City of Roses
|There's another particular issue I sense is especially crucial to bring up right now, perhaps taking part in community radio a lot as of late, and that is the re-emergence of the national debate over the "Fairness Doctrine", following the recent controversy with Don Imus and the increased attention being brought to controversial views on AM radio in particular.
The New York Times: July 12, 2007
Since then, many Senate Democrats have expressed interest in exploring a federal codification of the Fairness Doctrine, pointing to the ideologically conservative slant on AM radio.
Star Tribune: June 29, 2007
Republicans have responded, accusing the Democrats of stifling conservative talk radio and free speech. Senator Norm Coleman, a Minnesota Republican, has co-sponsored along with Jim DeMint and John Thune legislation that would "revent the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from reinstituting the rule."
First Amendment Center: July 16, 2007
Yesterday, however, Senate Democrats blocked the amendment, with Richard Durbin arguing that broadcasters should provide both points of view on an issue.
In my opinion, I believe the Fairness Doctrine should NOT be re-enforced, because it never seemed enforceable to me to begin with, and even if it had been allowed to stand, I think the courts would have eventually struck it down regardless. And I especially regret how these Senate Democrats and their interest group ideologues at the Center for American Progress and elsewhere have seized upon the Imus controversy in a lame attempt to fill their political template.
Anyway, I don't even think that's the central issue here. I simply believe the REAL issue here is the deregulated state of our media, where only a handful of companies own a vast majority of our media outlets, and thus the information we get is restricted in a different fashion, based on the cross-marketing and homogenity amalgamated with the personal beliefs and opinions of who own these companies.
With that said, I don't like what the Democrats are doing with this issue, as it screams nothing but politics in my mind. Regardless of how extreme I find Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity's opinions on their AM radio programs, I would also condemn anyone's effort to restrict or even silence their right to speak as they are on the airwaves, as Americans should have the right to choose what they want to listen to, and if they don't want to listen to them, they have the option of turning the dial off.
I will add, however, that I strongly favor legislation that would restore the FCC's pre-1996 Telecommunications Act rules on media ownership, and I cannot overstate how much I strongly support it, as media diversity is most fertile when not monopolized single-handedly by the Clear Channels and Viacoms, and restores the principle that the airwaves are publicly-owned and are not the birthright of those media conglomerates.
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"