Media Matters - O'Reilly: "[L]eft-wing press" and others "rejoic[ing]" over Haditha
To: Bill O'Reilly firstname.lastname@example.org
From: Richard Mathis email@example.com
Re: Media Matters and the FCC Doctrine of Fairness
Dear Mr. O'Reilly:
Glad to know that you're not sick after all but that you probably have simply been too busy to let me know when Media Matters can appear on your show to address your allegations against them. You surely sounded healthy last night when you announced that defending America was your subject because "[p]redictably, the left-wing press has run with the alleged massacre at Haditha . . . screaming about holding all of those involved accountable." Lord forbid something happen like the press holding people accountable, other than liberals that is.
Personally, I bet you some of those liberal types even think that unfair and imbalanced reporting is a major part of the reason that we are in the mess in Iraq. Gee, some of those far-out left-wing nut-cases might actually think that the press has miserably failed the American public. Those types of whackos could possibly even think that MSM - and Fox in particular - has not worked as watchdogs for democracy but as guard dogs for the neo-con agenda.
Just wait until they get hold of Helen Thomas' forthcoming book "Watchdogs of Democracy: The Waning Washington Press Corps And How It Has Failed The Public." See, part of my role in the great liberal conspiracy is that publishers send me free books to review. And let me tell you that Thomas' book makes some strong allegations about how the press has failed to serve the public.
But the thing that really is dangerous about Thomas' book is that she points out in the early 1970s, Richard Nixon and the Republicans threatened the MSM with antitrust lawsuits if the MSM didn't start including more conservative commentators and provide fairness in reporting. According to the Media Access Project, the FCC's fairness doctrine arose out of the principle that public media such as networks and newspapers have a special position of public trust, especially in that they are getting the benefits of "scarce public airwaves." For fifty years, the FCC required that if a radio or television station aired a political opinion one way or the other that fair time had to be given so that the public could hear the other side of the story. It's a principle of fairness that Congress and Americans readily supported as the right to fair and balanced information is absolutely essential to democracy and freedom.
Then in 1987, during the Reagan administration, the fairness doctrine basically was trashed thanks to an opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Said opinion ruled the fairness doctrine as optional and not mandatory. The public wasn't entitled to hear both sides of the story, at least not from the same network or paper. None other than Judges Bork and Scalia penned that opinion which the Reagan administration used to cut fairness from the federal agenda.
My guess, brother Bill, is that a lot of folks are going to start strongly suspecting that the MSM is even more in bed with the Republicans than they had ever realized. Some of the more radical types might even talk about the MSM-GOP monopoly on news in America. They might even start blaming that monopoly for the war in Iraq and all the other failures of the Bush administration. Goodness gracious, brother Bill, some of the legal-minded might even start thinking of antitrust lawsuits to break up the MSM-GOP monopoly. I can guarantee you that they are going to start clamoring for Congress to demand that the FCC bring back the fairness doctrine so that all sides of the story get told without any self-serving spin on the part of the media moguls.
Anyway, I'm still looking forward to hearing from you about when Media Matters can come on your show. And, oh, by the way, there are some other critics of yours that I'm thinking that also might like to come on your show. Let me drop them a line and see what they think. Ciao.
FOX News Channel