Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie. One word of truth outweighs the world.”     Alexander Solzhenitsyn

June 25, 2007

Diane Feinstein vs. The First Amendment

by Doug Mataconis

California Senator Diane Feinstein indicated yesterday that she might consider reviving the so-called fairness doctrine:

Feinstein, speaking on “Fox News Sunday” with Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., said talk radio in particular has presented a one-sided view of immigration reform legislation being considered by the Senate.

U.S. talk radio is dominated by conservative voices.

“This is a very complicated bill,” said Feinstein. “Most people don’t know what’s in this bill. Therefore, to just have one or two things dramatized and taken out of context, such as the word amnesty — we have a silent amnesty right now, but nobody goes into that. Nobody goes into the flaws of our broken system.”

In other words, the American people are too stupid to understand the “complicated” issue of immigration and are nothing more than mindlessly repeating what guys like Limbaugh, Hannity, and Savage are saying. Now, I don’t necessarily agree with the anti-immigration crowd, but it’s clear to me that they know exactly what’s in the Senate immigration bill, and that is why they are opposed to it.

Senator Feinstein, the reason your Senate bill is failing is not because of talk radio, it’s because a significant portion of the American public quite obviously does not support it.

Asked if she would revive the fairness doctrine, which used to require broadcasters to present competing sides of controversial issues, Feinstein said she was “looking at it.”

“I remember when there was a fairness doctrine,” she said, “and I think there was much more serious correct reporting to people.”

No, Senator Feinstein isn’t worried about “fairness” she’s worried about the fact that, thanks to talk radio, people are getting the chance to become involved in the poltiical process and, yes, to think for themselves.

H/T: Hit & Run

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9 Comments

  1. Some questions:
    “…it’s clear to me that they know exactly what’s in the Senate immigration bill…”

    How exactly is this clear to you? You know that they have read the whole thing?

    “…Senator Feinstein isn’t worried about “fairness”…”

    Can you back this up with anything?

    “…thanks to talk radio, people are getting the chance to become involved in the poltiical process…”

    What about listening to somebody else talk at you all day is getting involved? How is it different from TV?

    Comment by Sid — June 25, 2007 @ 11:45 am
  2. Sid,

    It’s not different than TV…and the Fairness Doctrine would apply to what’s on the TV as well. That’s the problem, it’s a bill designed to allow the state to determine what broadcasts are acceptable or not and to force networks to censor what they can show. When the Fairness Doctrine was around before, it tended to be only left-leaning views that could get airtime because that’s what the people in charge at the time determined to be fair and balanced. So conservatives had no voice (which I’d argue is part of the reason for much of the venom between ideologies now). Removing the Fairness Doctrine restrictions allowed conservative viewpoints to have a forum as well, which can only be a good thing for public discourse even if you don’t agree with what the other person is saying.

    Whether you agree with what’s on conservative or liberal talk shows or not, or whether you find it offensive or not is not the point…and you always have the option of changing the channel anyway. The point is that you should be able to determine for yourself which shows and what views you want to watch on television or listen to on radio. The government shouldn’t be allowed to choose for us, or (more accurately) people of any particular viewpoint shouldn’t be allowed to use the government to use laws to stifle other viewpoints they don’t agree with. That’s what living in a free society is supposed to be all about, and that’s something everyone should be able to get behind regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum.

    Something else to keep in mind…had the Bush administration and Republican Congress had the Fairness Doctrine at their disposal when they held Congress, wouldn’t you think it’s reasonable to presume that they would have used it to crush leftist views on the radio and television? The FCC’s latest stances on regulating HBO and pay-cable channels should give you a hint of how abusive that could have gotten. And it would have been just as wrong as what the leftists used to do. Government control of the content on the airwaves is usually a bad thing, regardless of which ideology happens to be in charge at the time.

    Comment by UCrawford — June 25, 2007 @ 2:42 pm
  3. Also, the Fairness Doctrine as I have heard it promoted would exempt news organizations where most lefties speak from nowadays.

    Comment by trumpetbob15 — June 25, 2007 @ 3:26 pm
  4. Yup…no uncensored news except that which comes from government-approved sources. Welcome to the New World Order, sheep.

    Comment by UCrawford — June 25, 2007 @ 3:40 pm
  5. Their real number one enemy of the criminals in the government is themselves and their actions of the past.

    Why would anyone even consider negotiating with anyone that never gets around to keeping their word on any of the immigration laws of the past?

    What would be the point?

    This is like the people that got caught by their own rules while playing games as children. Every time they would get caught in one of their old rules they would start in on a big speech for a new rule. They never would pay up on being caught on the old rule.

    No one plays with them long.

    Just what are we still doing dealing with these liars?

