Friday, July 20, 2007

Every time I think I could not hold Dems in lower esteem, they surprise me


1. not fit to assume responsibility

Buried inside an interesting post about how Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is giving Harry Reid and friends fits in the Senate, I found this nugget:

Senator Coleman tried to require as an amendment to this bill that the FCC not be allowed to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine, and was defeated 49-48. All Republicans present voted yes, all Democrats present, including Hillary Clinton but excluding Indiana’s Evan Bayh, voted no.
Wow. Just ... Wow. The Dem-led Congress has a historically low approval rating of 14%. How did it get that high?

The Fairness Doctrine was instituted in 1949, when there were three TV networks, and fewer radio stations:
This doctrine grew out of concern that because of the large number of applications for radio station being submitted and the limited number of frequencies available, broadcasters should make sure they did not use their stations simply as advocates with a singular perspective. Rather, they must allow all points of view. That requirement was to be enforced by FCC mandate.
By the 1980s, many things had changed. The "scarcity" argument which dictated the "public trustee" philosophy of the Commission, was disappearing with the abundant number of channels available on cable TV. Without scarcity, or with many other voices in the marketplace of ideas, there were perhaps fewer compelling reasons to keep the fairness doctrine.
By 1985, the FCC issued its Fairness Report, asserting that the doctrine was no longer having its intended effect, might actually have a "chilling effect" and might be in violation of the First Amendment. In a 1987 case, Meredith Corp. v. FCC, the courts declared that the doctrine was not mandated by Congress and the FCC did not have to continue to enforce it. The FCC dissolved the doctrine in August of that year.
And that dissolution made Rush Limbaugh possible. And Rush became like the trunk of a mighty tree, with branches of conservative talkers stretching out all over the place. The liberal talk tree is more frail, and not as mighty. Which is apparently why every Democratic Senator voted to keep the option of reviving the Fairness Doctrine alive.


I've heard talk that Democrats want to revive the Fairness Doctrine. I discounted that talk, even as I've heard Democrat Congresspersons wax on about how the airwaves are "public property." I still say there is little chance the Fairness Doctrine would be revived. I'm not very concerned that it might actually happen.

What I am, is STUNNED at the Democratic Party. STUNNED. I am STUNNED that every single Democrat Senator who voted - 49 of them - voted to keep the possibility of a Fairness Doctrine alive. As low esteem as I hold Dems in, I am nevertheless newly STUNNED at their fecklessness, their shallowness, and their gall.

Veteran talk show host Hugh Hewitt is not as dismissive as I am about the chances of Fairness Doctrine revival:

Make no mistake about it, if the Democrats gain the White House next November, and Republicans get so lost in which Senator voted what way on this or that, causing the Democrats to pick up additional seats, the Fairness Doctrine might very well be in play, and could take years before the Court could rule it unconstitutional. Goodbye talk radio.
Relevant: 300 v 2

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