Bill Clinton recently claimed that there needs to be “more balance” on the radio. To be specific, he has asserted that, in response to the “right wing talks shows”, the government should either revive the Fairness Doctrine or that there should be more programs that present the “other side” (presumably the liberal side).
While no stranger to big money himself, Clinton expressed the worry that ” there’s always been a lot of big money to support the right wing talk shows” and he noted that Rush Limbaugh is very popular. While I am not aware of a detailed argument from Clinton, his reasoning seems to be that steps need to be taken because there is an imbalance in the political content of radio shows. This imbalance, or so he seems to claim, arises from the support of those with significant amounts of money and the popularity of at least some of the radio personalities.
Clinton is not the only one to speak on the subject. Some Senate Democrats have made noises about holding hearings on the matter, but (as one might expect from Congress) have yet to do anything about it.
The Fairness Doctrine has been applied before and required broadcasters to air “both sides” of controversial subjects. Not surprisingly, it was ruled unconstitutional in 1987. While Democrats in Congress tried to bring it back, Reagan put a stop to it with his veto. However, with Obama in the White House, some Democrats probably see a chance to muzzle the right wing radio hosts.
My view of most right wing radio (and TV) programs is that they mainly serve to spew forth emotion based fallacies (scare tactics, appeals to anger, and so on). Naturally, I often disagree with many of the views presented on such shows. However, I am against the return of the Fairness Doctrine.
One minor reason is that I am always wary of things with names like “Fairness Doctrine.” Generally, such names seem to be applied to proposals to do the exact opposite of what the name entails (like the infamous Committees of Public Safety). Of course, this need not be the case and to argue from the name would be poor reasoning indeed.
One significant reason to not have such a doctrine made into law is that there seems to be no need for such a law. My view of laws is that they should only be created when there is legitimate need for such laws. For example, a significant wrong that requires regulation and legislation to fix would justify the creation of a law. This proposed (or rather, muttered about) law seems to aim at addressing no significant wrong. While it might be contended that the right wing dominates the radio talk shows, it is a fact that the Democrats now control Congress and the White House. As such, there hardly seems to be a compelling reason to reign in the right wing radio folks. Of course, if the left wants the right to split radio time, then perhaps the left would be willing to fork over some political power to balance things out and make them fair.
Another significant reason to not have such a doctrine is that the battle over ideas should not be, in general, fought by using laws (yes, there are obvious exceptions-like laws against censorship and laws against harmful speech). Rather, the battles of ideas should be waged with ideas. If the Democrats want to balance things out with the right wing radio folks, they need to get people on the radio to argue their positions. To call for a law to curb the presentation of ideas you do not like is not the way intellectual exchanges and debates should occur. For example, if my view on the nature of the mind were to start to predominate in philosophical circles, it would be absurd for the philosophers in the minority to demand that my presentations be restricted. Rather, they should sharpen up their arguments and get their ideas out there.
Naturally, if my predominance were due to illegitimate actions on my part (threatening journal editors, for example), then action should be taken. But, if my view is popular because people like it and want to hear it, then that is no grounds for accusing me of unfairness.
In the case of right-wing radio, it could be argued that they have an unfair advantage when it comes to money. However, if the Obama election campaign is any indication, the left has access to vast amounts of money as well. Hence, they should be able to buy radio time as well as the right wing folks. Further, even if they left has less money, that is (to be pragmatic) the way things are. If the left can complain that it is unfair that their competition has more money to spend and hence there needs to be fairness, then small companies can complain about the big companies in regards to advertising. Of course, it can be argued that controversial subjects are a different manner and, of course, it can be argued that such disparities in advertising power are unfair.
It could also be argued that right wing radio has an advantage in that people actually want to listen to folks like Rush Limbaugh. Left wing radio, it can be argued, needs to be supported and protected because it has been vastly less successful.
While there is something to be said about protecting the weak, it seems unreasonable to consider popularity an unfair advantage. There are, after all, popular left wing figures and they surely could be persuaded to get on the air. Also, if the left cannot compete on talk radio fairly, then they need to work on their game rather than insist on handicapping their competition. After all, if I can’t beat someone in a 5K, what I need to do is train harder and better rather than insist that he needs to drag weights when racing.
So, if the Democrats are really worried about the right wing radio folks, they need to get their own radio shows and work on their popularity. Muttering about the success of others and then trying to hobble them is not fairness-it is just lazy, malicious and petty.
