Town Square

Post a New Topic

Dems get set to muzzle the right

Original post made by peter s on Oct 20, 2008


The Obama administration will see to introduce censorship of political expression through real legislative attempt to bring back the Fairness Doctrine. Web Link

" The Fairness Doctrine was an astonishingly bad idea.
It's a too-tempting power for government to abuse.
When the doctrine was in effect, both Democratic and Republican administrations regularly used it to harass critics on radio and TV.

Second, a new Fairness Doctrine would drive political talk radio off the dial.
If a station ran a big-audience conservative program like, say, Laura Ingraham's, it would also have to run a left-leaning alternative.
But liberals don't do well on talk radio, as the failure of Air America and indeed all other liberal efforts in the medium to date show. Stations would likely trim back conservative shows so as to avoid airing unsuccessful liberal ones. "

Comments (30)

Posted by bleeper, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 20, 2008 at 11:29 am

"But liberals don't do well on talk radio "
Don't you ever wonder why that's true?


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 20, 2008 at 11:48 am


Such legislation would also effect Broadcast TV which is overwhelmingly left leaning, so for each Daily Show there would have to be a counterpoint.


Posted by Public Airwaves, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 20, 2008 at 12:10 pm

The government should regulate speech over the public airwaves. Eliminating the fairness doctrine has resulted in the divisive politics we have today. Since the right owns so much of the media now, it somehow feels threatened by the fairness doctrine. In a competition of ideas, the right just needs to make a more reasoned case for its ideas.


Posted by but seriously, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 20, 2008 at 12:25 pm

Sharon, there is already an alternative to The Daily Show. It is called Fox.


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 20, 2008 at 12:33 pm



Fox is just ONE channel, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS etc are all biased towards the left.

I am not in favor of the Fairness Doctrine, I believe the market should determine content.

However if democrats ram it down our throats then there could be a silver lining for those on the right.


Posted by The Real Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 20, 2008 at 12:39 pm

And I would definitely take it as the gospel truth anything the New York Post publishes


Posted by but seriously, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 20, 2008 at 12:46 pm

So the interesting thing is that when the news were all either remaining silent and unvigilant or attacking the Dems for years, it was supposedly "neutral reporting" but now that they are raising real questions suddenly they are the Left Wing Liberal Elite Media. Sure, largely controlled by Rupert Murdoch. I think not.


Posted by Censor, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 20, 2008 at 12:47 pm


If Obama wins and has Congressional coattails, I would expect a new "Fairness Doctrine" to be one of the first things the liberal supermajority will pass.

Americans who object to government regulation of ideas and opinions ought to take this threat seriously.
It applies not just to Rush & Co, but eventually to websites etc. (North of the border, I see, the broadcast regulator, the CRTC, is now moving on to swallow the Internet Web Link.)

"In the time-honoured, mealy-mouthed way, the CRTC will soon be explaining that its intentions are innocent, that it is merely trying to keep up with the convergence of broadcast and Internet technologies.
Only a naive fool will believe that.
The regulator has created a strict broadcasting environment in which Christian and all other views that do not conform to political correctness are effectively kept under siege.
The left hungers for the ability to create a similar tightly regulated environment on the Internet, to bring the free reporting and opinions of bloggers and other citizen-journalists under its ideological jackboot."



Posted by Obvious Man, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 20, 2008 at 12:50 pm

Sharon:
"Fox is just ONE channel, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS etc are all biased towards the left.
I am not in favor of the Fairness Doctrine, I believe the market should determine content."

Why, yes, Sharon, the market has determined content - that's why there's only one Fox versus all the others.


Posted by fran, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 20, 2008 at 12:52 pm

In these hard times, it is time to muzzle the right wing distortion that is hindering our ability to come together as ONE people and solve the many problems facing our country after the disaster that was George Bush.

