July 17, 2007
The Fairness Doctrine Engine StarterBy Christopher Chantrill
Could we all hit Pause on the outrage remote just a moment? I know it is the most delicious fun to roll tape on our conservative outrage when Democrats propose to think about a proposal to study an investigation to reinstate the FCC Fairness Doctrine. But let us not lose our heads.
It is perfectly understandable that the United States Senate, according to Frederic J. Frommer of the AP, is too busy debating the war in Iraq to vote its support for the First Amendment and drive a nail once and for all into the odious Fairness Doctrine. But the solons will probably get around to it next week.
Anyway, talk radio is a problem, and something must be done about it.
Even Sen. Trenthorn Lottherd (R-WB) knows that.
The liberal policy analysts at the Center for American Progress know it too. After exhaustive policy analysis they have discovered a national problem. It is
Their study is almost a parody of social science research. Not for them a highly nuanced history of political speech on the public airwaves. They prefer a quick snapshot of political talk on the radio and discover to their chagrin that the number of hours of programming is 10 to 1 conservative, and the number of stations is 76/24 percent conservative/liberal. How could this be? The facts all by themselves tell a compelling story of structural imbalance. It must be corrected by a comprehensive program of government compulsion, they write, including a tax to support public radio.
Now you see why Burke railed against "sophisters, calculators, and economists." He was talking about John Halpin, James Heidbreder, Mark Lloyd, Paul Woodhull, Ben Scott, Josh Silver, S. Derek Turner, the authors of the talk radio study.
We all know the real story of talk radio. Back in 1988 the experts told Rush Limbaugh and his partners that the concept of talk radio would never work, certainly not on AM Radio, and obviously not during the middle of the busy broadcast day. The rest is history.
If only Halpin et al. were right and talk radio were really a mighty predator mauling the herds of liberal antelope peacefully grazing on the vast grasslands of the welfare state. The truth is that talk radio and the conservative blogosphere are sub-cultures. The real culture is the mainstream media, the schools, the universities, the arts community, Hollywood, and popular music, not to mention MySpace, FaceBook, and so on.
It tells us a lot about the narrowness and the meanness of our liberal friends that they cannot endure a thriving sub-culture in the midst of their overwhelming mainstream culture.
Fortunately for them they are lefties. Otherwise we would know what to call their attack on talk radio: Fascism. Paraphrasing the words of Benito Muccioliberale: "Everything for diversity; nothing outside diversity; nothing against diversity."
We conservatives should not get too worked up by the Fairness Doctrine flap. Fact: The genie of talk radio is out of the bottle. Fact: The conservative movement is joined up today in the internet in a way it never was before. Prediction: If the Democrats get into the White House in 2008 and pass restrictions on conservative speech it will unify and energize conservatives into a murderous rage. In America there's nothing like a bit of light-to-moderate oppression to get the juices flowing, and a liberal campaign to restore the Fairness Doctrine could be just what the doctor ordered.
In 2007 we conservatives are in retreat. For armies that is the most difficult kind of operation to bring off. If you can conduct a retreat successfully then you can keep the army together and live to fight another day. Morale is everything. So go ahead, liberals.
Unify us, why don't you.
In the hard days ahead we conservatives will thank liberals for keeping us together, and we know we will be back.
We know we will be back because we know that the liberals have learned nothing from their years out of power in Washington. Both in Congress and on the presidential campaign trail they are proposing vast increases in the antelope herd that will lead to serious overgrazing out on the liberal savannah.
In response to the mindless expansion of the welfare state David Cameron of Britain has flung down a great challenge for the next generation. "There is such a thing as society; it's just not the same as the state." Ask your liberal friends about this. You will find that in their minds the notion of "society" and "state" have virtually merged. When they say "society" should solve some problem, they always mean the "state" and they cannot imagine solving a "societal problem" in any other way.
Especially when society's problem is a structural imbalance of political views on talk radio.