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I have a question about the Fairness Doctrine

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verdalaven Donating Member (495 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-09-08 08:21 AM
Original message
I have a question about the Fairness Doctrine
for those of you who are more knowledgeable than I on the subject.

I support bringing it back with changes that reflect our technological advances. One poster suggested a cap on media outlet ownership, and I think that is a good idea, too.

My question has to do with the outright lies told by the rw media. Even if it is categorized entertainment, Rush and his counterparts still tell whoppers, bend the truth or fictionalize history to form fit their world view, and sell it to their listeners as truth. They call it a point of view; I call it propaganda. Would the Fairness Doctrine address their lies? Force them to categorize their shows as not only entertainment, but fiction, if they completely depart from reality? Is it possible to stop their lies without subverting the 1st Amendment?

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BlueCollar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-09-08 08:23 AM
Response to Original message
1. Sure...Take the liars to court
and sue for defamation of character, slander, libel etc.
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Enrique Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-09-08 08:25 AM
Response to Original message
2. I think stopping those lies is its main purpose
Rush spends hours on end attacking people. The Fairness Doctrine would force his stations to provide those targets equal time to answer him.
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frogcycle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-09-08 08:27 AM
Response to Original message
3. short answer: no
"Is it possible to stop their lies without subverting the 1st Amendment? "

They can pretty much say what they want, and the only recourse is to publicize the truth, boycott their sponsors, and/or sue for slander and/or libel. I'd like to see more of the latter. There is some bs loophole that if you are in the public eye you are fair game. I'd like some smart lawyers to shred that.
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KharmaTrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-09-08 08:41 AM
Response to Original message
4. Create Competition and Access...
I worked with the Fairness Doctrine in the 80's...it is a slippery slope when you start mandating "fairness"...especially in the hands of politicians. Radio has gone through a lot of other changes that are far more responsible for the rise of hate radio than the Fairness Doctrine. The floodgates opened with the deregulation and Telcom '96. It put a majority of the radio stations in the hands of a few who downsized, consolidated and "belt-tightened" to make the most money with their stations...and to create an artificially high price on their license that kept their stock prices high...and made them lots of money as well. It became so market-heavy that many large broadcast companies made their real money off the rise of their stock prices than the actual revenues of their operations.

One way to cut costs was to replace local programming and expenses with cheap satellite programming and right wing programmers gladly filled the bill...it attracted white males...one of the few audiences left that listened to AM radio (or sports talk). Now the bottom has collapsed on this shell game. Radio has seen revenue declines for several years (especially AM and hate radio) and the recent market crash has taken a real toll on the inflated values of the large broadcast companies...turning a lot of their properties into near dust.

The hey day of hate radio has passed. We saw in the last election that it no longer was a player, but rather a freak show. The ongoing change of listening trends to new forms of medium...satellite, internet, IPOD/IPhone is changing the broadcast landscape, and with it so will what we now consider "broadcasting".

Reregulating radio to open up both ownership and opportunities would be a big step in bringing both new blood and voices onto the public airwaves. Reinstituting the number of station a company can own in a particular market, shortening license renewal periods, making license challenges easier and giving preference to local and minority ownership would increase the variety, creativity and diversity on a morbid broadcast band and lead to a smoother transition into the future.

The real game here is to see if the same synergy that was used to turn the Internet into a major conduit for Progressive thought and communications and can transfered to broadcasting...harnessing the many talents that are out there and creating platforms where they can be heard, supported and flourish. It's a tricky act, but one that should be worthy of looking at as a future goal of expanding a Progressive agenda.

Cheers...
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Tangerine LaBamba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-09-08 08:51 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. Thank you
That was a great exposition on a complicated subject. You informed me well, and I am grateful.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-09-08 10:24 AM
Response to Reply #4
10. Thank you for that info! Greatly appreciated! I see the "Fairness Doctrine" as a
general principle of promoting wide spectrum political discussion and public access--particularly dissenter access--to the media.

How it is specifically implemented--say, bringing back the old "equal time" provision, or busting monopolies--is less important than re-establishing the principle.

Of those two well-known mechanisms--equal time, and busting monopolies--these notions really go together. You can bust monopolies and still end up with all rightwing, white bigot radio broadcasting in Georgia or Louisiana. You need equal time to protect minority views in specific markets.

As to radio going dead, bear in mind that huge segments of the population still have long commutes, and still turn on the radio for news and entertainment while they're driving. Satellite systems have given some people more choices. I have mine set on Air America, BBC and C-span--and 60s rock. I entirely avoid local radio markets due more to geography than anything else. There is a GREAT local public radio station in my area, but I can't get reception in my car, due to high mountain ridges. But I'm think more of the folks stuck on the Los Angeles freeway system, and other such instances of bad city planning--where people live sometimes 2 to 3 hour drives from where they work. I remember, in fact, that this is how Jerry Brown got his start in politics. His team was tech smart for those days, and realized that they had a captive audience for 4 to 5 hours a day, in the commutes to and from work in L.A. So they concentrated heavily on press releases and events/interviews for radio. That's how Brown first won public office (L.A. community college school board). Fast forward to Pouffle and the internet!

