Senator Really Does Want A Return Of The Fairness Doctrine

from the fair-and-balanced,-it's-the-law dept

In May, the conservative magazine the American Spectator made the claim that Democratic Senators were interested in bringing back the Fairness Doctrine, an old FCC regulation that required broadcast media to be “balanced” in its coverage of political issues. The rule was suspended in 1987, as it was seen as arbitrary and difficult to enforce, not to mention the fact that it would seem to be a violation of the First Amendment (although this hasn’t been tested in the courts). It now looks like the magazine’s report was more or less correct, as Senator Dianne Feinstein said this weekend that a legislative remedy may be needed to counter the influence of right-wing talk radio, which she blamed for stymieing attempts to bring about immigration reform. Leaving one’s political views aside, it’s disturbing that a politician would want to regulate speech because of a single issue. As for talk radio influencing policy issues, it would seem that that’s the whole point of politically-oriented speech. What’s more, the whole fairness doctrine idea is a throwback to the days when radio broadcasters really did have a monopoly. These days, with so many options, ranging from internet radio stations to podcasts and satellite radio, it’s easy enough to tune out, if you’re not satisfied with the point of view that you’re getting.


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Comments on “Senator Really Does Want A Return Of The Fairness Doctrine”

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93 Comments
Bill W says:

Geez

These days if you have a message then you have an outlet for it! And if your message is compelling enough then you have an audience! We don’t need no steenking regulation of messages!!!!

I happen to agree with the Honorable Ms. Feinstein in most regards but this is too much. Her efforts would be better spent getting her own message into a “more compelling” framework!

BW

BTR1701 says:

Re: Re: Geez

> I remember what programing was
> like when the fairness doctrine
> was in place and it sure as hell
> was better than the crap we have now.

Leaving aside the obvious conflation of commonality and causality in your statement, even assuming what you say is true for the sake of argument, it’s not the proper function of government to make TV and radio programming “better”.

fairandbalanced says:

Re: right wing victims

It’s pathetic and tiresome how “conservatives” in this country play victim. The fantasy that the entire media world is against them is just stupid. We are going on 7 years of a Republican president, we would have a Republican Congress if they weren’t so damn incompetent. The Right has been setting the agenda in this country for years, and with minor exception, the media has been unquestioning.

The news media in this country is worthless. Not rightwing. Not leftwing. Just awful.

Koala MeatPie says:

Then will come the Issue of Controling Satilite Radio…
People will point out that that of all things is Free Speach.
People will yell.
People Will scream.
Legistlations, and bills will be made.
Then Discussed.
Then Amended.
And then we’ll be with where we are with net neutrallity.

You can’t have power if you don’t have control.
Sucks doesn’t it?

More then anything, the Fairness Doctrine is to protect poiticians (sides) because the media can make or break anybody, regardless of what actually happened. I say bring it on. The media shouldn’t have more power then the government, and the first amendment Almost garentees that.

Then people get fired for false information.
Yet the NY Times is still around.

Mitch the Bitch says:

California embarassment

Diane Feinstein has NEVER been right about anything and never will be. She’s an over-bearing bitch that should be in the KITCHEN cooking dinner, not bending me over (without vaseline) stealing my money and giving it to her husband and kids.

Anyone that has ever voted for her (or any crat) should be deported immediately.

Only a Civil War can fix this mess.

“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security”

Guess from what document these words derived?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: California embarassment

This is a little bit of an exaggeration here. I mean, please. To compare what she wants to do with how we gained independence from a ruling monarchy is a little bit skewed. Plus, this is far less of an evil then, oh I don’t know, Bush lying and sending us to start a war in a country we have no right to be in.

Old Guy says:

Re: California embarassment

Declaration of Independence…

But the first thing that has to happen is that the sheep have to get fed up with being sheared.

Look at the so-called “Patriot Act” Most rights stepped on since the McCarthy Era.
The founding fathers are spinning in their graves.

“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

And for those who think the current situation is soooo different, you should do some research on the british sabotage and espionage efforts in both the American Revolution and the War of 1812…

Slick Willy says:

darkbhudda – these “most newspapers” you talk about. They the same ones that mock pretty much every dem candidate or at best congratulate them on their dress sense while completely ignoring for years the Cheney and his lap dog destroying your constitution?

As for the 1st amendment issues – it must be remembered that these media outlets are operating under a government granted monopoly access to their spectrum and have an actual obligation under the terms of their grant to have at least _some_ public benefit. Ranting on about the ‘migrants steln thr jerbs!!! doesn’t necessarily qualify.

