Thursday, January 18, 2007

Conservative Radio Against Fairness!

You can count on the righties on the web and radio to freak out about this one! But first, some words from our favorite talking heads on the right....

Glen Beck:

  • On a Nigerian public information campaign to fight bird flu: "They've actually resorted to radio jingles. ... Are we as dumb as Nigeria?"
  • To the 7-year old African-American author of a controversial poem: "You want to go to Africa? I will personally purchase your airfare.
  • But the second thought I had when I saw these people and they had to shut down the Astrodome and lock it down, I thought: I didn't think I could hate victims faster than the 9-11 victims. These guys -- you know it's really sad. We're not hearing anything about Mississippi. We're not hearing anything about Alabama. We're hearing about the victims in New Orleans. This is a 90,000-square-mile disaster site, New Orleans is 181 square miles. A hundred and -- 0.2 percent of the disaster area is New Orleans! And that's all we're hearing about, are the people in New Orleans. Those are the only ones we're seeing on television are the scumbags -- and again, it's not all the people in New Orleans. Most of the people in New Orleans got out! It's just a small percentage of those who were left in New Orleans, or who decided to stay in New Orleans, and they're getting all the attention. It's exactly like the 9-11 victims' families. There's about 10 of them that are spoiling it for everybody.
Michael Savage: We need another brave Senator, like McCarthy, whom history has proven to be a loyal patriot."

"I'm beginning to think that women should be denied the vote. Their hormones rage; they are too emotional."

In fact, Christianity has been one of the great salvations on planet Earth. It's what's necessary in the Middle East. Others have written about it, I think these people need to be forcibly converted to Christianity but I'll get here a little later, I'll move up to that. It's the only thing that can probably turn them into human beings. ... Because these primitives can only be treated in one way, and I don't think smallpox and a blanket is good enough incidentally. Just before -- I'm going to give you a little precursor to where I'm going. Smallpox in a blanket, which the U.S. Army gave to the Cherokee Indians on their long march to the West, was nothing compared to what I'd like to see done to these people, just so you understand that I'm not going to be too intellectual about my analysis here in terms of what I would recommend, what Doc Savage recommends as an antidote to this kind of poison coming out of the Middle East from these non-humans. (from

Janet Parshall: “Today we ask, 'How can a country with such a horrific record of human rights abuses, religious persecution, nuclear proliferation and espionage be deemed normal by any freedom-loving country such as the United States?'”

“When two people of the same sex … decide that they want to then adopt children, … then I think what you have in many respects is state-sanctioned child abuse because you have purposely taken away either a momma or a daddy, and mom and dad are both necessary in a child's life.”

(and this typical abuse of facts)

Sean Hannity: “It doesn't say anywhere in the Constitution this idea of the separation of church and state.”

It goes to show how little Hannity knows American history.

and this ditty about the fighting in Kosovo:
"And we are having a president compare this to Adolf Hitler. Granted, 2,000 in a year is disgusting, despicable, if we can stop it. But let's arm the Kosovo Liberation Army instead of putting U.S. troops in harm's way."

and in response to the growing call for national health insurance, I heard Hannity exclaim on his daily show on Seattle's KVI radio that America has the greatest health care system on the planet.

and this gem about Jeff Gannon: HANNITY: Now, Jeff Gannon, who is a terrific Washington bureau chief and White House correspondent for Talon News, actually shot me an e-mail today, and he's about to break a story in an exclusive about these CBS documents.

Janet Folger is another Religious fundamentalist: "And now, five years after we were attacked, our troops are fighting overseas for the freedom of those who pray in the name of Allah at the same time a U.S. chaplain has been court-martialed for praying in the name of Jesus on American soil."