    Comment by Carson — June 25, 2007 @ 6:23 pm
  6. if this was a free market issue, why would Limbaugh get a 1/3$BIL contract? they couldn’t find someone cheaper with the same god-like wit and wisdom? no, he was a steal at that price but it wasn’t for telling the truth. he’s the top of the pack in a propaganda machine with unnacountable repetition that would make Goebles drool.

    and he was heavily subsidized for years.

    conservatives can thank the talk radio monopoly for enabling it’s extremists to take over the GOP and taking it into the sewer. Americans can thank talk radio for bush and selling this disastrous occupation of iraq. thanks a lot.

    the talk radio monopoly is like Paul Revere in reverse. while the fuedalists and royalists took over all three branches of government and started shredding the constitution limbaugh and his wanabes whined the arabs are coming. they gave us all the excuses and lies to make it happen and made sure those in the media who questioned bush were marginalized.

    the TR monopoly allows the GOP to completely control the debate. as a propaganda tool it is more effective than print and TV where, except for obviously partisan TV and print outlets, there is still some accountability.

    on talk radio there is no accountability. most conservative talk show hosts screen their calls carefully to exclude challenges. it allows levels of unaccountable repetition not possible in any other medium. much of it’s audience is also semi-captive. sure, you can always change the station or turn it off. but in many parts of the country there are no alternatives for those who are interested in current events or politics and want to get it while working or driving and before going home to relax and fight the family for the remote.

    more than 20% of Americans have said they get their news from talk radio. that is what makes the red states red. that is bush’s base. unfortunately many get their talking point soviet style.

    but talk radio is bigger than that because of the trickle-up effect it has on the rest of the media. by the time the evening TV talking heads discuss an issue the GOP flaks and politicians know they can be certain that the taking points they use will have already been repeatedly jammed into the ears of tens of millions of americans all over the country.

    with their total debate control, the excuses for bush, and the on-demand threats from the dittoheads, talk radio is why soldiers and innocent iraqis continue to die and we have criminals in the white house who make the clintons look saintly.

    Comment by trank — June 25, 2007 @ 11:38 pm
  7. thanks to talk radio, people are getting the chance to become involved in the poltiical process and, yes, to think for themselves.

    Never thought I’d see those words string together quite like that…

    Comment by js290 — June 26, 2007 @ 1:16 am
  8. Trank,

    Talk radio is no more a monopoly than the blatantly liberal bias on most mainstream news stations is a monopoly. The talk radio airwaves are often dominated by conservatives because there’s a market for those views and that’s where the most accessible forum is. There’s not much out there to prevent liberals, or populists, or socialists from having their own talk radio shows…except of course that there’s no market for it because liberals are already heavily represented on most of the major news channels.

    You want to remove barriers to entry for liberal radio show hosts? Great, then push to abolish the FCC and I’m all on board. They’re the ones limiting the channels that people can broadcast on and creating barriers to entry. But if your rationale for reinstating the Fairness Doctrine is simply to eliminate viewpoints that you disagree with from the discussion, then you’re actually supporting the monopoly on ideas you claim to be against.

    Comment by UCrawford — June 26, 2007 @ 9:48 am
  9. 7/26/07 We are very disappointed on your vote today to bring back the Bush Kennedy Amnesty. You have no concept on how strong the AMERICAN people feel about giving law breaking invaders the key to the COUNTRY. Which is exactly what all of you are doing. closing your mind when George Bush speaks.You know what they are doing is wrong for AMERICA IT’S GREAT FOR ALL THE iLLEGALS. CRACK DOWN ON BUSINESSES, TAKE AWAY ALL THE FREE BEES SECURE REALLY SECURE OUR BORDERS AND THEY WILL GO HOME. Talk radio has nothing to do with how the AMERICANS feel. We listen to the lies BUSH
    EXPECTS US TO BELEIVE. HE HAS SENATORS FOOLS BUT NOT TRUE AMERICANS HE IS JUST GOING THRU THE MOTIONS. IF SENATORS PAID ATTENTION TO 1986 BILLS ON iMMIGRATION our country would not be in this mess. WASHINGTON needs Senators that really care about what is happening to all levels of AMERICA.
    THEN we could talk all days about NAFTA that
    THE AMERICA PEOPLE AND CONGRESS HAD NO INPUT . ALL
    OF THIS GOING ON AND NOT MANY SPEAK UP FOR THE AMERICANS AND AMERICANS JOBS YOUR ALL LIKE PUPPETS ON A STRING A BIG CORPORATION PULLS YOUR
    STRING AND YOU DANCE TO THEIR TUNE. NOT TO THE TUNE OF THE AMERICANS THAT PUT YOU IN OFFICE.
    We are very disappointed in you. Shoot your best shot to Destroy AMERICA because you won’t be sitting there thru the next re elections. This year AMERICANS are watching who is delibertly selling out their COUNTRY. JERRY/lORIE PHILLIPS
    ALTA LOMA, CALIF

    Comment by Mr and Mrs Jerry Phillips — June 26, 2007 @ 10:23 pm

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