That Guy says:

Re: Re:

Gee DCX2 it sounds like your describing a democracy.

“a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections”

Sorry to see that your so disappointed to see a democracy in action.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Democracy is a form of government WE DON’T HAVE!!

“…and to the REPUBLIC for which it stands…”

United States of America is a Republic. Get it straight people. How can we listen to a word that you have to say about the government when you didn’t even know what kind it is.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“Representative democracy” is a fancy shmansy term for “republic”.

Democracy is where the people vote on every issue.
Republic is where you vote for a representative to vote on every issue.

People like saying we’re a representative democracy because people like to say we spread democracy.

We don’t have any sort of democracy here. It’s first and foremost a republic.

“Representative democracy” is a made up term.

ABC says:

Look at the dearth of comments by the usually liberal-slanted people who read techdirt. The fact is that when one lib speaks plainly about their agenda of centralized control and censoring of dissenting opinion, the rest of them quietly scurry away to find yet another ‘dumb Bush’ rant.

Just like Hugo Chavez’ shutdown of the last independant TV station in Venezuela, libs like Feinstein, Hillary Clinton, and Rosie ODonnell won’t be happy until people like me are put into ‘re-education’ camps to make me appreciate how much great work they do up there on capitol hill, passing mountains of legislation which at the end of the day feed the beast of the federal govt which is slowly but surely enslaving us all…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Sorry we “liberal-slanted people” couldn’t respond in a timely fashion. I was out doing things with my life at the time this was posted.

God forbid a politician thinks news sources should have an obligation to be non-bias.

I’d much rather have a politician who does that as opposed to a politician who, oh, i don’t know, continuously sends Americans to die in a losing war.

GoblinJuice says:

Talk Radio - Soviet Style!

Of course the Liberals want the Fairness Doctrine back.

They realize, after the stunning failure of Air America*, that the majority of the American people aren’t receptive to their ideas and ideals.

The only way the left will get “equal time” is by government force.

Sorta reminds me of the Russian Revolution. The masses didn’t give a rat’s ass about Socialism, but the elite loooved it. =)

* Had to think for a second to remember the name! Ha!

Bob (user link) says:

It's sad really....

Reminds me of a song:

“The new boss is the same as the old boss”

Let’s face it folks, Republicans, Democrats, it just doesn’t matter anymore. They are all rich snobs seeking to gain more power and they don’t give a shit who they hurt in the process.

This country doesn’t need a revolution, it needs to wake up from its slumber and realize the fools in Washington need to be replaced with people that really care, want to effect real change, and do what is right for ALL people, not just the rich.

Jason says:

Fair and impartial?

I find it hilarious that the right wing media is singled out as being bias. I consider myself for the most part in the middle, but the notion that the rest of the media is fair and impartial is laughable. Right wing media is just a natural reaction to years of completely liberal and left wing media that pretty much dominates the airwaves. Apparently having these extremes on separate shows is the only way to achieve “balance” since human nature doesn’t seem to allow for impartial and objective reporting.

That Guy says:

Why stop there

Let’s not stop at balancing the amount of time given to both sides of an argument, lets pass legislation on one’s ability to articulate an opinion.

One must be able to fully, and convincingly articulate a two separate and totally opposite ideas. Failure to do so will result in heavy fines and a loss of a broadcasting license.

Slander & libel I can understand, but simply not sharing the beliefs of a portion of our elected officials and having the ability to analyze and articulate a response to them shouldn’t be legislated and picked apart by easily manipulated laws.

Big Guy says:

Re: Why stop there

Let’s not stop at balancing the amount of time given to both sides of an argument…

Both? Is that all you can comprehend? Many issues have more than two sides.

…lets pass legislation on one’s ability to articulate an opinion.One must be able to fully, and convincingly articulate a two separate and totally opposite ideas.

You should learn to walk before you try to run. Start with one idea and then work your way up to two and then more.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Why stop there

It’s really easy to give differing points of views to an argument. Have two different people give it.

Plus, its not so much that they say you need to give all sides of the argument, but that you just are supposed to give facts. The doctrine is supposed to stop people from interpreting and twisting the law when they’re talking about it.

BTR1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Why stop there

> The doctrine is supposed to
> stop people from interpreting
> and twisting the law when they’re
> talking about it.

