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For fascism to work, there is a step-by-step process implemented to get people to buy into it. Step 1, lie. Melissa McEwan of Shakesville supports the Fairness Doctrine, and is doing what she can to get it reinstated (she wants Congress to do the job, even though politicians would rather keep their hands “clean” and have the FCC do it for them). To promote her assertion, she lies about what it is. Allow me to explain.
McEwan quotes an article she links to, and the last bit she quotes states this:
Republicans oppose the Fairness Doctrine, arguing it would be wrong for the federal government to monitor political speech on the airwaves, in order to require opposing views.
She follows up with a colorful metaphor in opposition. McEwan explains why she believes this is wrong, that it doesn’t curb free speech:
It does not. It censors nothing, but merely exhorts authentic balance, which, in the end, means more speech, not less.
Gee, it sounds fairly passive, right? Not exactly, as McEwan herself explains:
The FCC doesn’t constantly monitor every single thing on the airwaves now. They set up guidelines, broadcasters mostly adhere to it, and, when they don’t, viewers complain, prompting the FCC to investigate. There’s no reason to think that the primary enforcers of the Fairness Doctrine wouldn’t be the American viewing public, serving as watchdogs just as they are now on “decency”-related content.
Unlike the left, the American people serve as watchdogs already by reading, watching, and listening to what they want, putting pressure on the media to put out what they want to see and hear by supporting media advertisers (buying the advertisers’ products), or those media companies go out of business. But that isn’t good enough for the left, those who talk about speaking for the people. As with all leftists, it’s what they don’t say that matters; in this case, there will be watchdogs in the form of the ACLU, ACORN, La Raza, and any other group with an army of left-wing class-action shysters, many of which get money from the federal government (as they will with the Porkulus bill), claiming to be speaking for public. As seen with McEwan, it’s all talk; the left doesn’t like the people to actually have a choice (which is now narrowly defined by the left as having only to do with abortion). Now remember, this actually has nothing to do with the media in general, because the left already owns TV and the major newspapers, and there will be a claim that opposing views already are in place. What leftists want is to stop conservative talk radio.
Here’s what will happen if the fascistic “Fairness Doctrine” (or whatever name it comes under) is put back in. First, you have a station that has Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Mike Gallagher, Hugh Hewitt, Michael Medved, Dennis Prager, or a combination thereof, as its anchor show(s), and includes other local conservative talkers in their schedules. The station gets good ratings in the time slots these people are on. There may be a liberal or two in not-so-prime slots, put there by the station because the ratings for them aren’t what they are for the other shows; or, they may not have any at all. Then a group like ACORN, as a “watchdog” speaking for the public interest (actually, their own), complains to the FCC that there isn’t an “opposing view” on one of the time slots used for the signature shows. The FCC tells the radio station that it must put on a show that guarantees an opposition viewpoint is broadcast or risk some sort of punitive action, usually in the manner of a hefty fine. Or worse, revoking or not renewing a broadcast license, which would put the radio station out of business.
Now the owner of the radio station has to make a decision based on what the government says. They could sue on First Amendment grounds (because nowhere in the Constitution is there a right to fair speech, but free speech), but that would cost in time and resources, even if the attorneys hired do the work pro bono; plus, with the way the federal courts are now, there is a possibility the station owner would lose. The owner may cut back the number of hours these shows broadcast in order to accomodate filling in the remaining time with a talk show host from the left. Or the station may have to dump one or more of its conservative shows altogether to put in a liberal talk show. With these latter two options, the station risks losing its audience, its ratings, and its advertisers. Or, it may change the station’s format entirely to music or sports to avoid further trouble from the FCC and to stay in business as a radio station. As opined by leftist Melissa McEwan:
Dead air would be better than hour three of Groundhog Day coverage.
While McEwan had stated that the Fairness Doctrine would accomodate more speech, what it will do is guarantee less speech that is in opposition to her views. The FCC wouldn’t direcly monitor conservative talk radio, but they would do so indirectly, through a challenge by a very interested third party, and would manage to censor conservative thought. It will only be considered a violation of the First Amendment if some unelected black-robed judge says it is, and there are too many who wouldn’t see it that way, not even on the Supreme Court.
Liberal talk radio as an enterprise is a failure, but there are many successful left-wing talk radio shows (they wouldn’t be on somewhere if they weren’t). What McEwan doesn’t get is that what is good for the goose is good for the gander; conservatives could do the exaxt same thing the left will do to conservative talk radio. Again, shutting down leftist talkers will only be considered a violation of the First Amendment if some unelected black-robed judge or Justice says it is. Even though I would support such action by conservatives (because there are times when I’m a big jerk), I would see it as a form of retribution, not as a case of justice being served.
That brings us back to TV. It remains to be seen if this kind of censorship (and that is what it is) will extend not only to the regular TV networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC), but also to cable TV. And where will the line be drawn? Hollywood puts out enough TV shows on the networks and cable espousing liberal political values all the time, couched within a fictional premise. Would the government impose on stations that broadcast those shows, and force the networks to have programs that promote conservative themes? Let me say that I’m not holding my breath thinking that will happen, and a loophole will be in place to avoid forcing Hollywood to adhere to this policy. And what of cable news?
Leftists like Melissa McEwan are feeling their oats with a Democrat in the White House and Democrats in the majority of Congress. They hate, and that is the right word, opposing viewpoints and those of their fellow Americans that espouse them. As it is with those on the hard left, they will seek to have the government shut down those opposing viewpoints, something no real conservative would ever want to do. So McEwan is proposing to have Congress re-implement some form of the fascistic old Fairness Doctrine. Like a good fascist, she has to go through the process of getting this done. McEwan completed step 1; she lied.
UPDATE: I originally forgot to mention another effect of not adhering to an FCC ruling in regards to licensing. I have made the change above where appropriate.