It's been my week to awaken the wingnuts. But I just love starting these types of fights, especially when the wingnuts don't have a leg on which to stand. We got a good dose of how dangerous right-wing radio can be when Spocko made news and took on The Mouse. But this is something else.
The Democrats are in charge and the Fairness Doctrine is back in the discussion.
Over the weekend, the National Conference for Media Reform was held in Memphis, TN, with a number of notable speakers on hand for the event. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) made an surprise appearance at the convention to announce that he would be heading up a new House subcommittee which will focus on issues surrounding the Federal Communications Commission.
The Presidential candidate said that the committee would be holding "hearings to push media reform right at the center of Washington.” The Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the House Government Reform Committee was to be officially announced this week in Washington, D.C., but Kucinich opted to make the news public early.
In addition to media ownership, the committee is expected to focus its attention on issues such as net neutrality and major telecommunications mergers. Also in consideration is the "Fairness Doctrine," which required broadcasters to present controversial topics in a fair and honest manner. It was enforced until it was eliminated in 1987.
Kucinich said in his speech that "We know the media has become the servant of a very narrow corporate agenda" and added "we are now in a position to move a progressive agenda to where it is visible."
The conservatives are freaked out about the Fairness Doctrine becoming a reality again. I received a serious and unintelligible troll attack over my post on the Fairness Doctrine because I dared to link to the freaked out anti-fairness conservatives, which included Red State, Captains Quarters, that unhinged Jeff guy (yeah, him), Right Wing News and others (links are here if you must). I just can't help offering entertainment to my readers. But seriously, the wingnuts just don't get it. The short story on the Fairness Doctrine is that Reagan got it nuked and shortly after that Rush entered the picture, which opened out on a conservative monopoly on radio, because the Democrats were still trying to figure out direct mail. Anyway…
Unfortunately, when wingnut trolls attack, they only prove my points. One of them offers: "…MSNBC, CNN are losing their audience in greater numbers, while Fox, Hannity or Rush Limbaugh numbers are increasing. …" Unfortunately, the argument is not only lacking in facts, but illustrates why the Fairness Doctrine is important. For instance, Fox "News" ranted on, as did Rush and Ken doll Sean, about WMDs in Iraq, as well as every other lie put forth by the Bush administration, reaching millions of listeners and viewers, while also slandering the U.N. weapons inspectors, who just happened to be right. If you add political Christian broadcasting to this toxic mix, you get a monopoly that is dangerous. Progressives didn't get on Armed Forces radio until late in 2005, but even then Ed Schultz was threatened with cancellation before he even debuted, because he criticized someone in the Bush administration. This isn't championing free speech. It is patently unfair practice. It also illustrates the tilted news our military is getting. That, too, is dangerous.
It's not enough to offer editorial comment, when the truth is missing from the debate. Right-wing radio offers propaganda, not facts, with the intent to play on the listeners emotions, without offering content that is based in reality. The ratings prove that FNC, Fox "News" channel is losing out in the ratings. Of course, if you want to talk Fox's basic network, with football and "24," the ratings are different, but that's not political content, which is the subject here. In addition, the ignorance of conservatives about media and radio is further shown when they say the Fairness Doctrine is about "…demanding that the government implement further control or regulation over an entire industry, it might be simpler to look in the mirror, at the rating points & ad revenues & realize that the market for the “progressive” or liberal slant isn’t as popular or pervasive as you assume it to be. …" Again, they miss the point. Ed Schultz and Stephanie Miller, as well as the leader in progressive talk, Randi Rhodes, are making it in the commercial market, as are others. Progressive radio programming is not only popular, but growing. The issue is to allow more progressive hosts on local am/fm radio to see if we can also make it. Unless you've been in the battle for radio you don't know what it's like, with conservative corporations not even giving progressives a chance to get on air, or cancelling good hosts before they have the time to prove themselves. You have to give progressive hosts a chance to build an audience, which takes time. But conservatives do not want fairness, which can be seen through their trade policy, as well as their anti-union rhetoric, which has decimated the middle class, by selling out workers for outsourcing all in the name of profit. They want a one-way talking machine on radio, paid by and benefiting only their political partners in business, as well.
In addition, the hate speech spreading from right-wing hosts is real. KSFO and its callers have been called out recently, as has Melanie Morgan. Read Spoko's story, if you haven't already, which reveals it all. There's more from Mike Stark.
Right-wing is on the air and getting advertisers because they're the only game in town in many instances, except for a few progressive hosts like Schultz, Miller, Rhodes and a few lucky others, including those on Air America. The Fairness Doctrine will not keep a bad show on, but it will allow entry to good hosts who are now being shut out by conservative conglomerates.