As a new and enlightened leader, President Obama will take us to a better future. As it appears now, he will thankfully govern with a large Democratic majority in Congress so that he won't have to deal with the Republican obstructionists. We need to put talk radio, Fox and the Wall St. Journal, etc. on a tight leash so that they can't hinder President Obama from carrying out his much needed reforms. He will have a progressive MANDATE, and we the people can't let him be thwarted by the right wing.


Posted by Perspective, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 20, 2008 at 12:58 pm

Fran, well said. I am all for not letting the government be thwarted by anyone expressing ideas contrary to government approved ones.


Posted by Mike-Crescent Park, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 20, 2008 at 12:59 pm

fran,
Hear hear!!

There should also be a new elite committee to rule quickly and absolutely on what is deemed to be 'distortion', and who is causing it. Then the distorted speech should be immediately stopped, and those responsible sent off to camps for re-education so that they can contribute in a positive way to the soon-to-be great new society someday.

It's going to be truly great!


Posted by peter s, a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 20, 2008 at 1:08 pm



While we at it why not do away with the 2 party system, we only need The One party after all, and while we are at it why not elect obama president to life?


If the democrats get a full house in November we are going to see a massive backlash in 2 years


Posted by but seriously, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 20, 2008 at 1:20 pm

This is nuts! Pure speculation, for one thing. For another thing, any such action would be immediately appealed to the very conservative, right majority Supreme Court. It's called checks and balances. Only when we had a right President, legislature and court did we run into problems. But then things swung around into a new configuration as they are intended to do. Same thing will happen here.

Also, considering the right's okey dokey approach to the evisceration of personal liberties in the spirit of nti-terrorist patriotism, it's a little disnigenuous to cry foul ahead of the game now.

I support personal liberties and I object to anyone, left OR right, curtailing them. I would rather know what people who disagree with me have to say; no matter how ill advised or uninformed I may belivee te position to be, Iwill defend to the death their right to say it. This stops short of libel, slander, incitement, and the other exceptions to free speech that have been articulated by the courts.


Posted by bleeper, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 20, 2008 at 1:28 pm

Both the supply and demand of the markets have spoken. Liberals are terrible at bigoted radio shows aimed at agitating its listeners, and conservatives aren't much better at political satire comedy. At least Limbaugh and Stewart need not worry about competition from the other side, should "fairness" become mandated.


Posted by kate, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 20, 2008 at 1:31 pm

Fox includes the basic news shows like CNN and MSNBC in its regular package.But it charges EXTRA to include Fox (and the sports channels that regularly broadcast schools like Stanford.)There's something wrong about the Fox issue. Sounds like controlling the airwaves.


Posted by sam, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 20, 2008 at 1:33 pm

It is coming whether you like it or not


* House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters that the Democratic caucus was interested in bringing back the Fairness Doctrine.

* Senator Richard Durbin has said "It's time to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine."

* Senator John Kerry has said, "Well, I think the Fairness Doctrine ought to be there"


Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 20, 2008 at 1:34 pm

I meant to say that DISH charges extra to get Fox but not for the liberal stations like MSNBC and CNN. No fair.


Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 20, 2008 at 1:34 pm

I meant to say that DISH charges extra to get Fox but not for the liberal stations like MSNBC and CNN. No fair.


Posted by but seriusly, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 20, 2008 at 1:36 pm

But I am wondering about something -- if you truly feel that the right is so underrepresented, why would you not WANT the Fairness Doctrine reinstated?




Posted by paul, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 20, 2008 at 2:25 pm

July 23, 2007 LA Times


Bill Ruder, an assistant secretary of commerce under John F. Kennedy, admitted to CBS News producer Fred Friendly that "our massive strategy was to use the Fairness Doctrine to challenge and harass right-wing broadcasters and hope the challenges would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue."