Well, 200+ years of 1st Amendment jurisprudence says that I have every right to interpret the law while talking about it– even twist it, if I want to– it’s called Freedom of Speech. And if there’s one thing the Founders had in mind when they wrote the 1st Amendment, it was the protection of political speech. If you think I’ve interpreted the law wrong or twisted it, then you’re free to counter my speech with your own. What you’re not free to do is shut me up through use of government force.

What is it about the phrase “Congress shall make no law…” that folks like you don’t understand?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Why stop there

they want other peoples views to be heard as well. its not that they want to shut you up. they just want to give other people a chance to have their voices heard on a public platform.

personally, i think its not the best idea. but the way you folks are attacking her about it is out of proportion to what she’s actually asking.

It’s not like she’s asking for people to be silenced. She’s asking for a way to get coverage of both sides of a political issue to people. She wants to try and reach those people that are only hearing one-sided interpretations. Yea, maybe this isn’t the route to go, but is it really something you should so vehemently attack? I don’t mind if someone just says, “Your intentions are well placed, but this isn’t the way to go about it. its a dangerous slope one is on when we start to put certain regulations on various forms of speech. granted, we’ve already made concessions, which have been put upon us by the liberal and conservatives alike, but that doesn’t mean we should tread lightly upon the subject.”

There has been far worse situations that have been wrought by the current administration. Many of you probably agree with these actions. Many people don’t. So, when we see an injustice as well-intentioned as this one, and then you all get on our backs by not attacking her for it, it’s not because we think the liberals can do no wrong. It’s because we see her actually trying to solve a problem that is there. Plus, the injustice she asks for, which most likely won’t get put into effect (another reason not to put too much energy into arguing against it) is overshadowed by other greater injustices in which liberals are trying to put their energy into fighting.

If it were a bunch of liberal-media propagandists, i’m sure there’d be a similar uproar from the conservatives. i wouldn’t even be surprised if you’d be one of them.

And again, it very well may not be a freedom of speech issue. There are certain rules when using public airwaves. They already have restrictions on what they can or cannot say. So, you can go on about what rights the 1st Amendment procures for you, but that doesn’t mean it procures them for a public speaker on a public airwaves. Example: you can’t spread hate speech on public airwaves. The 1st Amendment does not give you carte blanch to say whatever you want. Stop acting as if it does. You don’t have total free speech in schools either. there are plenty of areas that you don’t have total freedom of what you say.

>What is it about the phrase “Congress shall make no law…” that folks like you don’t understand?

Because the situation is more complicated then that 🙂

BTR1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Why stop there

> they want other peoples views to be heard
> as well. its not that they want to shut you up.

Once again, that’s not what you said. You said (and I quote) “The doctrine is supposed to stop people from interpreting and twisting the law when they’re talking about it.”

You were advocating that government pass laws to STOP people from saying things you (or they) don’t like.

BTR1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Why stop there

> If it were a bunch of liberal-media propagandists
> i’m sure there’d be a similar uproar from the
> conservatives. i wouldn’t even be surprised
> if you’d be one of them.

Just for your edification, I don’t countenance attacks on the 1st Amendment no matter who does it. I was disgusted by McCain’s campaign finance law that squelched free speech before elections and I was pleased when the Court struck it down this past week.

BTR1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Why stop there

> Example: you can’t spread hate speech on
> public airwaves. The 1st Amendment does not
> give you carte blanch to say whatever you want.

Sure you can. There’s no law or regulation against it and if there were, it would be flat-out unconstitutional based on past Supreme Court precedent.

The only thing the FCC is empowered to censor on broadcast media is obscenity and so-called “hate speech” is not covered under the legal definition of obscenity.

Jeannette says:

Polls and press at it again

It’s funny, because there was an article buried in the calendar section today– buried in the sense that I rarely read this section on Mondays, and wouldn’t have if there hadn’t been an article on the-artist-formerly-known-as-Prince– about how the frontrunner dems. are boycotting a debate on Fox news! Uproar by journalists to ensue. I agree with Bill W on all points.

Ferinoch says:

touchy subject

I don’t really approve of the idea, but I think the point is one that should be raised. A recent survey by media matters (I think) is saying that the ratio of right wing talk on te air to left wing is something like 9-1. Yet you get poltical opinion surveys showing the country’s pretty evenly split down idealogical lines as far as left and right are concerned. I think this does raise some questions about why 90% of the radio stations in America seem determined to blast limbaugh et al. NPR’s hardly a counter, consdiering somewhere between 50-60% of their market is conservatives over 35. It’s my (probably mistaken and naive)understanding that at least on some level a broadcast liscense carries with it some responsibility to serve the market you’re in, and not just radiate propaganda.

