uncivil or libertine. Want clean language and greater civility? Convince us. Or is that too hard? Egad.

  • ||

    "If it wasn't before, it surely must be now."

    That is what I thought about McCain Feingold. The Washington elite both Republicans and Democrats are getting really tired of us field niggers getting upity and having the nerve to start radio shows and internet sites. In people like Lott and Feinstein's view the 1st Amendment is an advisory privlege that they can take away if we don't do as we are told.

  • highnumber||

    For the record, the name of the band is "Dead Kennedys." No preceding "the."

    Well, anyway, we've got a bigger problem now.

  • ed||

    Now this is awesome--an article title derived from the DK's, PLUS a Jello Biafra mention in the article itself.

    Welcome to libertarianism. Now 37% more dumbed-down!

  • ||

    A Frack.

    You know what, we get angry at Republicans for making dumb war mistakes, bloating the budget, and marginalizing some civil liberties, and then the Dems come in and remind us "How to do it right!"

    Awful. That'll teach me to ever vote D.

  • ||

    Sigh. Bibertarians. They're everywhere. Next edition, Virginia Postrel should rename (and partially rewrite) her The Future and Its Enemies, calling it instead The Future and Its Nannies.

    Why do we need to be "protected" from words or ideas? If our beliefs are so strong, what harm to them can come from some epithets or words that otherwise offend? Honestly. Let me hear, ingest, and think what the hell I want, m'kay?

  • LarryA||

    Sure wish my mother was still around. When Feinstein got whiny Mom would whip around and say, "Grow up. Life isn't fair."

    It is the one government policy that you can say without doubt chilled political speech.

    Also McCain-Feingold campaign financing "reform."

  • ||

    Yet more hypocrisy from the lefty
    OMGWTF Faux News!!
    crowd.

  • ||

    Finkelstein,

    You have to understand to the left, turning off Fox News is not good enough. In their minds people are too stupid to do that and need to have their choices and speech limited so that they aren't contaminated with any politically incorrect ideas.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Well leftists like Feinstein always did define "fairness" as as a guaranteed equal outcome for all regardless of ability or effort, so revivng the "fairness" doctrine fits right in.

    The liberal attempts to compete in the talk radio market have all been a massive flop so it's only "fair" that the government essentially mandate the outcome they desire without them having to go through the messy process of actually having to convince people to freely listen to what they have to say.

  • Timothy||

    So it's not like every channel would feature people saying "fuck" all of the time.

    Just you wait 'til I'm in charge.

  • ||

    I definitely recall getting a shitload of appeals from verious leftwing groups appealing for funds so that they could lobby Congress to shut down Rush Limbaugh et al. Of course their claim was that they were puveyors of "right-wing hate speech" which had no business being covered by the First Amendment, which of course the left believes in, really and truly it does.

    This was years before Air America. These groups were specifically asking for money to shut Rush down not to mount competing speech.

    Please note that I do not recall the ACLU being among them. I may disagree with some of their ommissions (coff - second amendment - coff - drug prohibition - coff) but they generally confine themselves to government abuses.

    However I probably got on these groups mailing lists because I was a member of the ACLU.

  • Robert||

    Yes, there was political talk radio during the period of the Fairness Doctrine, just not as much of it.

    I remember at one of the hearings about the new Communications Act ~30 years ago the slogan of one group, "No More Red Lions!" Not that they meant they didn't want Sup. Ct. decisions like that in Red Lion, but that they were glad for the suppression of right-wing speech.

  • ||

    So it's not like every channel would feature people saying "fuck" all of the time.

    Yeah, I think that's only channel 729 around here. "The Fucking Fuck Channel-Fucking Fucker" or something like that.

  • ||

    Mr. Bartram:

    Before you start thinking too well of the ACLU, please note this from the notes at the beginning of the Supreme Court's decision in Red Lion v. FCC:

    Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal in No. 717 and affirmance in No. 2 were filed by Melvin L. Wulf and Eleanor Holmes Norton for the American Civil Liberties Union, and by Earle K. Moore and William B. Ball for the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ et al.

    That means the ACLU weighed in (alongside the United Church of Christ, which may fairly be described as the Green Party at prayer) in support of the government's forcing people either to STFU or to broadcast their opponents' views.

  • Jello Biafra||

    Wow, reading from the top down and I run into this post after I already made a smarmy comment from my nom-de-plume's namesake on another H&R thread. There is a god!

  • highnumber||

    Well, Jello, if it's the God of Falwell, Swaggart, etc., you should be worried.

  • tomWright||

    Hmm, ya know, as odious as this piece of cra-...err-ah, legislation, is, there could be a good side if it passes, between passage and being ruled unconstitutional.

    The NRA and GOA would be required participants in any NPR/PBS story on guns.

    Any story on drugs would require equal time from MPP, NORML, Balko, etc.

    Any story on human trafficking would need balance from folks like COYOTE or PONY.

    and so it goes.

    Yes, yes, this legislation is a direct assault on free political speech, but should is pass into law, it sure would be fun to monkey wrench it in ways the establishment is not thinking of.

    Plan ahead, I always say. Well, I am saying it now anyway. For today at least. Until bedtime fer sure. Maybe.

  • Anonymo the Anonymous||

    Those of you who were around when "fairness" was being enforced, how did this actually work? Contrary to the two-party oligarchy and "left-right" spectrum, you can't boil down each issue to two opposing sides. There's a multitude of positions on just about everything. Say an applicable media outlet publishes an opinion piece advocating passage of Bush's immigration plan. Contrary positions could include "open borders" as advocated by some libertarians; nationalist arguments about dilution of the "American culture"; fears that the plan does nothing to secure the borders against terrorist incursion; or a leftist critique claiming the plan would promote exploitation of workers from disadvantaged countries. What would the Fairness Doctrine require in this situation?