Wow, you are totally missing the big picture here. ‘Right Wing’ radio is funded by advertisements and not the Republican party. ‘Left Wing’ radio has tried to compete in the arena of ideas and fails when it is tried Nationally. Air America is a perfect example. They compete on the same FAIR battlefield. This sounds like a bailout to reward failure again. I am now trying to figure out how funding the Left viewpoint with government money wouldn’t be considered propaganda. Goebbels is clapping in his grave.
“My view of most right wing radio (and TV) programs is that they mainly serve to spew forth emotion based fallacies (scare tactics, appeals to anger, and so on).”
I am not sure where you get this from since the major weapon of the Left in all of their viewpoints except one is scare tactics and emotion based pandering. The Elderly won’t get their medication, with lowered taxes there will be no police or firefighters, children will go hungry, polar bears will drown, criminals have feelings too, we can’t torture terrorists because they have rights too….etc. The only issue that drops through their emotional scare tactic loophole is abortion. 1.3 million babies a year doesn’t even make them blink.
If anything the Left has a serious problem with logic and depend too much on emotion. They want to help everyone but at the expense of the middle class. If they really cared they would spend their own money.
Al Gore is the king of scare tactics. He is getting rich scaring school kids into believing they’ll turn into sun dried beef jerky unless they get their parents to drive an electric car.
Fairness: Those who should win, win.
Equality: Making sure those who should win, don’t.
This should be called, THE EQUALITY DOCTRINE.
How is refering to aborition as killing babies not scare tactics? And is it logical to suggest that when Al Gore, with huge scientific backing, suggests that everyoneone will be turned into “sun dried beef jerky” he is wrong?! That is simply emotional denial of an internationally recognised truth.
“The Elderly won’t get their medication, with lowered taxes there will be no police or firefighters, children will go hungry, polar bears will drown, criminals have feelings too, we can’t torture terrorists because they have rights too….etc”
Was that really sarcasm?! Those are real problems which in the grand sceme of things should really have a greater credence than allowing the middle class to still feel smug and content in some amazing paradox of contrived morality and denial of truth.
The rest of the world is seeing the ‘man made global warming’ movement for what it really is-a huge scam. You think Al Gore really cares about the planet over money? Do you have any idea what his global footprint would be? It would make us look like environmental angels. His scientific backing is from scientists that have dipped into the 43 billion dollars given to the study of global warming just in the last eight years alone. I get no money for telling you he is full of crap. Scientists who back him are people like DR. Hanson from NASA who has admitted twice to ‘fudging’ numbers after he was caught. The end justifies the means for them. The huge scientific backing is getting smaller everyday. It has been getting colder for the last two years by the way.
As for abortion it is pretty obvious that it is killing babies, no scare tactic intended unless you are a baby. You’ve made it so you have nothing to be scared about.
This was not my point at all though. My point was on which side used scare tactics more often. The most recent example is Obama telling us how horrible the economy is and how every moment counts and this thing just has to get passed NOW! Then he waits four days to sign the thing so he can do a good P.R. dog and pony show in Colorado at some solar panel producer. You see all this global warming talk and our President just had to scorch the ozone layer with Air Force One when he could have just signed it in Washington. You know, the bill that just had to be passed immediately?
Ok check out this page which cites datat from a multi-national scientific organisation. http://www.ecobridge.org/content/g_evd.htm
thats nothing to do with Al Gore. And what money does he make from global warming? It’s a huge problem economically and socially, there is no incentive for him to screw the world over! Or just look at this one
It’s from the United Nations!
See kernunos–the Left isn’t scare-mongering–they really are afraid of the things you spoke of–except for dead babies of course. Unless you show them a photo of what an abortion looks like–then you’ve stepped over the line of good taste and into “hate speech.”
They seek to make everything perfect, and just like happened above, they set up the strawman. By you using the example of the elderly without meds, suddenly you MUST really think there are NO elderly without meds. By you NOT believing that Global Warming is the end of the Earth, you must hate the environment and want everyone to die in a firestorm.
Of course, this person doesn’t know anyone personally that is missing meds–but they’ve heard of people who are, from NPR–the only credible radio source for news.
Haha you are distorting my words hugely. I did not say
“By you using the example of the elderly without meds, suddenly you MUST really think there are NO elderly without meds. By you NOT believing that Global Warming is the end of the Earth, you must hate the environment and want everyone to die in a firestorm.” I simply said that you were not recognising these as problems as being valid and that it is clearly wrong to say that they are simply created as scare tactics.
