PBS, NPR, MSNBC AND THE FAIRNESS DOCTRINE

March 17, 2009

Here is a hot item: Would a person who used to be reliant upon a paycheck from a public radio station have to be a liberal Democrat to sustain his or her job?  I asked this question because that was the situation in which I found myself first, back in 1980 when I was working as an announcer for a Baltimore public radio facility.  That was the year of Ronald Reagan's victory over Jimmy Carter and the beginning of my journey as a Conservative.

While I was not a vocal advocate for Reagan's agenda, I did, on many occasions, made pithy statements to my fellow employees like "I'm an ABC type of guy: 'Anybody But Carter!'" Yet, under Carter, subsidies for public broadcasting increased more than 65% and was being threatened with Reagan's proposal to virtually cut those funds in half. Was I a fool? Cutting my nose off despite my face?  Looking back on it, I saw it as a challenge.  If public television and radio needed money and the government was cutting it back to the bone, then let this media sell commercials!  Cut the ties with the government and be free!  What a fool I was thought to be!

Funding for public broadcasting was indeed cut during the Reagan years and increased very little under the elder Bush.  But in many states, funding increased, including in Maryland.  Since that time, I worked for public radio in Norfolk, VA, having been hired when Bill Clinton was in his first term and had already increased spending for this outlet by 6 percent.  Virginia, under Governors Chuck Robb, Gerald Baliles, and Douglas Wilder (all Democrats), increased funding by nearly 100 percent from 1982 and 1994. Public broadcasting survived through the efforts of the state government even when it looked like the death toll was sounded through the Reagan cuts. Hurray! No commercials!

Since the inception of PBS and later NPR, these two entities have been totally in step with the liberal establishment and, through their various news magazines like the McNeil-Lehrer Hour (now the Lehrer Hour), All Things Considered and Morning Edition they have consistently promoted a liberal bias only surpassed by the likes of MSNBC and the strange Obama bedfellows Chris Matthews and Keith Obermann.  MSNBC, as Bernard Goldberg (formerly of CBS News) has said "loves Barack Obama."  "They are in bed with him, they have a slobbering love affair with him.  MSNBC served as the Obama Campaign Headquarters throughout the 2008 campaign."

Hardly anybody with an IQ of 25 or above will argue this point.  Ann Coulter would agree with this since she has all but pointed out that liberals, for whatever reason, can't get their IQ to 25.  This being the case, my question is this: If Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and gang in Congress manages down the road to restore or come up with a version of the Fairness Doctrine and if Barack Obama signs it into law, will PBS, NPR and MSNBC be forced to give "equal time and equal consideration for "the other side"? 

For those of my reader unfamiliar with the Fairness Doctrine, this was once a policy of the Federal Communications Commission which mandated that all coverage of controversial issues by a broadcast station be balanced and fair. The FCC took the view, in 1949, that station licensees were "public trustees," and as such had an obligation to afford reasonable opportunity for discussion of contrasting points of view on controversial issues of public importance. The Commission later held that stations were also obligated to actively seek out issues of importance to their community and air programming that addressed those issues. With the deregulation sweep of the Reagan Administration during the 1980s, the Commission dissolved the fairness doctrine.

With the ending of the Fairness Doctrine, AM radio stations started to come alive again with talk-radio formats.  Rush Limbaugh went syndicated in 1988, and ever since we have seen a proliferation of talk radio political pundits and commentators.  An interesting result of this has been the huge success of conservative talk show host and the sad loss of a large majority of liberals.  The demographics who that listeners of talk radio tend to be white, male, an even split between white and blue collar workers, holding traditional values and believe in limited government.

With a possible return of the Fairness Doctrine, the less than successful liberal talk show hosts like the comedian Al Frankin (the Senator-wannabe from the state that would elect a crocodile if any lived in that state) would be forced on broadcasters at the expense of listenership. This veiled attempt by liberal Democrats to get airtime on AM radio will not fly!  Liberals have no message of substance and the average American will not sit by their radio to listen to haranguers blast them for being racist, xenophobic, homophobic, chauvinistic, right-wing religious nuts.  They will turn their radios off - simple as that! 

I wonder why the liberal Democrats just can't be satisfied with having most of the visual media in their pocket.  The virtually own MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC and CNN, and they certainly DO OWN PBS and on the radio side, they own NPR.  Come on Dems!  Can't we racist, xenophobic, homophobic, chauvinistic, right-wing religious nut have AM radio with it's static sounds and thin band frequency and one news outlet like FOX?

Pelosi, Reid and many in the Obama Administration say "NO" because we don't seem to know what is good for the country.  To them, what is good for the country is to bring back the Fairness Doctrine to limit American's exposure to right-wing zealotry.  The operative hyphenated word here is "RIGHT-WING"  Notice, nothing is said of "LEFT-WING."

Bernie Goldberg is right when he says, we had the Fairness Doctrine when Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford and Reagan were president.  ABC, NBC and CBS had a hard time finding anything good to say about them, their policies or their private lives.  But they feel all over themselves with Kennedy, Johnson and Carter were in the White House.  Was that fair?  Absolutely not!  As I have said elsewhere on these pages, "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."  The return of the Fairness Doctrine, if history is any authority here, will only weaken the voice of conservatives and nothing will change on NPR, PBS, MSNBC, et. al.

Fairness? No!  It's not fairness, it fascism!  Oops! Now the liberal Democrats will accuse me of misusing a word they have reserved for us racist, xenophobic, homophobic, chauvinistic, right-wing, blah, blah, blah...

We believe that the Constitution of the United States speaks for itself. There is no need to rewrite, change or reinterpret it to suit the fancies of special interest groups or protected classes.