Posted by PB, a resident of Hoover School
on Oct 20, 2008 at 2:33 pm



The South Bend Tribune has a column by DePauw University professor Jeffrey McCall Web Link on Congressman Pence's Broadcaster Freedom Act:

The Fairness Doctrine mandated that broadcasters provide balanced coverage of controversial issues. To avoid federal second-guessing and expensive lawsuits, most broadcasters chose to say nothing. In effect, while trying to mandate "fairness," the government instead stifled broadcast discussion.

Fortunately, the Federal Communications Commission discarded the Fairness Doctrine in 1987. Broadcasting and democracy have done just fine ever since, with nearly 2,000 radio stations now providing the conversation of democracy in talk formats, compared to about 200 back then.

Indiana Congressman Mike Pence, R-6th District, is working to pass the Broadcaster Freedom Act, a bill that would ensure the Fairness Doctrine never returns. His efforts have been stalled, however, by the Democratic leadership of the House. Pence is now trying to gather enough signatures on a discharge petition, which would force an up or down vote on the Broadcaster Freedom Act this fall.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 20, 2008 at 2:41 pm

Kate - Dish charges 5.99 for their local pkg which includes Fox, CNN is part of a 32.99 pkg, MSNBC is part of 42.99 pkg. Fox news is available as part of the 42.99 pkg but not the lower ones. BTW Dish is a business, not the public broadcasting system. They will charge what the market will bear and choose channels based on demand.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 20, 2008 at 3:05 pm

The Fairness Doctrine doesn't apply to the press--so Wall St. Journal editorials can be as loony as ever.

The idea behind the Fairness Doctrine is that airwave bandwidth is a limited resource and owned by the American people. Because it's limited, it shouldn't be co-opted by one side or another.

So, yes, the extreme right-wing bent of talk radio can be tied directly to the dissolution of the Fairness Doctrine. So if the Doctrine were reinstituted, there's be something to balance out Rush.

Cable, on the other hand, doesn't partake of a limited resource--and could probably continue on its merry way as would the Internet.


Posted by peter s, a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 20, 2008 at 3:17 pm



if you actually read the links you would see that the doctrine would apply to broadcast TV and, given the Canadian precedent, will apply to "new Media" including the internet.

There are a already broad restrictions on speech in Canada and Europe often introduced under the guise of multiculturalism.

I can not believe some peoples naivety


Posted by Gin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 20, 2008 at 4:02 pm

This is why I'm a libertarian.


Posted by Jane, a resident of Professorville
on Oct 20, 2008 at 8:18 pm



PC censorship is coming whether you like it or not, also infanticide, the new Supreme Court members appointed by the one will force it upon us, if obama wins it will be by a tiny margin and this country will be divided like never before, the poisoned chalice may be his.


Posted by Paul, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 20, 2008 at 10:55 pm

" if obama wins it will be by a tiny margin and this country will be divided like never before"

Are you thinking of the 2000 election that Bush actually lost by a margin but became president anyway and proceeded to divide the country?

Stop worrying. Obama is not Bush. He is far smarter and a much better listener.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 21, 2008 at 12:58 am

Peter S.,

Yes, broadcast, not cable, as I said.

Europe and Canada don't have our speech protections. Never have.

The Fairness Doctrine, as I explained, had a specific rationale behind it. It applies to broadcast and radio. The Internet wouldn't fall under those limitations.

By the way, it's "naivete".


Posted by Mike-Crescent Park, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 21, 2008 at 12:09 pm

Under the Fairness Doctrine, everybody will be treated fairly.

Some will be treated more fairly than others.

See fine print for restrictions and details on this offer.


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

How Bad Policy Happens
By Douglas Moran | 21 comments | 1,467 views

The life of Zarf
By Sally Torbey | 10 comments | 1,113 views

Freshman Blues Don't Mean Wrong College
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 1 comment | 905 views

Background and Ideas for the Comp Plan
By Steve Levy | 15 comments | 849 views

When Grandparents Visit
By Cheryl Bac | 4 comments | 821 views