You know, since there’s really nothing important that we need to be doing right now, let’s spend our time and some of our limited budget fighting about passing a law against bringing back an old law that no one is trying to bring back

The Republicans nitwits running the House of Representatives want to pass a law to keep Congress (themselves) from re-enacting the Fairness Doctrine, a long-abandoned broadcasting regulation that no one is seriously trying to reinstate.  This news comes from a speech by the House speaker in which he is, almost literally, preaching to the choir.  And they wonder why anyone thinks they’re not fit to run the government.

4 thoughts on “You know, since there’s really nothing important that we need to be doing right now, let’s spend our time and some of our limited budget fighting about passing a law against bringing back an old law that no one is trying to bring back

  1. Actually, NO ONE up there is fit to run the government, but I digress. In all actuality, before the Republican takeover of the House, several Democratic Reps were very adamant about re-instituting the “Fairness Doctrine.” The Dems were worried about all the Conservative talk radio shows out there and the fact that there aren’t very many, if any, Liberal talk radio shows out there. Well, the simple fact is that Liberal talk radio is a losing proposition. Radio stations are in business to make money as well as disseminating information and music. Liberal talk radio didn’t and doesn’t generate advertising revenues so the radio stations don’t make money. It’s really as simple as that. I guess you could say it’s a no-brainer.

    During the last election cycle, Dems were being slammed hard by talk radio. It wasn’t “fair,” they thought. They controlled the major TV networks, but couldn’t also control the radio waves, too. Imagine that, huh? In all actuality, if not for the “entertainment” value of TV, Liberal voices probably wouldn’t have a voice on TV either. Major networks are also in business to make money. The inane comedies, cop shows and reality TV shows are where the networks generate their Adv. revenues. If the networks relied solely on their news programming for adv. revenue, the TV would also be a bastion of Conservative talk because it sells, while Liberal talk doesn’t.

    Oh yeah… I’m back from my trip. 😉


    1. Welcome home, Mike.

      I think you overestimate how many members of Congress are serious about trying to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine; it’s never been enough of them for the idea to have any real chance of success, and it’s in that sense that I bemoan any time wasted trying to “outlaw the unrepeal,” if you will.

      As a former radio guy, I’ll say that you are absolutely right about other one thing: broadcasters are in business to make money. I have no problem with that, I like money as much as the next guy. But don’t be snookered into believing that they have any other motivation: any dissemination of information or promotion of public interest is at best a by-product. They are in business to sell advertising, and will program any format that they can make money from. They’re not red state or blue, they’re red ink or black; they’re green, and not in a way that Al Gore would approve.

      I’ve been toying with a full post on this subject and your comment encourages me to get back to it; thanks.

  2. Welcome back from your trip. I hope you had a good trip.

    Mike is correct that the vitality of longstanding “conservative talk shows” indicates a market victory. Yes, it is a no-brainer. The question, though, is whether the victory is a Pyrrhic victory.

    I do not advocate goverment control of free speech whether under the aegis of the Fairness Doctrine or under some other Orwellian double-speak. Free speech should be just that — free and unfettered (with the rare exceptions recognized at law).

    Being on the air, however, does not vindicate a position or create substance. There are many longstanding television news shows which have won the market battles (based upon longevity) that are still empty in content. My own evaluation of the television media is that most longstanding and market-winning media are pedestrian and jejune.

    I will willingly debate any “conservative” or “liberal” talk show host on the merits of their position. When those same talk show hosts, however, do not actively engage in and encourage such a debate, then the content of their positions is less credible. It may create loyal fans who make market share, but the marketplace of ideas is empty.

    Pat has a unique perspective on this issue, as he was a talk show host before the rise of “conservative” talk radio. He also knows of the commercial underpinnings of the decision of what is and what is not put on the air. I liked Pat’s show and the companion show of Sheila Rushlo (for purposes of full disclosure, both are friends and clients) because they always let somebody have their say (including those callers who disliked what they had to say) and they made the callers think (including those they agreed with at the time). There was no need for a Fairness Doctrine, as Sheila and Pat operated under the fairness of the Socratic method.

    When all is said, we should not be talking about talk radio. We should wonder why Congress continues to focus on straw men issues rather than the critical issues facing the nation. If a Democratic Congress did this, it should be criticized. The current Republican Congress gets no free pass. I believe Mike agrees when he states that no one in Congress is fit to lead this nation. Once again, Mike and I have reached consensus traveling down different roads.

    1. You’re kind to remember the old days so fondly. To be fair, I should acknowledge that the Fairness Doctrine was still in effect in those days, but for many if not most hosts the choice to challenge the views of callers of all stripes was intended to generate an interesting show that attracted and retained listeners, and thus boosted ratings and revenue.

      I feel your most worthwhile point is your last one: enough already with politicians who waste time on issues of no consequence and abdicate the responsibility they earned at the ballot box to lead us through the crises we face today.

Your comments make the blog go 'round, so give us a push.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s