Very interesting test ballons out the last few weeks looking to justify a Cable TV fairness doctrine, with a very very false premise.
We have had Jon Stewart's rally for lefties where he purports to decry the excesses of MSNBC just as much as those of FoxNews.
We had Keith O's highly publicized suspension for donating to Democrats, which was of course followed by news of Rupert Murdock's significant support of Republicans, with the gyst of the story not really being that Olberman did anything wrong, but that NBC obviously has higher standards than Fox.
Then we had this from Ted Koppell.
,"The commercial success of both MSNBC and Fox News is a source of nonpartisan sadness for me. While I can appreciate the financial logic of drowning television viewers in a flood of opinions designed to confirm their own biases, the trend is not good for the republic. It is, though, the natural outcome of a growing sense of national entitlement. Daniel Patrick Moynihan's oft-quoted observation that 'everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts,' seems almost quaint in an environment that flaunts opinions as though they were facts. And so, among the many benefits we have come to believe the founding fathers intended for us, the latest is news we can choose. Beginning, perhaps, from the reasonable perspective that absolute objectivity is unattainable, Fox News and MSNBC no longer even attempt it. They show us the world not as it is but as partisans (and loyal viewers) at either end of the political spectrum would like it to be. This is to journalism what Bernie Madoff was to investment: He told his customers what they wanted to hear, and by the time they learned the truth, their money was gone."
Then this from Senator Jay Rockefeller:
"There's a little bug inside of me which wants to get the FCC to say to FOX and to MSNBC: 'Out. Off. End. Goodbye.' It would be a big favor to political discourse; our ability to do our work here in Congress, and to the American people, to be able to talk with each other and have some faith in their government and more importantly, in their fu, in their future."
The strategy is admirable. Liberals have realized that only attacking FoxNews while ignoring MSNBC only works on the most brain dead of liberals and loses the respect of the majority of independents. Meanwhile MSNBC has been so over the top that they are the most common victim of attacks on the liberal press. Seeming to attack both ends of the spectrum seems much more "fair and balanced" and the faulty premise is given some cover by the short memory of the American public.
The faulty premise of course is that there was every any post 1960 "good old days" of wholly objective network news. The network news has had a decidedly liberal bent for all of my days and I am 39 years old. Getting rid of Fox and MSNBC would merely return us to the status quo of all liberal news all the time. The second piece of the faulty premise is that somehow, open and obvious politically biased opinion news is abhorrent whereas the old style of hidden, manipulative, politically biased pseudo "hard" news, or lack thereof, was somehow quaint and respectable. As if covertly misreporting to progress the liberal adgenda is more honest than overtly misreporting the news to progress the liberal adgenda.
As for me, I will take an honest (not that he's totally honest, but you know what I mean) lefty like Keith Olberman over a slimy Dan Rather, Ted Koppel, or John Stewart any day of the week (although Stewart is probably better for pure comedic value).
I don't know whether MSNBC is willing playing the patsy or not, but either way, lets not allow the public to believe for one minute that the likes of Stewart, Kopell, or Rockefeller are genuinly concerned about their being too much liberal opinion commentary on cable news.
So we need to hit back hard with the bias of the "mainstream" media, and of course the obvious free speech arguments and not let this balloon get off the ground any more than it already has. The problem is getting our elected officials to risk bad coverage by publically repudiating the idea that CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC actually represent straight news organizations.