Yes, those salad days; those glory years; when the liberal democrats had a virtual monopoly on the broadcast media. When the news was spoon-fed without question; when the likes of Walter Cronkite, Harry Reasoner and Dan Rather had the last word. Yep, times was good in 'dem days; and the liberals managed to keep their media brides barefoot and pregnant, and largely in tow with their party line. And the "Fairness" Doctrine (an oxymoron if there ever was one) was the wedding ring that bound them. To the eyes of the liberal democrat, it was a marriage made in heaven. Til death do they part.
But little did they know that their marriage was about to come upon shaky ground; for along came the reviled President named Ronaldus Magnus, who in 1987 believed that ideas, just like the economy, thrived best in the free market; and that the "Fairness" Doctrine, which placed undue restrictions upon that free marketplace, was in fact stifling free political speech. Not only did he rightly believe this, but President Reagan actually had the gall to allow the FCC in 1987 to rescind the "Fairness" Doctrine. What followed was an absolute revolution of and revitalization of the broadcast airwaves that would forever change those salad days. Gone forever were the days that the liberals had a monopoly on broadcast and print media. Gone were the salad days.
Ronald Reagan, the homewrecker, forever destroyed their common-law marriage.
Well, perhaps not forever. For there is a movement afoot by democrats, specifically the likes of Kucinich and Hinchey (who, by the way, throws the word "fascist" around like an empty soda can) to get their wife back:
Hinchey argues thatThe Reclaiming the Public's Airwaves Act, which Hinchey is currently drafting, would:· restore the Fairness Doctrine, requiring broadcast licensees to provide a reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views on issues of public importance,· prevent one company from owning broadcast stations that reach more than 35% of U.S. TV households,· repeal the "UHF discount", an outdated formula now used as a loophole to avoid the national TV ownership limit,· restore a national radio ownership cap and strengthen local radio ownership caps,· re-establish the rules weakened by the FCC this week,· provide tax incentives to encourage broadcast ownership diversification,· rescind the biennial review process through which the recent FCC decision was reached, and· direct the FCC to strengthen rules requiring broadcast licensees to serve the public interest.
"The public airwaves belong to the public, not the media elites. In the past, broadcasters had to show that their programming was serving the public interest when they applied for renewal of their license every eight years. But now the FCC has made these renewals virtually automatic."Nor do the public airwaves belong to the liberal elites in the democrat party, Mr. Hinchey!
What Hinchey completely ignores is the fact that since 1987, the radio airwaves have belonged to the public. To say that it belonged to the public beforehand was simply not the case!
It was unwieldly if not impossible to comply with the "Fairness" Doctrine and simultaneously have a free flow of ideas. Having been in the business during its tenure, I can say that the Doctrine, administered by virtue of United States Government regulations, did nearly as much to stifle the free flow of political ideas as any communist state would ever hope for. During that time, the only political ideas to come out of a radio station, would, at best, be a two-minute daily editorial; after which came an opportunity of equal duration for an opposing viewpoint.
That was it.
Oh yes, there were the "public affairs" programs (Which had all of two listeners. on a good day.), the dryness of which made today's NPR look like the second coming of James Brown. But any attempt to have a prolonged, lively, and interesting one sided conversation, or one person's viewpoint (a la Limbaugh) would have to be met with equal time for an "opposing viewpoint." This led to broadcast airwaves that were cluttered with nothing more interesting than America's Top 40; and talk shows, if any, were by design apolitical.
But for the last two decades, the People, via their wallets, were in charge of programming; a fact that continues to be lost on brain-dead, economics-challenged ignoramuses like Hinchey. Over the past two decades, there has been more than ample opportunity for both conservative and liberal viewpoints to be heard; but at each juncture, conservative viewpoints thrived, while liberal viewpoints crashed and burned.
Commercial broadcasting is built on advertising revenues, pure and simple. The more people listen, the more that can be charged for advertising; and the more money that the broadcaster makes.
Do you really think that if listeners in radio markets were so hungry for "alternative" liberal viewpoints, that the marketplace would actually deny themselves what would be such a lucrative niche? If the public were "hungry" for alternative viewpoints, wouldn't the likes of Air America be not only surviving, but thriving? The crashing and burning of Air America, which was supported only via donations in the first place, was no accident, Mr. Hinchey!
The dirty little secret is that radio audiences are not hungry for "alternative viewpoints." Those viewpoints, having received more than a fair and ample hearing in the marketplace of ideas, have been summarily rejected by the very people you purport to champion, Mr. Hinchey.
What this all comes down to is that hell hath no fury like liberal ideology rejected and scorned, no matter the venue in which that scorning takes place. Liberal dogmatists are much akin to an abusive, jealous and possessive spouse. Reject them, and they'll only force themselves on you.
Mr. Hinchey's latest crusade to return to the "salad days" of liberal media control, by shoving liberal orthodoxy down the throats of those who don't want it, is testament to that fact.
It's high time that Kucinich, Hinchey and other like-minded liberals be given a restraining order.