Look at the IPCC its the intergovernmental panel on climate change – set up by the united nations. Theres no way Al Gore could influence such a huge amount of countries with their own scientists, tests and environmental problems that global warming is real simply for scare tactics!
And I think I should point ut that I’m not American, I’m English! I don’t listen to NPR or whatever that is. Your problem is that your approaching a global problem from an stereotypically, introspective, American perspective!
“….thats nothing to do with Al Gore. And what money does he make from global warming? It’s a huge problem economically and socially, there is no incentive for him to screw the world over!” Why are his electricity bills so high, why does he still hop around the world in a private jet? Where is his ‘green’ other than telling US how we should live our lives? Disgusting hypocrisy.
43 billion was given to the study of Global Warming in the last eight years by just the United States. Al Gore has a ‘green’ company that will take care of the distribution of Carbon Tax Credits. I’m sure there is no money involved there.
All the stats you cite are all junk when it comes to the overall picture. How much have humans changed the world temperature from what it would have been if we were not on the planet? What is the ideal temperature supposed to be? If you put 10 of these scientists in ten different rooms and asked them what the temperature would be in 10 years you would get 10 different answers. These same scientists said we were going into an ice-age in the 70’s. We have had various ice ages and warm periods throughout world history
If you want to ride this roller coaster ride then you go right ahead. When a movement like this forces the rest of the world to change their way of life and start shaking everyone down through taxes then I start to resist. That is the problem with Liberals. They try to force their way of life on everyone else. They have nothing but theories at this point and weak ones at that. I am not ready to bank the future on a few fudged stats and something they cannot prove to be fact at this point.
“Look at the IPCC its the intergovernmental panel on climate change – set up by the united nations. Theres no way Al Gore could influence such a huge amount of countries with their own scientists, tests and environmental problems that global warming is real simply for scare tactics!”
I have heard interviews from a few of these scientists that were on this list but did not want to be. They did not agree with the findings of the IPCC. Also the United Nations is mostly funded by the US. You don’t think they are dipping into the Global Warming cash? You don’t think that people are dishonest when Billions are involved?
Are you a joiner? You sure sound like one.
My comments were primarily aimed at ruairi.
Have you got any proof of him dipping in to the money?
You aren’t banking the future on an unproven theory! Even if global warming is non-existent then fossil fuel sources are going to run out within the next 50 years anyway! If we aren’t all killed in giant fireballs we still wont have any energy.
Even if Al Gore was dipping into those funds then it would still be a good idea to fund green energy – without it we’re all screwed!
Michael LaBossiere says
Renewable energy is rather important. After all, once the oil and coal are used up, we will need alternatives (at least until enough time passes to create new supplies).
True, even if Al Gore dipped into funds, that would not disprove his claims. Thinking otherwise would be to fall victim to an ad homimen. Of course, there are grounds to be suspicious of people who profit from the ideas they are putting forth.
The fact the oil may run out in the next few decades makes the whole fossil fuel/global warming frenzy even more idiotic. And what does renewable energy have to do with the global warming farce? I’ve gone back through decades of writings on the environment and I’ve noticed that this hysteria has been going on since the 60s, about one thing or another, and it usually stems from some over-educated under-lived college students toting around protest signs of one sort or another. It was just another way to fight “The System”, which is this case is industry. The same industry that made the poster board that the hippie carries.
No, Gore making money from his claims doesn’t make them untrue, but it’s a possible motive that made a lot of people look more closely at his claims. Here’s a transcript of a court case brought against Gore’s movie in Britain. Personally, I just think Gore has convinced himself he’s right in order to protect his own psyche.
The judges in Britain ruled that the movie is full of factual errors and is not a reliable scientific source. The people who brought the suit pointed out correctly, that scientists don’t know if rising CO2 is the cause or effect of reising temps. And even IF temps are rising (there’s debate on that, of course) the lead climatology scientist from AIT asks: So What?
Let’s all lie, then when our lie is shown to be false, we just tell people–“we were lying in your best interest, because you wouldn’t have done anything about the issues otherwise.”
How about giving us the truth and going from there. Put down your stupid poster-board, bumper-sticker slogan, go to damn work (after the reefer wears off–eat some Doritoes, that may help) stop telling us the world is going to end, because you (like the Hellfire and Brimstone preachers you hate and mock) have been telling us for half a century that horrible things are going to happen. And you’ve been wrong. Keep trying I guess. You’ll be right eventually.
It is more suspicious still if they do not live by their own rules. That was my point, oh and the Fairness Doctrine which Obama said he would not revisit. It will be named something else and packaged in a different way I am sure. Mark my words.