Mostly I’d like to see truth in advertising rules enforced better. From now on, they ought to crucify any show, network, or station that calls bringing the two most obnoxious and stupid people on either side of an issue together to shout at each other a “debate”. 😀

Paul says:

Yea, she’s a little misguided. The problem is that the intention is good. I can’t see how so many people are blowing up at her for wanting news sources to be unbiased.

To compare this to what all the liberals complain about with the current administration leaves me dumbfounded.

Bush starts a war on false premises. He’s the first president to ever try and pass a Constitutional Amendment with the sole purpose of denying something to specific group of people (every amendment either procured rights OR tried denying something to *everyone*). His administration has set back the sciences and are still trying to hamper any effort to stop global-warming. The list goes on.

The things people complain about with the Dems? They take my money and try to help the poor. They take my money and try to give everybody healthcare. They take my money… They take my money… blah blah blah. They always just complain that they’re trying to help people. I mean, here you all are complaining that she wants THE NEWS TO BE UNBIASED! Someone even called for a revolution in response.

Seriously. WTF?

Who Cares says:

It is funny reading these comments. Those who oppose the fairness doctrine have good points. the liberals as usual can only insult the others. that is why Air America Failed and so many others. People are getting tired of the liberals who think they know what is right for everyone. If you don’t like what is being said on the radio station, hey you claim to be so smart. Yet you don’t even know how to change the channel.

Leave my Freedom of Speech alone.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

and i believe there are insults being thrown by both sides if you read the statements above. plus there are points given by both sides.

so, instead of insulting the opposing side, how about give some points of your own. or at least ones that make sense, because the fairness doctrine may not be a freedom of speech issue. this is the kind of thing the fairness doctrine is supposed to stop. people yelling something that makes no sense but it incites people like you to ‘action’. look at the net neutrality debates. its suffering the same thing.

Conservatives tell everyone what is ‘right’ as well. Don’t claim that liberals have a monopoly on that. They’re the ones who wanted to ban gay marriage. They want to stop stem cell research.

Just because the conservatives are telling everyone to live the way *you’re* living, doesn’t mean they’re still not dictating it. you just happen to agree with them meddling in others lives. liberals are trying to remove as much meddling as possible.

BTR1701 says:

Immigration Bill

> If they go around announcing that
> this immigration bill is like amnesty
> for millions

That’s exactly what it is.

> but the truth is more complicated than
> that

It’s not more complicated than that.

> then the talk radio show people are
> definitely at fault for killing good
> legislation.

There’s nothing about this legislation that’s good. This bill is fundamentally bad policy because no one should ever be exempt from our laws or excused from following them. That includes breaking into our country. It especially includes punishing the employers who hire illegals. But we turn a blind eye to both the illegals and the employers who hire them because we have learned to accept this but not that, to take this but not that, depending on the political benefits conferred by looking the other way or pretending a problem doesn’t exist. In the end, we don’t consistently enforce the law– whether against the people who are breaking into this country or against Americans who are hiring them. After all, the promise of a job is the primary reason so many illegal aliens come to the USA. To offer them some kind of amnesty/guest-worker reward in addition to their flouting of our laws is abominable.

And since we seem to have no desire whatsoever to enforce the *current* immigration laws, what in the name of holy hell makes you or anyone else think that the government will enforce this new bill if it becomes law? All this is bill is really meant to do is provide the Congress with the appearance of having “done something” about the problem of illegal immigration while maintaining the status quo that everyone in power is so happy with.

DCX2 says:

Re: Immigration Bill

This bill is fundamentally bad policy because no one should ever be exempt from our laws or excused from following them. That includes breaking into our country.

Last I checked, they were discussing “paths to citizenship”, not just amnesty.

Also, the legislation is more comprehensive than just “amnesty”. It has border security etc. in it. And yet the pundits are shouting “amnesty is bad mmmk”. Totally ignoring every other facet of the bill.

In my personal opinion, a comprehensive immigration bill is dumb. They should pass many smaller bills that are easier to vote on.

From below..

but it seems you yourself have a problem understanding the distinction between news and opinion.

I think the point is that a lot of people consider Limbaugh et al. to be “news” and not “opinion”. That they say it is their opinion doesn’t matter. And that’s the problem to me – Limbaugh could straight up lie, and it could cause harm, and no one will do anything about that.

