Perhaps because there are only three ways to restore true fairness and balance to the publicly owned radio airwaves.
First, local communities could challenge stations' licenses through the FCC. Broadcasters get licensed only if they serve the public interest; the current system serves only the GOP and corporate interests. There is a movement going on to empower communities to do just that, but it's not likely to work on issues of talk radio, at least not yet. (Click here to help that along!)
Congress could rewrite the 1996 Telecommunications Act so persons corporate or real - can own only 40 stations nationwide, as they did in 1995, rather than 1200, as they can today. Any bets on that happening, especially if Republicans take control of Congress?
Or President Obama could take a cue from the Reagan administration and bring back elements of the Fairness Doctrine: Equal Time, no personal attacks, free airtime for political candidates, local community programming. Imagine what that would do for democracy. (Imagine the outcry from the Conservative Elite! That's what scaring Dems so.)
As Brad Friedman reported in Bradblog.com in the days immediately following Obama's inauguration, the following was posted in the technology section of the White House website:
"Encourage Diversity in Media Ownership: Encourage diversity in the ownership of broadcast media, promote the development of new media outlets for expression of diverse viewpoints, and clarify the public interest obligations of broadcasters who occupy the nation's spectrum."
But somehow, after Right Wing noise makers like Sean Hannity screamed to his 14 million listeners that liberals were trying to destroy free speech, that paragraph mysteriously disappeared.
Sources in Washington tell me that the Democratic leadership does not have the guts to stand up to talk radio, and they could be right. Donna Brazile has not responded to my question as to whether her comments in O signal that Democrats might wish to at least debate this issue.
Democrats, are you?
Sue Wilson is the Emmy winning director of the documentary on these topics, Broadcast Blues, and editor of the media criticism blog, http://www.SueWilsonReports.com.
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