Play "fair" with the liberals

Paul J. Shlichta
Selwyn Duke recently exposed the duplicitous little game of "fairness" that Liberal Democrats in Congress are trying to impose on talk radio. I agree with his analysis and, to some degree, with his proposed countermeasures but I would like to suggest an additional strategy that might help to resolve the matter.

One of the ways that liberals pretend to be fair is by using the "straw man" method-picking the stupidest or most bigoted member of ones opposition and holding him up as a "typical" opponent. In an earlier article,  I described how the media
"...point to the extremists among their opponents and claim that they're the norm.  This is nonsense and they know it.  Any decent cause will inevitably attract a fanatical fringe but their unwanted presence does not invalidate the cause.  John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry did not justify slavery, but some Southerners of the era tried to claim it did....Imagine a group of a hundred protesters, ninety-nine in ordinary dress and one naked or carrying an obscene sign; which one will you see on the ten o'clock news?"
The same strategy can be used in arranging debates on an issue. A few years ago, our local PBS station, in a sudden surge of fairness, proclaimed that it was going to give both sides of the abortion issue an hour each to make their respective cases. The pro-abortion program was a slickly crafted professional film that focused on the plight of poor women with unwanted pregnancies. For the anti-abortion side, PBS bypassed the major organizations, such as the National Right to Life League, and aired an amateurish and  naively pietistic film by an obscure evangelical group. Fair? Evidently the station management thought so.

Let us use the same strategy on our conservative talk radio stations. Let us, in a spirit of open-mindedness and fair play, donate time for the liberal nutcases in our communities to air their views.  The loony ladies of liberalism, such as the Dixie Chicks and Cindy Sheehan, have their obscure counterparts in any town; let's give them a hearing. And by all means, let us hear from the conspiracy theorists who claim that 9-11 was really engineered by Bush and the entire Defense Department to give us an excuse to go to war.

And to be even more fair, let our talk show hosts follow the golden rule of moderators: "don't talk, just prime the pump and then listen". Let them bear in mind the hydrostatic paradox of controversy:
"...controversy equalizes fools and wise men...and the fools know it!"
and avoid any argument with their guests. Let them give their guests a chance to talk themselves out. Their liberal brethren seldom give them such an opportunity and they will gratefully use it. The lunatic extremists of any cause are generally convinced of their profundity and are as oblivious as Florence Foster Jenkins to how they really sound to others.

Thus, in one stroke, we can prove how fair we conservatives are, let our liberal opponents show how silly they can be, and provide a source of innocent merriment for all.

I look forward to hearing Cindy Sheehan unpack her heart with words to a silently entranced Rush Limbaugh.

Thomas Lifson adds:

Rush already gives liberal callers priority, and many other talk show hosts like nothing better than handing liberal callers enough rope to hang themselves. Michael Medved even has a Friday feature, The Caller of the Week, which almost always is a nasty leftist denouncing him, President Bush, or some other conservative. So the strategy suggested is already in place. Any conservative talks show host would love for Cindy Sheehan to call in.

The problem with the so-called fairness doctrine is that callers would not count. The way the doctrine worked before was that a conservative host would have to be "balanced" by a liberal host. Of course, that could mean someone ineffectual or incoherent, such as a number of the former Air America hosts. But the problem is that nobody wants to listen to them, and radio stations sell advertising based on the number of listeners. By forcing stations to drive away listeners as the price of having a talk format, the fairmess doctrine would make the format unattractive. Expect more easy listening music instread of politics, if this abomination ever returns.
Selwyn Duke recently exposed the duplicitous little game of "fairness" that Liberal Democrats in Congress are trying to impose on talk radio. I agree with his analysis and, to some degree, with his proposed countermeasures but I would like to suggest an additional strategy that might help to resolve the matter.

One of the ways that liberals pretend to be fair is by using the "straw man" method-picking the stupidest or most bigoted member of ones opposition and holding him up as a "typical" opponent. In an earlier article,  I described how the media
"...point to the extremists among their opponents and claim that they're the norm.  This is nonsense and they know it.  Any decent cause will inevitably attract a fanatical fringe but their unwanted presence does not invalidate the cause.  John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry did not justify slavery, but some Southerners of the era tried to claim it did....Imagine a group of a hundred protesters, ninety-nine in ordinary dress and one naked or carrying an obscene sign; which one will you see on the ten o'clock news?"
The same strategy can be used in arranging debates on an issue. A few years ago, our local PBS station, in a sudden surge of fairness, proclaimed that it was going to give both sides of the abortion issue an hour each to make their respective cases. The pro-abortion program was a slickly crafted professional film that focused on the plight of poor women with unwanted pregnancies. For the anti-abortion side, PBS bypassed the major organizations, such as the National Right to Life League, and aired an amateurish and  naively pietistic film by an obscure evangelical group. Fair? Evidently the station management thought so.

Let us use the same strategy on our conservative talk radio stations. Let us, in a spirit of open-mindedness and fair play, donate time for the liberal nutcases in our communities to air their views.  The loony ladies of liberalism, such as the Dixie Chicks and Cindy Sheehan, have their obscure counterparts in any town; let's give them a hearing. And by all means, let us hear from the conspiracy theorists who claim that 9-11 was really engineered by Bush and the entire Defense Department to give us an excuse to go to war.

And to be even more fair, let our talk show hosts follow the golden rule of moderators: "don't talk, just prime the pump and then listen". Let them bear in mind the hydrostatic paradox of controversy:
"...controversy equalizes fools and wise men...and the fools know it!"
and avoid any argument with their guests. Let them give their guests a chance to talk themselves out. Their liberal brethren seldom give them such an opportunity and they will gratefully use it. The lunatic extremists of any cause are generally convinced of their profundity and are as oblivious as Florence Foster Jenkins to how they really sound to others.

Thus, in one stroke, we can prove how fair we conservatives are, let our liberal opponents show how silly they can be, and provide a source of innocent merriment for all.

I look forward to hearing Cindy Sheehan unpack her heart with words to a silently entranced Rush Limbaugh.

Thomas Lifson adds:

Rush already gives liberal callers priority, and many other talk show hosts like nothing better than handing liberal callers enough rope to hang themselves. Michael Medved even has a Friday feature, The Caller of the Week, which almost always is a nasty leftist denouncing him, President Bush, or some other conservative. So the strategy suggested is already in place. Any conservative talks show host would love for Cindy Sheehan to call in.

The problem with the so-called fairness doctrine is that callers would not count. The way the doctrine worked before was that a conservative host would have to be "balanced" by a liberal host. Of course, that could mean someone ineffectual or incoherent, such as a number of the former Air America hosts. But the problem is that nobody wants to listen to them, and radio stations sell advertising based on the number of listeners. By forcing stations to drive away listeners as the price of having a talk format, the fairmess doctrine would make the format unattractive. Expect more easy listening music instread of politics, if this abomination ever returns.