    My guess is, in practice, you get one side as represented by the opinion of the Republican political elite and one side for the Democratic elite. That about how it goes?

  • ||

    Seamus

    I am all to aware of the vices of the ACLU. On balance, though, I find them a force for good.

    But you are quite correct that they have taken the position which tends to some doctrinaire leftist view of "fairness" rather than one which favors Liberty.

    And for that they should be taken to task much more often.

    ...the United Church of Christ, which may fairly be described as the Green Party at prayer...



    Oh, I always thought that was the Uniyarians. :)

  • ||

    "Uni[t]arians...dammit!!!

  • ||

    My guess is, in practice, you get one side as represented by the opinion of the Republican political elite and one side for the Democratic elite. That about how it goes?



    To the extent that I remember that's about the size of it.

  • ||

    In other words, yes, the Fairness Doctrine had nothing to do with the voices of Libertarians, Socialists or any other annoying dissenters being heard.

  • ||

    Isaac Bartram,

    There are other viewpoints? I cannot conceive of anything other than a two-dimensional political system.

    If we go back to the Fairness Doctrine, I intend to regularly apply for equal time for the Vulcan position on issues.

  • ||

    Those of you who were around when "fairness" was being enforced, how did this actually work?

    In practice, it meant that broadcast outlets stayed away from anything remotely "opinionated," apart from the purveyors of news programs, who magically believed themselves to be non-biased, and who were rarely challenged on it. All it took was a single complainer to cause a lot of problems.

    A revived fairness doctrine wouldn't do much about the "CBS Evening News, which ostensibly reports 'the facts', but it would decimate political commentary and reporting on all the cable networks, not just Fox.

    Which is why I think it has a snowball's chance of coming back. Just a bit of red meat by DiFi for the Kos Kids.

  • ||

    ChrisO is exactly right. Media outlets tended to be pretty timid when it came to political stuff.

  • ||

    If we go back to the Fairness Doctrine, I intend to regularly apply for equal time for the Vulcan position on issues.

    And I will speak for the Romulans since noone else will.

  • Jello Biafra||

    Highnumber, that god would never do anything that could possibly lead to me being happy at all...at least if he's as omnipotent as he's supposed to be.

  • Fritz||

    The Dead Kennedys also did Holiday in Cambodia, about the communist regime and America's "limousine liberals". But those were the old days. He now must either not make a connection, or believe that Socialism just hasn't been done "right" yet!

  • highnumber||

    Isaac Bartram,

    I feel like the "joe" of my congregation.

  • The Commenter Formerly Known A||

    I have an ex-con[servative] friend who wishes we lived in a Swedish-type system...*shudders*
    We're so screwed if the democrats win, damn single-payer healthcare!

  • TCFKAJB||

    Oh, and that was directed at Fritz

  • ||

    highnumber

    Probably about the same way I felt when I got urge to start attending Quaker Meeting after about a forty year lapse.

    1) I'd forgotten how religious some of them are and 2) I'd forgotten what a buncha Commies most of them are.

    The difference is you stick with it while once my spiritual and/or existential crisis was over I promptly lapsed again.

    Someone once joked to me the Unitariamism was a religion for atheists who couldn't admit it. I countered that one could say the same about Quakers. The odd thing about Quakers is that those that do believe are mystical and devout in an almost creepy way.

  • Jim Murphy||

    Nice DK's reference...THIS is why I read REASON ; )

    Now get to work on that Circle Jerks reference.....!!!

  • highnumber||

    Jim Murphy,
    H&R comments are the Circle Jerks reference!


    Isaac Bartram,
    I've heard more than one joke where atheist and UU (Unitarian Universalist - the proper name) were used interchangeably in different retellings.

  • ||

    Where is Ken posting how liberals are so good for liberty and free speech. That is all he kept saying in the Bong Hits 4 Jesus thread.

  • ||

    Oh, I always thought that was the Uni[t]arians. :)

    It would be, if Unitarians ever prayed.

  • ||

    Oh, and by the way, ^#, cool building, that Unity Temple.

    Old Wright's engineering might have been a little off, the roofs had a way of leaking and the slabs cracked, but the aesthetics were too cool for school.

  • highnumber||

    8 or 9 years ago we were looking for a place to be married near our home. I was working Sundays at that time, so my wife-to-be was the scout. First place we wanted to check out was the FLW church, of course. We knew nothing about UUs. (Really, who does know anything about them? We can't explain ourselves!) I told her not to speak to anyone, not to give her name to anyone, don't make eye contact. (Not that she couldn't take care of herself, but I wasn't looking for us to join a church.) She came back with a good report about not only the building, but also the service and the sermon, and I made arrangements to visit it with her the following Sunday. The readings were from a SF story and the Persian poet Rumi. I had found a home.
    So, yeah, I like the building, too. It's what drew us there to begin with. Now I just have to keep working on my congregation's politics. I raise some eyebrows occasionally (esp. re Wal-Mart and child labor), but we all want the best for our fellow humans. We just disagree on some of the methods.

    My favorite bombshell: Emerson was a proto anarcho-capitalist.

  • Xaq Fixx||

    The sheer number of Punk & Goth Music references in Hit & Run is enough to keep me coming back for more.

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