Friday, May 30, 2008

The Fairness Doctrine: Time to Reinstate It


April 2003: In the run up to the war...

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At the same time, MSNBC fired the only real war opponent it had, Phil Donahue, despite very healthy ratings (the highest of any show on MSNBC, including "Hardball"). When interviewed for Bill Moyers' truly superb 2007 documentary on press behavior in the run-up to the war, Donahue reported much the same thing as Yellin, Couric, and Banfield revealed:

BILL MOYERS: You had Scott Ritter, former weapons inspector. Who was saying that if we invade, it will be a historic blunder.

PHIL DONOHUE: You didn't have him alone. He had to be there with someone else who supported the war. In other words, you couldn't have Scott Ritter alone. You could have Richard Perle alone.

BILL MOYERS: You could have the conservative.

PHIL DONOHUE: You could have the supporters of the President alone. And they would say why this war is important. You couldn't have a dissenter alone. Our producers were instructed to feature two conservatives for every liberal.

BILL MOYERS: You're kidding.

PHIL DONOHUE: No this is absolutely true.

BILL MOYERS: Instructed from above?

PHIL DONOHUE: Yes. I was counted as two liberals.

A leaked memo from NBC executives at the time of his firing made clear that Donahue was fired for ideological reasons, not due to ratings:
The study went on to claim that Donahue presented a "difficult public face for NBC in a time of war . . . . He seems to delight in presenting guests who are anti-war, anti-Bush and skeptical of the administration's motives." The report went on to outline a possible nightmare scenario where the show becomes "a home for the liberal antiwar agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity."
NBC executives then proceeded to hire Dick Armey as an MSNBC commentator and give a show to Michael Savage. Michael Savage.

This is nothing less than compelling evidence that, in terms of our establishment press, our media is anything but "free." Corporate executives continuously suppressed critical reporting of the Government and the war and forced their paid reporters to mimic the administration line. The evidence proving that comes not from media critics or shrill left-wing bloggers but from those who work at these news outlets, including some of their best-known and highest-paid journalists who are attesting to such facts from first-hand knowledge despite its being in their interests not to speak out about such things.

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This is what I've been saying all along. The corporations that have bought up all of our media since Regan ditched the fairness doctrine and allowed multiple news organizations to be owned by one corp - are not interested in ratings, they're interested in catapulting their propaganda over the wall of truth.

If a person's paycheck is dependent upon pushing one point of view, they will either push that point of view, or they'll not be working in that job. It's that simple.


Glenzilla has the complete details here

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

phil donahue had one of the lowest rated shows of it's kind ever. savage had better ratings. sorry, but that's that. the fairness doctrine might actually help people like savage. it will give him a voice on liberal channels as well.

11:08 AM, May 31, 2008  
Anonymous The Libertarian Guy said...

Do you seriously think reinstating this monstrosity would actually be of benefit? Do you really think "mission creep" would not set in? We're talking about career big-government politicians here - they would not stop at one point and say "that's good enough".

This concept puts government in charge of ladling out political/social commentary. Would Ed Schultz or Thom Hartmann give exactly equal time to non-liberal callers or subjects? Would Limbaugh or Hannity give exactly equal time to liberal callers or issues?

This cannot be done, and should not be done. Giving this kind of regulatory power to the state is a dangerous idea. Period.

2:55 PM, May 31, 2008  
Blogger The Seeking Disciple said...

I can't imagine a more unfair doctrine than the fairness doctrine. The idea that the free press has to allow various viewpoints equal time to debate destroys capitalism. If someone has a different viewpoint than say Michael Savage then they need to start a radio program to challenge his views and not just demand equal time that must be paid for by the radio stations who don't want them on. Air America has done this. While they have not been successful to challenge Bill O'Reilly or Rush Limbaugh, they atleast see that that is the proper way to debate and not demand the government to have a fairness doctrine. This is not China or North Korea.

8:11 PM, May 31, 2008  
Blogger SB Gypsy said...

Anonymous - sorry, but you're wrong, or do you have a citation?

Libertarian guy - it is possible, since before Regan it was operable. I remember news before the republicans wreaked it, and the news used to serve us instead of the government propagandists. It was much better, smarter, more in depth, and had real debates rather than the shouting contests that pass for debate these days.

Seeking disciple - :lol: you slay me!

9:58 AM, June 03, 2008  

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