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.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:
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.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