Anyway, there is nothing like vibrant local programming, with focus on local issues, to rebirth radio. But how do you get it? Maybe our airwaves--like the banks--will revert to public ownership simply because capitalism has gone bust. They've driven radio off the cliff with their canned garbage, and non-stop fascist blabber. Can we, the people, get pulleys and ropes and haul it back up? Sure we can. These predatory capitalists depend on it. Once we've created something good--with hot, energetic, creative little enterprises around the country--then they can come raid us again. (I mean, what else are these 'TRADE SECRET' code voting machines for?)

But I digress. Your prescription is busting up monopolies. I would add the "equal time" provision in some form, to foster a culture of objectivity in journalism, and to give big corps pause about pushing their agenda on the rest of us. If they are obliged to give "equal time" whenever they express an opinion on a public issue, then they will be less likely to shove their opinions upon us (as was the case during the "Fairness Doctrine" era--when you rarely saw the hand of management on the news), and this ALSO influences print media. It was not a perfect system, by any means, but it was far, far, FAR better than what we have today: naked corpo control of the political discussion.

I like all of your suggestions for diversity. But corpos never take a hint. They need a bludgeon. Force them to give "equal time" and force them to divest. And I think we will eventually start seeing real newspapers as well--even with the stiff competition from the internet. Having a newspaper in your hand is like having a book in your hand. There is no tech substitute. The problem with newspapers is the shitty, warmongering, fascist product, not the medium. Give people a lively product, with real news and real debate in its pages, and people will buy it, and when people buy it, advertisers will want to advertise in it. I view my local rag--which I think is now owned by the NY Times--as a DEAD ZONE. Same old nauseatingly slanted news. Same old newspaper columnists, all of whom I think died long ago. Dead, dead, dead. My husband subscribes for the crossword puzzle. I never read this shitrag any more.

But the problem is not the internet ad competition. The problem is what they're SAYING, which is of no interest to me. Not even marginal interest. It is dead writing, with the deadly hand of the corpo CEO upon it. They want total control. They want no surprises. They cut staff in order to kill investigation and prevent surprises, as well as to stuff their pockets. Same with radio. Local radio DJs used to be able to start a revolution in the musical world. It was all coming from the liveliness of our culture at the BOTTOM, among the people, the musicians and song writers, the teenagers, the rockers. Now there is hardly anything lively and surprising anywhere in radio, except maybe pirate stations, and sometimes AAR. I heard a great guy on AAR--was it Norman Goldman subbing for somebody?--yelling about the religious clergy speaking at a gay anti-Prop 8 protest in L.A. He was shouting. He was pissed off. He was excited about keeping religion out of the politics. And he was great! I didn't happen to agree with him. I thought it was good that clergy came out in support of the protest--and thought of Martin Luther King and all that. (King was a PREACHER!) But he was great anyway.

It was so SURPRISING--the way Mike Malloy and Randi Rhodes sometimes surprise and astonish. That's what radio should be like. Open. Unpredictable. A happening! And anybody can get their say. And some unknown rock group from nowhere (Liverpool!) can suddenly take off, in circumstances of freedom and diversity--with nobody censoring and canning and killing everything good--and bedazzle the nation and change music history.

Get the deadening hands of multi-billionaire, fascist CEOs off the content of radio-and watch it take off. And keep their bloody hands off the internet.
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rusty fender Donating Member (442 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-09-08 12:18 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. Pollyanna dear, the only thing the Fairness Doctrine will do is kill
POLITICAL talk radio. AAR as well as the right wingers will cease to exist because the corpos won't have to have balance on any talk except political talk. AM stations will revert to talking about gardening and recipes, but NOTHING POLITICAL. So we'll get rid of the bad, but also the good like Thom Hartmann and Rachel Maddow.
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OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-09-08 08:49 AM
Response to Original message
5. Doubtful. I Still Wonder Though If Fox Can Be Sued For Their 'Fair And Balance' Tag.
I consider that to be blatant false marketing and deception, whether it is a show for entertainment or not. Proving the lack of fairness and balance in court about fox would be the easiest thing ever.
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jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-09-08 08:53 AM
Response to Original message
7. Bring back "Point-Counterpoint"
Rush you ignorant slut!

:evilgrin:
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verdalaven Donating Member (495 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-09-08 10:20 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. LOL! n/t
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Liberal In Texas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-09-08 10:24 AM
Response to Original message
9. I think the problem is in deciding what "truth" is. By who's definition.
It would be a slippery slope to try and regulate "truth".

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Motown_Johnny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-09-08 10:40 AM
Response to Original message
11. not easily.. There are a few things I would like to see done though
for one, I think that any retraction needs to be printed/spoken 10 times more than the original falsehood was printed/spoken


Simply printing a retraction after putting a lie out there isn't equal and is part of the problem

It should also be easier to force someone to correct any falsehood. Maybe a fact check association of all major media outlets which vote on specifics that can and can't be presented as facts.
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