Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Sharp Stick In The Eye Would Be Better

The fairness doctrine is dead, but that doesn't mean some other doctrine can't and won't emerge to regulate content. Aside from free speech issues, which are plentiful, the last thing radio needs is the government keeping tabs on what radio hosts are saying or playing. PERIOD.

You may have read the lead story on Tom Taylor's Taylor on Radio-Info this morning:

How fair is this?

Balanced Talk Radio“It won’t be called the Fairness Doctrine…”

One D.C. expert is convinced that some leading Democrats have a grand plan to re-institute a rule requiring balance on the airwaves – just the thing that conservative talkshow hosts have made such a boogeyman out of. This may sound like a paranoia alert, but the D.C. guy says “I’ve never seen such communication between the FCC and the White House.” I asked how often they’re talking, and he says “daily.” He describes a constant stream of people from the Portals (the FCC) visiting the White House. He acknowledges that both President Obama and new FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski have waved off a return of the Fairness Doctrine as it existed until 1987. But he believes “they’ll have something like it, under the guise of the FCC’s Localism initiative or something else. It might even be a rider onto some bill in Congress.” Would that be constitutional? Probably not. But more and more folks seem to think there will be an effort from Congress and/or the FCC to “restore balance” to radio – particularly talk radio. If you think the conservative talkers have made a lot of noise about the Obama birth certificate, wait until they see a law or regulation about “balance.”

I am not looking to turn this into a political debate, at least not here in this forum, but the idea of the government telling a station [owner] they have too much or too little conservative or liberal talk on a particular station is chilling. I don't care if it's Randy or Ed or Rush or Sean...keep your stinkin' paws off of free speech. Let the marketplace of ideas sort itself out. It always does.

This is not an issue just for the ideologues to wrestle with. This is an issue for ALL of us to stand together and oppose. We must let OUR government know we don't want nor will we tolerate regulating what can be said and in what amount.

Think it can't happen? Nobody thought General Motors would go bankrupt either.


Jeff Schmidt said...

The very people scare-mongering now about government interference of "free speech" on right wing talk radio had absolutely ZERO issue with government interference on nipple-gate and countless other "obscenity" broadcast issues.

Yet those are the REAL instances of government interference in broadcasting.

Millions in REAL $$ have been levied and paid to the government because of "indecent" broadcast content.

Real people have lost their jobs because companies are AFRAID of the government indecency police.

How many right wingers have lost their precious "free speech" bullhorns because of government action or interference? ZERO.

Yet - it's the GROWING legions paranoid wingers who support government intervention in broadcasting when someone lets a nipple slip or utters a "naughty" word on TV or radio.

Right winger - L. Brent Bozell, for example, makes it so easy to complain about broadcast indecency one doesn't even need to have actually witnessed the "offending" content to complain and petition the FCC for PUNITIVE action against the broadcaster.


What makes Bozell and other wingers think the Government has the power to dictate broadcast content in regard to "indecency"?

Because the airwaves are a public resource merely LICENSED to broadcasters to benefit the public and are therefore subject to standards demanded by the people and imposed/ enforced by the government. That's Bozell's OWN reasoning. Don't see why the same reasoning can't be applied to political content.

But, why not - as you say -"let the market decide'?

What would happen if we let the market speak for itself in regard to "indecent" broadcast content instead of depending on government set indecency standards?

What are we afraid of?

Turns out the "market" is very efficient at delivering the lowest common denominator.

We just prefer to allow free speech to broadcast the lowest common denominator about our politics but legislate punitively when it's about our sexuality and bodily functions.

Either you're for "free speech" or not. Pick a side man. We're at war. ;)

HARVE ALAN said...


Politics is dirty business. And many times there are differing opinions among those on the same side. Nipplegate was ridiculous, but let's not forget that Democrat Michael Copps was as much a part of that mess as anyone. So in that instance both sides went off the deep end in my view.

My post was not in support of conservatives or liberals, it was in support of all sides. I do not want the government dictating content.

And yes, mass appeal often means lowest common denominator. For better or for worse radio stations always try to bring in the most number of listeners. Maybe some day when radio is selling engagement and not rating points this can change.