Tuesday, July 31, 2007

But they don't give you any choice 'cause they think that it's treason

(Graphic from this wonderful web site: www.corporations.org)

The Conservatarian OC Register is the gift that keeps on giving. Witness this rant on the late, lamented Fairness Doctrine:
It's difficult to imagine a greater abridgement of that constitutionally guaranteed freedom than a government agency that demands private broadcasters must air views contrary to their own. That essentially is what the former Fairness Doctrine entailed, requiring broadcasters to give free air time to opinions they disagreed with, with the risk of fines or loss of their broadcast licenses if they didn't please the government.

Thankfully, we've been rid of that heavy-handed abridgement of freedom since the Reagan administration abolished the doctrine in 1987.

Catch that? St. Ronnie, he who walked on water, or leaked water into his Depends™, was the one who abolished it.

Here's the thing, kids. While the broadcasters may be private (mostly), the airwaves they use are public, and are our property. In exchange for their use, which is a mighty gift to the private broadcasters, they were once obliged to use a small part of the airwaves for "the public interest", like, you know, news reporting, Public Service Announcements (like Civil Defense drills), and other small inconveniences.

Yet, because the "Market" hates any obligation to give anything away sans profit, and because Conservatives are all about the "Market" having its way with society, Reagan's administration overturned the Fairness Doctrine:
FCC hearings in 1987 found the doctrine provided "broadcasters with a powerful incentive not to air controversial programming" to avoid litigation over compliance disputes, according to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin.

That's this Kevin Martin:
Martin, a former lawyer with telecom powerhouse Wiley, Rein & Fielding LLP, has close ties to the White House, having served as deputy general counsel to the 2000 Bush campaign. His wife, Catherine, works in Vice President Cheney's office. He is a former University of North Carolina student body president and Harvard Law graduate, and was appointed to the FCC in 2001.

. . . In addition to indecency, Martin has been a strong proponent of lifting a 30-year-old prohibition on one company owning a newspaper and television station in the same city. The commissioner backed a move to eliminate the "cross-ownership" ban as part of the proposed media ownership rules passed by the FCC in 2003 and later thrown out by a federal court.

Great. Just great. And the batshit crazy Brent Bozell has this to say about Martin:
"The FCC has been delinquent in its stewardship of the public airwaves," said L. Brent Bozell, president of the Parents Television Council, whose members have flooded the FCC with indecency complaints in recent years. "This irresponsibility must stop, and with the leadership of chairman Martin, we are confident it will."

Here's a great analysis of the Fairness Doctrine:
The policy of the United States Federal Communications Commission that became known as the "Fairness Doctrine" is an attempt to ensure that all coverage of controversial issues by a broadcast station be balanced and fair. The FCC took the view, in 1949, that station licensees were "public trustees," and as such had an obligation to afford reasonable opportunity for discussion of contrasting points of view on controversial issues of public importance. The Commission later held that stations were also obligated to actively seek out issues of importance to their community and air programming that addressed those issues. With the deregulation sweep of the Reagan Administration during the 1980s, the Commission dissolved the fairness doctrine.

Privatizing everything, including combat troops and public airwaves, has long been the goal of the Right. And their slavish devotion to the myth of the "Free Market" goes on and on and on. The OCRegister piece continues:
The complaint that talk radio is one-sided misses the point. The Constitution guarantees government will not interfere with a free press. It's the public marketplace that determines what voices ultimately are heard. Not the government. There's no shortage of soap boxes today. Regulating speech won't increase freedom. It only limits it.
Sure. Regulating speech so more than one side can get an idea out on PUBLIC AIRWAVES is a really bad idea. Why, imagine! Someone might buy almost every news media and publication to further a political agenda. Heck, they might even try to buy Dow/Jones and the WSJ . . .

Oh wait. Never mind.