BTR1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Immigration Bill

> Last I checked, they were discussing “paths to citizenship”, not just amnesty.

“A path to citizenship” is nothing but a politically correct code-phrase for granting amnesty. If they want a legitimate path to citizenship, they can go stand in line, fill out the forms, take the classes and become citizens like everyone else does legally. The “path to citizenship” in this bill does nothing but reward them for their law-breaking and jumps them to the front of line ahead of all the other people who have applied to become citizens, waited in line and done it the right way from the beginning. That’s amnesty.

> I think the point is that a lot of
> people consider Limbaugh et al. to
> be “news” and not “opinion”.

The fact that a lot of people are stupid doesn’t justify altering one of the fundamental guaranteed rights in this country. The last thing I want is my freedom to be limited based on how easily the dumbest members of society can be fooled.

> Limbaugh could straight up lie, and
> it could cause harm, and no one will
> do anything about that.

That’s because grown adults are presumed to have brains and to be able tot think for themselves. People are capable of reseraching things for themselves and discovering the truth of an issue. If they decide not to and just accept whatever comes out of their radio, that’s on them. In no event is it the government’s proper place to protect me from someone else’s rhetoric, especially if that “protection” comes at the cost of a savage curtailment of one of the foundational freedoms of this society. C.S. Lewis said it best:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Immigration Bill

Yea, because you know, its not like these laws were created by people who immigrated over here. America was started by people who landed without being invited. Is it really our place to say who can or can’t come in? The statue of liberty’s slogan says it all, yet you go and deny it.

It’s obviously complicated BECAUSE THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO DISAGREE!

If you were able to see the situation so clearly that you knew you were right on the mark, I’m sure you’d be blabbing away somewhere OTHER THAN A TECH BLOG!

There are people who disagree with your OPINION! But news sources going around repeated your OPINION as FACT is wrong and misleading.

Just because you believe it, doesn’t make it truth. Everything you just said is *still* opinion and should be treated as such.

BTR1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Immigration Bill

> Yea, because you know, its not like
> these laws were created by people who
> immigrated over here.

So you’re apparently saying the U.S. government has no legal authority to control its own borders? Every nation in the world controls its borders– and the vast majority do it a lot stricter than we do**– yet according to you America is the only country on the planet that has no legal right to control who comes in and out of the country.

Very odd position to take indeed.

**Take a look at Mexico’s immigration laws sometime. Tell me why it’s okay for them to restrict illegal immigration into their nation but it’s not okay for us to do it.

> America was started by people who landed
> without being invited.

So was every other country in the world. Who cares?

> Is it really our place to say who
> can or can’t come in?

Yes.

> The statue of liberty’s slogan says
> it all, yet you go and deny it.

I don’t care what the frontispiece on some piece of art says. Last I checked, a gigantic bronze statute in the New York harbor isn’t controlling legal authority.

> It’s obviously complicated BECAUSE THERE
> ARE PEOPLE WHO DISAGREE!

One has nothing to do with the other. Once upon a time there were people who disagreed with the notion that the world was flat. That didn’t make it a complicated issue.

> If you were able to see the situation so
> clearly that you knew you were right on
> the mark, I’m sure you’d be blabbing away
> somewhere OTHER THAN A TECH BLOG!

That doesn’t even make any sense. What does my choice of forum have to do with how well I do or do not understand an issue? The issue was brought up here so I responded here. Why on earth would I respond anywhere else?

> well, good thing they aren’t on a
> news channel… oh wait

I don’t know what it’s like where you are but around here, Rush Limbaugh and his crowd are not on “a news channel”. They’re on “talk radio” which specifically bills itself as opinion-oriented programming.

If some people are too dim to figure out that that means “not news”, it’s not my problem and my freedoms should not be limited because of some misguided desire to legislate down to lowest common denominator in society.

> I don’t recall anyone saying that they
> were news sources.

Seriously? YOU said it yourself. Or you claimed Feinstein said it. Either way, you need to pay more attention to your own comments: “God forbid a politician thinks news sources should have an obligation to be non-bias.”

> It’s the fact that more public channels have a
> bias towards a certain political agenda which is
> unfair.

Life ain’t fair. It never will be. Get used to it. You can trample every single one of the guaranteed freedoms in the Bill of Rights– just like Feinstein wants to do with the 1st Amendment– and life *still* won’t be fair. We’ll just be less free.

> You didn’t say that you *believed* it was an
> amnesty bill. You didn’t say, “In my opinion its
> an amnesty bill. YOU SAID IT as fact.

