Two weeks ago no one had ever heard of Rep. Maurice Hinchey, save his constituents in the 22nd District of New York and some of his Capitol Hill colleagues. That changed quickly when he managed to get on the evening news to tell the world that he proposed to revive an extinct dinosaur, the Fairness Doctrine.p>In 1949, the Federal Communications Commission thought it would be a good idea to require “equal time” if someone used the airwaves to speak out on a controversial issue. Television was new and radio dominated, with nearly all stations being on the AM band. If a station sold airtime to one candidate, the FCC decreed that it would be required to offer for sale an equal amount of time to his/her opponent. Before long, the FCC expanded the rule to say that, inasmuch as broadcast licensees held a “public trust” they should “actively seek out issues of importance to their community and air programming that addressed those issues.” Fulfilling that rule was a pain in the neck to station managers because it meant giving up otherwise marketable time. Many resorted to brief on-air editorials about barely arguable issues, then airing brief rebuttals if there were any. Most broadcasters sighed with relief at the demise of the Fairness Doctrine. br> . br> The FCC euthanized this dinosaur in the late '80s, during the Reagan years. Soon talk radio was blossoming all over the country. Most popular shows catered to conservative listeners. It is not hard to figure out why. The big television networks build their daily news story budgets around that morning’s coverage in the New York Times and, to a lesser extent, the Washington Post . Network radio newscasts (usually five minute cameos) were and are spinoffs from the TV news operations. Then, most newspapers regurgitate whatever started with the Times , the Post , the networks and the Associated Press. Thus, most Americans were getting their news through the left-of-center filter of “Mainstream Media.” Talk radio opened suddenly opened new possibilities for conservatives, of which there are many. /p>
Why did the left’s big effort at talk radio, Air America, fail to take off and finally collapse into bankruptcy? The reason is that its “natural” audience, consisting of liberals, could satisfy itself with the “MSM,” the weekly news magazines, augmented by CNN and MSNBC. They didn’t need their own version of talk radio.
Revival of the Fairness Doctrine would have the effect of suffocating talk radio, which may be the purpose behind the Congressional Democrats’ floating of the trial balloon. Mr. Hinchey was soon sent to the backbenches from whence he came and Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) hit the airwaves. With a straight face, Sen. Feinstein said, “Talk radio is one-sided and ‘explosive.’” She thinks “it pushes people to extreme views without a lot of information.” Reminds one of the effect of left-wing blogs.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?