Sunday, February 15, 2009

Totalitarianism in Leftist Fairness Talk

One thing I've been noticing more and more in monitoring debates on the Democratic-left is how for radicals fairness is the handmaiden of totalitarianism.

This morning's example is
Dave Neiwert at Crooks and Liars (via Memeorandum), who's attempting to defend the left's resestablishment of the "Fairness Doctrine." Check out the contradictions of the following passages:

Here in Seattle - the town Bill O'Reilly derides as a "far left haven" - one would think that a properly functioning free market would create offerings on local AM radio reflecting the political climate: generally liberal to middle of the road, with a few dedicated conservatives hanging in there.

But that's not what we get.

We have three all-conservative talk stations in town. The largest news station has a popular talk show featuring a right-winger and a fake centrist. The other big news-talk station, KIRO, is supposed to be a pan-ideological station; it features a popular centrist Democrat but also one of the most obnoxious right-wingers - and no genuine liberals, having dumped David Goldstein awhile back. And then we have a little Air America station that's reasonably popular but only runs nationally syndicated material and does nothing locally.

I have friends in the Bay Area who tell me it's not any better there. (I'm sure readers from there can fill us in down in the comments.) And in Washington, D.C., the owners are shutting down their progressive talk station in a population that's decidedly Democratic.

It's happening all over, and it's a problem, because these are the public airwaves, not just the private commodities that are radio stations - which is why we have a Federal Communications Commission in the first place. We need to talk seriously about reforming radio so that the public's well-being is served on its airwaves.

Now, we've had a little fun making fun of the right-wing paranoids for getting all worked up about this issue well in advance of it actually surfacing. But now it is in fact surfacing: Sen. Debbie Stabenow earlier this week said she'd be interested in taking a look at reviving the Fairness Doctrine ....

What Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have been telling their audiences is that any talk about the Fairness Doctrine is actually about trying to "silence" them. But of course, no one's interested in "silencing" anyone on the right: all we're talking about is creating a level playing field on the public airwaves so that a broad range of viewpoints can be heard instead of just one narrow bandwidth of ideology. This notion, naturally, is what they fear most, since their ideas don't compete well outside the vacuum they've created.

Neiwert goes on to indicate that he's opposed the Fairness Doctrine in the past, altough not on principle - which is noteworthy for the context here - but because it wouldn't work to overthrow the "structural defects" of the marketplace, which clearly include the fact that mainstream Americans don't buy what the left is selling over the airwaves. Indeed, looking over that passage above is just classic: All of these extremely left-wing cities can't keep on the air the brainless blather of socialist talking heads, obviously, "since their ideas don't compete well outside the vacuum they've created."

And I'm not being facetious. Seriously, you have to really take a look at what Neiwert's proposing:

The core problem is ownership: Radio station ownership in the past twenty years has been decidedly conservative. And anyone who's worked in media can tell you that ownership sets the tone and direction of what you do. After the Fairness Doctrine was removed, these wealthy right-wing owners effectively proved right one of the fears that drove the creation of the Fairness Doctrine in the first place: That the wealthy can and will dominate the political conversation on the public airwaves by simply buying up all the available space. Since the wealthy in this country are overwhelmingly conservative, the end result was not only predictable, it was in fact predicted ....

Rather than bring back the Fairness Doctrine, though, it might be better simply to reform the structure of how FCC licenses are distributed and make diversity of ownership a priority ...

We need to have robust, informed, and mature discussion about reforming radio and the use of the public airwaves. Unfortunately, because of the wingnuttery of the right, that's been all but impossible.

Perhaps we can start by framing this not as an attack on right-wing radio but on creating a level ideological playing field - not driving out the right, but ending the dominance of right-wing wealth.
One of the things that's actually rewarding about being in the minority is how the accession of Democrats to power has truly unleashed the statist-totalitarianism in the left's agenda that was disguised from view - or repudiated as "wingnuttery" smear - during the campaign.

The brutal truth is that the left cannot compete in the marketplace of ideas. The logical outcome of that competitive impotence is to simply remove the market mechanism itself. This is the essence of state-socialist ideological advocacy. An ideological truth - socialism - that is so frequently resisted by the
slow-witted cattle of the leftosphere, is in fact being repackaged, ironically, as "robust, informed, and mature discussion" toward state violence and control of freedom of speech and commerce.

Every day I'm more and more flabbergasted by the tenor of debate in the country, which is really to say that it's sometimes shocking to see how the left simply refuses to debate and defend it principles and programs. Following the passage of the Obama-Democratic-left's stimulus porkulus maximus (without debate or public airing), hardline leftists are now urging a repeal of the filibuster, since it's "not right that the minority party" should be able to slow the socialist-hegemonic tide.

I know. It sounds unbelievable. But the top voices of the nihilist leftosphere have been agitating for the repeal of congressional protections against tyranny of the majority, for example, Steve Benen, Kevin Drum, Hilzoy, and Matthew Yglesias.

People keep asking, "what is happening to our country?" Well, this stuff is, and the majority of sheeple who facilitated this monstrosity of Democratic power have no one to blame but themselves.


Law and Order Teacher said...

This whole campaign/election season has been one of those situations like a car wreck that you can see coming, but you can't stop watching. BO is off to the start we all thought was coming. Our hope must be that he doesn't completely dismantle capitalism.

In the marketplace of ideas, socialism has been a abject failure. History exists for learning and Americans are about to get a hard lesson. I hope the damage is minimal.

Norm said...

It is not "unbelievable", it is what was predicted by many and expected by others. What I find truly sad is that so many Americans are ready to trash the Constitution and our Republic. I suppose Thomas Jefferson knew what he was talking about.

Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...

Well, "All's fair in love and war" they say. The left is at war with the right. Allowing the left to define "fairness" is like allowing a Marxist Muslim to tell America what is "fair": subject to the interpretation of leftists who engage in ideological warfare.

When the left defines "fairness" - we no longer have free speech. And that's the plan. As we see, it is the right and has always been the right that has preserved individual liberty necessary to a free society. The left doesn't believe in our Constitution or the Bill of Rights.

Unknown said...

Late evening talk shows are overwhelmingly - comedic!

Lets get fairness by the work - include the left the right communist - democrat - republican gay - straight - indian and chiefs

Equal number of words for all bents on NPR.

Trish said...

What amazes me is the left doesn't get it. Supply and demand.
No one ON the left, wants to banter to one another, about the left's talking points. They want to see them all taken for granted by everyone, and don't have the capacity for discussion.
They prefer to call conservative talk shows and rant, and to comment on blogs like this one.
What fun would it be for them to hear themselves talk? Obviously none, as they cannot support a radio station the way conservative talk shows do.
It's funded by commercials, not by the Republican party as some would like people to believe.
And if it ain't selling, it's off the air. A radio station should not be made to carry a poorly rated, non profitable show, simply because of a so called fairness doctrine. That is socialism at it's best.
Not to mention, that those stations carrying conservative talk shows in far left cities, that thrive, do so because the otherwise slanted media is so unbalanced to the left, conservatives are screaming for their voice to be heard!