That’s because it *is* a fact. Just because the word “amnesty” is not used in the bill– and is actively avoided by its supporters like a political hot potato– doesn’t mean it’s not really amnesty. A rose by any other name…

The plan *clearly* offers amnesty in several respects. First, it protects persons who have broken the law from the punishment prescribed by the law (deportation), while offering them the privilege that few get (living and working in the USA). Sure, they may have to jump through a few hoops first but in the end, their law-breaking is rewarded. That’s the very definition of amnesty.

Second, does anyone really believe that at the end of the process, the immigrants will go home or that Congress will suddenly have the political will that it currently lacks to make them do so? There will be just as much (if not more) political pressure in the future to go soft on the so-called guest workers who have been there for years and just as many (if not more) sob stories about families being broken up. Politicians will be ducking for cover just like they are now and in the end nothing will be done, which results in de facto amnesty for every illegal in the country.

BTR1701 (profile) says:

News vs. Opinion

> God forbid a politician thinks news
> sources should have an obligation to
> be non-bias.

Well, there’s your problem. You think the Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannitys of the world are news sources. They’re not. They run political opinion shows and they’ll be the first to say so. They are not news and they don’t claim to be news.

You made such hay over the people here who don’t know the difference between a republican and a democratic form of government but it seems you yourself have a problem understanding the distinction between news and opinion.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: News vs. Opinion

I don’t recall anyone saying that they were news sources. I don’t recall any opinions being based upon that. What you have here is a straw man argument. You’re making it look like a different argument was made in which you could easily disprove and therefore it looks like you’re right.

It’s the fact that more public channels have a bias towards a certain political agenda which is unfair. There should be a fair amount of both sides of the political agenda on the PUBLIC radio waves.

Also, they don’t give it as an opinion (which apparently you think they do).YOU CAN’T EVEN DO IT! (and they do the same thing you do when they give their ‘opinions’)

Example:
>> If they go around announcing that
>> this immigration bill is like amnesty
>> for millions

>That’s exactly what it is.

See what you did there? You didn’t say that you *believed* it was an amnesty bill. You didn’t say, “In my opinion its an amnesty bill. YOU SAID IT as fact. That means you’re not giving it as an opinion. You’re stating a fact. It may be incorrect, but you’re no longer saying its an opinion.

Learn the difference, then maybe we can have a discussion.

Sir Facts says:

Re: Re: News vs. Opinion

>Example:
>>> If they go around announcing that
>>> this immigration bill is like amnesty
>>> for millions

>> That’s exactly what it is.

> See what you did there? You didn’t say that you *believed*
> it was an amnesty bill. You didn’t say, “In my opinion its > an amnesty bill. YOU SAID IT as fact. That means you’re not
> giving it as an opinion. You’re stating a fact. It may be
> incorrect, but you’re no longer saying its an opinion.

> Learn the difference, then maybe we can have a discussion.

I direct you here: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/amnesty
Where I see:
2. Law. an act of forgiveness for past offenses, esp. to a class of persons as a whole.
3. a forgetting or overlooking of any past offense.

Wouldn’t it be amnesty to NOT deport the illegals? At the very essence of the bill, the past offenses would be near ignored, and thus, by not being punished by the laws set out for punishment for illegals, we are essentially giving amnesty. Am I right so far?

George Wilson says:

Public Interest Convenience and Necessity

Broadcasters (as opposed to cable and internet) are granted a license to serve at the public’s interest, convenience and necessity.

Basically, since they are using the public airwaves, the first amendment doesn’t apply. The government can take that to extremes and regulate every program or just require a little fairness and maybe some decency.

sam says:

More then anything, the Fairness Doctrine is to protect poiticians (sides) because the media can make or break anybody, regardless of what actually happened. I say bring it on. The media shouldn’t have more power then the government, and the first amendment Almost garentees that.

That is a ridicules statement, the biggest problem is the damn lemmings who believe every thing they hear, from whatever side they may ascribe to be part of. All of them have an agenda regardless of calling themselves fair and balanced or whatever they may be, they are in business to make money and they put the news on that they think the people want to know. Notice there is rarely any international news and the stories are dominated by retards like Paris Hilton? The media is making America stupider. It is like the decline of the Roman empire in order to keep the masses happy the emperors staged more and more elaborate games and festivals so that they would not see truly where the country is going. Look outside the artificial bubble that America has become and get back to what is real.