Neal Boortz: How many Catholic schools do you think teach the students to question the authority of the Pope? Do you believe Christian schools teach students to question or challenge the authority of Jesus Christ? Do military schools teach the cadets to challenge the authority of superior officers? Well, why should we then expect government schools to teach children to question the authority of government?

and let's not forget Rush Limbaugh:
“Women were doing quite well in this country before feminism came along,” and who can forget this attack,
"He is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He's
moving all around and shaking and it's purely an
act. . . . This is really shameless of
Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication
or he's acting. This is the only time I've ever seen
Michael J. Fox portray any of the symptoms of the
disease he has. He can barely control himself."
and on and on he goes ad nauseum.

So what is it about the Fairness Doctrine that the conservatives really don't like? Is it necessarily that they don't want to present a fair and balanced view point? To actually be professional journalists? That's partly it. Hannity has no journalism credentials, and Limbaugh is just a "radio guy." And as we can see from history, no government that wants control of the people can tolerate a free press. So instead of just closing them down Gestapo style, the right wing has decided to use profit as the muzzle. It has been known for a long time that most newspapers were unprofitable. So when the FCC under Reagan decided to eliminate the rules concerning media monopolies, suddenly the bottom line wasn't journalistic professionalism, but rather a profit margin. And if the owners didn't like the message, well, it just didn't get shared. And as we have seen by the watching of FOX News, and the documentary Outfoxed by Robert Greenwald, Fox news was created and operates as a conservative propaganda machine. In some regards this is simply a step back to the original days of journalism in America, where most papers were simply mouthpieces for one viewpoint or another. But when it comes to the common ground of the Internet, then it takes on a whole new significance, and why there is so much debate over Net Neutrality. Another aspect of the common ground truth is that the Fairness Doctrine recognized the public ownership of the airwaves. In
"Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC (1969), the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Fairness Doctrine, under challenges that it violated the First Amendment. Although similar laws had been deemed unconstitutional when applied to newspapers, the Court ruled that radio stations could be regulated in this way because of the limited nature of the public airwave spectrum." (Wikipedia) So how is it that public airwaves are allowed control for profit by a very small group of people? But even more importantly, there are some related rules of the Fairness Act that would up-end right wing radio: "Two corollary rules of the doctrine, the "personal attack" rule and the "political editorial" rule, remained in practice until 2000. The "personal attack" rule was pertinent whenever a person or small group was subject to a character attack during a broadcast. Stations had to notify such persons or groups within a week of the attack, send them transcripts of what was said, and offer the opportunity to respond on the air. The "political editorial" rule applied when a station broadcasts editorials endorsing or opposing candidates for public office, and stipulated that the candidates not endorsed be notified and allowed a reasonable opportunity to respond."

Those two corollary rules would wipe out most conservative radio. I have in fact heard here on the local "conservative" radio station, KVI of Seattle, host John Carlson, completely distort a posting on the Daily Kos. Carlson's point was the far left anti-American view. Well, I knew Carlson was wrong. Completely wrong. Which proves that either they don't fact check, or they deliberately alter the facts for their own ideology. As it turns out, but KVI never owned up to, the post in question was about the US troops, and was a comment not posted by Kos himself, but a poster named Oachim's Razor on the Daily Kos site, and the comment itself not only was used out of context, but it was followed by an apology which was never aired on KVI.

The only radio host I am aware of that actually interviews the "conservative" viewpoint is Thom Hartmann. He often however has the bad habit of interrupting his guests, particularly when they make some incredibly stupid statements. I really dislike the interruptions, but it allows for fair play, and the opportunity to hear both sides of an issue. On the other hand, Hannity had to have his Colmes foil because he couldn't handle anything real, and O'Reilly just shuts off the mic or yells at his guest to shut up.

That's why the Fairness Doctrine scares the right. It would mean that they would have to actually engage in debate, and even in the Congress they ran for the last decade, they allowed for practically no debate. Take the Patriot Act for example. It's original passage was a complete rush job, and it contains language that is contrary to the Constitution of the US, and there was virtually no debate on it before passage. In fact, many of those who voted on it never had a chance to read it. It means their smear tactics wouldn't go unchallenged in mainstream media.

So to all who are scared of the Fairness Doctrine: Put up or shut up.


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