I am a conservative lesbian living in New York. I would love you to address how the Fairness Doctrine has become a viable possibility for the liberal agenda, given that it is simply modern-day censorship, and also taking into account the undeniably left-leaning media. How can the left not see its hypocrisy?
If there's anything that demonstrates the straying of the Democratic Party leadership from basic liberal principles, it's this blasted Fairness Doctrine -- which should be fiercely opposed by all defenders of free speech. Except when national security is at risk, government should never be involved in the surveillance of speech or in measuring the ideological content of books, movies or radio and TV programs.
Broadcasters must adhere to reasonable FCC regulations restricting obscenity, but despite the outlandish claims of Democrats like Sen. Charles Schumer, there is no analogy whatever between pornography and political opinion. Nor do privately owned radio stations have any obligation to be politically "balanced." They are commercial enterprises that follow the market and directly respond to audience demand. The Fairness Doctrine is bullying Big Brother tyranny, full of contempt for the very public it pretends to protect.
As a fan of AM radio since childhood, I adore the proliferation of political talk shows spurred by Rush Limbaugh's pioneering rise to national syndication in the late 1980s. It represented a maturation of the late-night coast-to-coast radio programs that I had been listening to in the 1970s, such as Herb Jepko (broadcasting from Salt Lake City), Long John Nebel (from New York) and Larry King (from Miami).
However, I do lament the gradual disappearance of small, quirky local shows due to the trend toward national syndication. And I often get bored and impatient with the same arch-conservative message being drummed out 24/7. But let's get real: Liberals have been pathetic flops on national radio -- for reasons that have yet to be identified. Air America, for example, despite retchingly sycophantic major media coverage, never got traction and has dwindled to a humiliating handful of markets. The Democrats are the party of Hollywood, for heaven's sake -- so what's their problem in mastering radio?
Instead of bleating for paternalistic government intervention, liberals should get their own act together. Radio is a populist medium where liberals come across as snide, superior scolds. One can instantly recognize a liberal caller to a conservative show by his or her catty, obnoxious tone. The leading talk radio hosts are personalities and entertainers with huge rhetorical energy and a bluff, engaging manner. Even the seething ranters can be extremely funny. Last summer, for example, I laughed uproariously in my car when WABC's Mark Levin said furiously about Katie Couric, "What do these people do? Open fortune cookies and read them on air?"
The best hosts combine a welcoming master of ceremonies manner with a vaudevillian brashness. Liberal imitators haven't made a dent on talk radio because they think it's all about politics, when it isn't. Top hosts are life questers and individualists who explore a wide range of thought and emotion and who skillfully work the mike like jazz vocalists. Talk radio is a major genre of popular culture that deserves the protection accorded to other branches of the performing and fine arts. Liberals, who go all hushed and pious at Hays Code censorship in classic Hollywood, should lay off the lynch-mob mentality. Keep the feds out of radio!
I wonder if liberals who support the Fairness Doctrine would also want such a rule introduced to the newspaper and television media, which both tend to favor a leftist orientation.
I might even go out and protest over this one.
I'm with Jed.
As much as I disdain so much of what I hear on Talk Radio, I've got to agree with you that Government Mandates pertaining to what is broadcast are not in accord with what I consider desirable. It would be a much better world if broadcasters actually pursued "Fair and Balanced" productions, but until the time comes in which the population choose to stop being mere Consumers and become, again, Citizens and demand a higher quality fare...
Never mind, just another Hippie Dream.
I imagine we'll just continue the long slide away from Democracy and into the abyss of Corptocrasy. Entertaining ourselves to death...
The Fairness Doctrine is very, very bad. It is amazing that some people try to support it!!
The Fairness Doctrine seems to show why apologetics and the intellectual life are absolutely crucial for Christians and conservatives in general. It seems that particular (liberal) people have gotten to the point where they don’t seem to believe that it is even possible for there to be good conservative arguments. If conservatives can continue to teach the absolutely crucial nature of the intellectual life and sophisticated argumentation, we can (with the assistance of the Spirit) show liberals that social conservative arguments are strong, brilliant, and correct. Then it would seem very odd to many more people that some are trying to tell conservatives what to do.
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