Steve says:

Let's Tackle a Bigger Issue First

If we’re going to tackle something that’s unduly influencing our political process, let’s make it lobbyists. The groups using money to adjust the opinions of our policymakers must be removed from the political process for the people and our needs to be given proper attention.

Just imagine the positives if we removed the lobbyists that push no-gun-control, no-net-neutrality, and the rest. Politicians could finally make decisions based on what they think the citizens that will have to re-elect them want, and not on what the people that pay for their campaigns want.

Steve says:

RE: Who Cares?

@ Who Cares?

“If you don’t like what is being said on the radio station, hey you claim to be so smart. Yet you don’t even know how to change the channel… Leave my Freedom of Speech alone.”

That’s a pretty liberal attitude for a conservative. If only your fellow right-wingers felt the same way. I can just imagine the new conservative talking points:

“If you don’t like the idea of abortion, don’t have an abortion.”

“If you don’t like gay marriage… don’t be gay and get married.”

In fact my definition of liberal is “let people do as they please as long as it isn’t hurting anybody else.” I’m with you on the free-speech, not-restricting-radio thing. But you have to also understand that you can’t make the argument for just avoiding things you disagree with while your party is trying to legislate people’s private lives and activities. If you’re for letting people do as they want, you can’t just restrict that to speech and not include the rest of the personal liberties guaranteed in that same document that guarantees free speech.

Lol says:

Similar?

I took a media class that touched on the fairness doctrine and read (and strongly disagreed with) Cass Sunstein’s book ‘Republic.com’ that argues for its return with the growing ability to customize your media experiences to fit your own biases w/o ever having to hear about anything you don’t agree with (what he calls the ‘Daily Me’). One thing I do remember is that it’s costly (time/money/legal liability) to air the alternative views mandated by the fairness doctrine, so stations used to simply avoid controversial topics for fear of losing their broadcast licenses. I’m not sure the plan is to have right wing radio stop discussing certain issues, but it certainly will be the effect. Either that or they’ll take the Fox News approach and invite a token democrat that gets outclassed and made to look like a dope by their conservative counterparts.

Another note, and why I wrote this comment in the first place: isn’t the fairness doctrine kind of like people’s fetish with having intelligent design taught in schools? Intelligent design might bring a fair balance to the science curriculum, but that doesn’t mean it’s a valid subject. The same goes for media ‘fairness.’ That’s the one thing I never got about the doctrine, namely, how tell when there’s a true controversy on the air. Just like global warming is ‘disputed’ science, is society better off if every global warming piece has to be followed by a response by one of the 5% of scientists that don’t believe in global warming?

The first amendment issues are interesting and probably more pertinent now that most media is no longer over-the-air, a fact that originally gave the FCC the power to regulate these kinds of things. Arguably, w/o over-the-air broadcasts, the need for regulation loses some of its strength. But that’s more academic than the fact that, first amendment aside, it’s an ineffective approach and a bad idea overall.

Witty Nickname says:

Bush Trashing the constitution

YEAH! Damn Bush shredding the constituion by trying to pass an ammendment to take away the ‘right’ of homosexuals to marry.

He should be more like the Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt who imprisoned all Japanese-American CITIZENS for nearly all of World War II.

Or did you guys sleep through that history lecture?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Bush Trashing the constitution

umm… yea, Constitution doesn’t apply in times of war. president could (and he did) suspend it…

and before any of you get all idiotic on me, we’re not at war.

plus, i think most democrats would speak against that. try to pick something we’d stand behind. don’t try to pick something we’re on your side with.

Steve says:

RE: Witte Nickname

@ Witty Nickname

Yeah, so because we made horrible mistakes in the past, we should continue to do so. I like your logic.

And while I disagree with banning gay marriage, the point is you can’t claim “personal freedom” when it comes to radio and speech and then crush the same personal freedom for others when it comes to other personal choices and civil liberties like gay marriage and abortion.

Anonymous Coward says:

Steve

I see Freedom of Speech in the constituiton, I don’t see Freedom of Abortion, gay marriage etc.

Gay marriage has been granted by some states – but no court has seen that as a right granted by our constitution, abourtion was ‘interprtted’ into the constitution by the courts.

Enumerated rights such as free speech are very different.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Steve

ummm… so, we could deny anybody the right to marriage then? right?

freedom of speech is also interpreted by the courts too…

your “enumerated rights” have all been interpreted. you think you can go yell whatever you want? its illegal to yell fire in a crowded movie theatre… but OH NOES! I THOUGHTS THAT RIGHT WAS ENUMERATED!!

