No Fairness Doctrine Won The Election
- On The Incredible Right Wing Media Advantage -
Wonder where the Tea-party came from? Mystified by the incredible vituperation and hatred against president Obama in the last election? Wonder why President Bush got a pass on his crimes and blunders over the eight years of his ruinous presidency? Look no further than the Fox propaganda and right-wing media juggernaut" courtesy of the lack of a Fairness Doctrine in media today.
With talk radio about 97 per cent conservatives and Fox News the only TV channel many people on a limited income get on their basic cable setup the media die is cast" into a slick corporate fascist edifice. Add to this right-wing media machine the 5500 Christian broadcasters from radio and television - who reach an estimated 141 million listeners - all preaching the same Fox news Republican party line. In addition, nearly all major newspapers and book publishers are owned and editorialized by the same corporate, for-profit-and-propaganda, forces.
In this media lock-down setup we are not allowed to hear commentary against the forced free trade scheme, compulsory globalization, all powerful private central banks, incredible media consolidation, etc., in short, the essential issues of our day. Without a Fairness Doctrine and spirit we have no way to unlock the corporate zeitgeist controlling our nation, economy, and lives. While the internet helps to galvanize contrary opinion, the reality is that it tends to simply keep people in the very mindsets born of the aforesaid corporate control of "our" society.
In effect, the media information circuit is overwhelmingly one way, one party, one propaganda line. Only on the east and west coast major cities can one hear any liberal or progressive talk radio to compete with the incredible amount of stations that offer Limbaugh, Hannity, et.al. Here in Southern California I can choose from Rush, Hannity, Glen Beck, Michael Medved, Larry Elder, Hugh Hewitt, Rodger Hedgecock, Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, and other conservatives. For the other side of the political spectrum, if you're lucky you may get a station that carries Thomn Hartmann and Randi Rhodes and that's about it for the liberal-progressive side. Clearly, we suffer under an amazing and frightening imbalance of opinion in media. Is this any way to run a democracy?
The imbalance of media political debate and information is surely unfair and unethical if not criminal and a violation of media license privilege. One has only to travel the country and tune in to local talk radio and TV to discover the awful, and what should be illegal, disparity a situation amounting to propaganda machine for one political party. In effect, most people in this country, and especially in the vast middle of the nation, are deprived of any real debate, any contrary opinion.
This damaged media estate is both an intellectual and political crime, as well as a malfeasance and reason to yank air right licenses ostensibly owned by, We, The People. At the very least it is a reason to reinstate a Fairness Doctrine and bring a full-spectrum opportunity to Americans charged with electing our representatives.
Yet fairness in media, meaning some license holding obligation to present viewers and listeners with real contrary opinion for the health of our democracy, is something the Fox news puppets vigorously fight, and they clearly intend to preserve their propaganda advantage. As a result of the lack of a Fairness Doctrine, however, the level of outright fabrication, lies, and misinformation spilling forth in the last election cycle reached a real nadir - a truly obscene level of discourse lacking any real balance.
"Fair and balanced"? Yeah, right. Hey, they own the media "weapons of mass distraction" and they are aimed and fired every day at the people by drone commentators loading in unison their Roger Ailes depleted-facts "talking points."
Adding to our misery in this already one party fascist media estate is the recent Supreme Court decision - Citizens v. United - in which the floodgates of corporate, anonymous, money have been opened and the gusher has begun. No unions or any group representing wage-earning people can ever compete with giant corporations armed with billions in profits enabling them to buy up all available air time, and effectively shut down contrary opinions and media access in the networks they own.
If a Fairness Doctrine were restored we would soon see a wider, and more relevant, variety of issues covered by TV and radio media and, hopefully, from a greater number of perspectives. As things stand we only see-hear issues a corporate media world is interested in allowing us to hear, and everything else is covered from a pro-corporate, big business, bankster-friendly, perspective. The public both needs and deserves exposure to a wider variety of opinions on major issues like trade, banking, consumer protection, unions, health care, global warming and energy, religion, environment, constitutional amendments, and a National Initiative process.
As things stand, however, one side gets their opinion to the vast majority while others are locked out by virtue of corporate media ownership and preference. The corporate few decide what the many need to know. They decide, we listen. In addition we have no Editor Freedom Act (see EditorFreedom.com) removing media owner's private power to hire and fire top editors in major media establishments who, in reality, are quasi-public employees with a duty to fairness and truth.
Given this media situation, both democracy and capitalism are damaged, distorted, and plagued by problems which greater information and media access might prevent. The spectacle of people voting against their own interests today, and confusing their interests with those of the richest one per cent of this country, has no other viable explanation than the lack of a Fairness Doctrine in media today.
As the Daily Kos put it: "All public broadcasters are licensed to use OUR airwaves. It used to be that in order to be licensed they were required to serve the public interest. One part of that public interest was to present a balanced view of different political viewpoints and to cover controversial issues of public importance.
This "Fairness Doctrine" requirement was intended to protect the public from the possibility of moneyed interests buying up all of the information sources, leaving the public hearing only their viewpoint.. There was also a personal attack rule, which required stations to notify people or groups who were attacked on their broadcasts and give them the opportunity to respond on the air. And, candidates were given the opportunity to respond to attacks or endorsements of opponents.
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