Steve says:

RE: Witty Nickname

@ Witty Nickname

Hmmm… wow, you’re really good at those first ones…

Let’s take a look waaaaay down the list at amendment #9:
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

Well, I might be wrong, but that seems to say that just because the bill of rights doesn’t specifically give someone the right to do something (be gay and get married, have an abortion) doesn’t mean that it’s not their right to do it.

What about “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?”

I can at least understand the anti-abortion issue. I don’t agree, but I at least understand the arguments against it.

I will never understand the argument against gay marriage.

First, the argument seems to be religious and thanks to separation of church and state and the fact that lots of people are lots of different religions that all believe different things, I think that would make this argument politically irrelevant.

Second, I don’t see how a gay couple being married in any way negatively affects the lives of others. As I am a liberal, if it doesn’t hurt people, and you want to do it, that’s fine with me.

Third, if “protecting the institution of marriage” is your argument, then I don’t see why we let people get divorced, or let divorced people get remarried. I mean, if you’re going to restrict people’s behavior to protect an institution, let’s do it right. Of course I’m being facetious here, but you see my point.

Witty Nickname says:

Gay Marriage

I’m sorry about my participation in turning this into a gay marriage thread.

Let me say this, I support Civil Unions, I think calling something gay ‘marriage’ is silly – but that TO ME is more a gramitical and language issue to me that a moral / political one. I do understand the bill of rights and the ninth ammendment. But I don’t think that gives you EVERY right (like the right to kill someone). The way I see abortion, either you think abortion is murder or you don’t. (Not trying to knock anyone’s opinion, just trying to knock the abortion issue to the lowest denominator.) If you think abortion is murder it is not protected under the nineth ammendment, since Abortion is not actually enumerated it, to me, is different than the freedom of speech, had the High Court not ruled it part of the ninth ammendment it would be subject to state law under the tenth ammendment (HEY! I have read the whole bill of rights!)

At any rate – this is an argument about Free Speech. Throwing out abortion, Guantonomo Bay, WWII, Slavery… EVERYTHING ELSE – Do you think people should be allowed to speak freely on political ideas over the radio – or do you think the government should regulate what is said – that is what this article is about.

Paul says:

In all honesty, she may have the best intentions (at least the ones shes given), but bad execution.

First, it shouldn’t be an issue. Since the population is split relatively evenly, there should be the same thing on the PUBLIC radio waves.

However, there’s not.

Should the government regulate what is said? Well, they already do, just to a much lesser extent. So its not whether they should or shouldn’t at this juncture. Its whether they should force both parties views to be heard or be un-opinionated on their shows.

I’m saying it’d be difficult to do. I think something should change. Whether its through government involvement or not, I really don’t know. Usually government involvement makes things worse, but even by just trying to bring it back, it may at least bring the topic up for discussion. And instead of people just yelling at her about freedom of speech, at least look at what she’s trying to get done.

Nappy-headed Hobo says:

Bring back Don Imus!

Wasn’t Dandy Don a left-wing liberal mouthpiece?

Granted, he spewed some mildly “offensive” tripe, but if I recall, wasn’t he removed from the airwaves by the same progressive jackasses that are now crying to bring in more lefties?!

There’s your “free market” politics for you.

I say, give Rosie O a show opposite Rush, and we’ll see who is who…

Jake (profile) says:

Total Bullshit Techdirt

The Washington Times/ UPI has been flacking this story under various guises for days. And the best they could do is find when Senator Feinstein responds to a question. You’ve gone ahead and outdone the Washington Times, managing to ascribe beliefs to Feinstein that she did not express. This is piss poor. The relevant bit, excerpted below, is far different from how you characterized it, “Senator Really Does Want A Return Of The Fairness Doctrine.”

—————
Asked if she would revive the fairness doctrine, which used to require broadcasters to present competing sides of controversial issues, Feinstein said she was “looking at it.”

————-

This is poor journalism Techdirt, I expect much more out of your typically well-written, well-researched website. I’ll be much more skeptical of your headlines from now on.

eric brown says:

I don’t think it’s a political issue, it’s a market issue. Conservative talk radio is popular. Liberal talk radio isn’t. If more people tuned in to Air America or NPR, Sen. Fienstein wouldn’t be bringing ‘fairness’ back.

Where’s the fairness doctrine for Microsoft vs Linux? For America car companies? For Congress itself? From now on, congress has to have an even split.

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