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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

From Senator Arlen Specter: What we've become?

What kills me is that so many people, time and again, keep asking why and how we've gotten to where we've gotten when it seems so obvious it's from having killed the "Fairness Doctrine" and because we don't get and keep money--big money--out of our government, most specifically with true, thorough federal campaign financing.

But it won't happen.


Sevesteen said...

Will we see all sides of *all* issues, or just 'fair' discussion of the minor differences between republican statists and democrat statists?

Would fairness require showing both sides of civil rights?

And how do you get people to listen? Limbaugh fans will switch stations when the 'fair' alternative comes on--Most of them don't want to think.

We need a free press, not one with vague rules that can be selectively enforced by bureaucrats. Unless you think Fairness doctrine will prevent republicans from taking power ever again, you need to consider how this would be enforced under a Bush or Palin administration. A law that would be bad if enforced by your enemies is a bad law.

Mo Rage said...

We should, in fact, see more sides of issues, if not all sides. The point would be to take the emotionalism, mostly, out of politics and political discussion. That'd be a great start.

"Both sides of civil rights"?

What on Earth are you talking about? I thought everyone agreed there was only one side--the "right" side. That is, that of the non-racists. The other side--the racists--I thought we all agreed was/is wrong. No?

We need a press free of corporate domination but I don't think we'll ever really have that though there are some good independent sites on the internet that help keep them in check.

This "Fairness Doctrine" would in no way keep any one political party from taking power again, no way. The point is to have and increase intelligent, calm, rational conversation(s) of current issues, period.

Sevesteen said...

How would we determine which things were like civil rights, and not subject to 'fairness'? Are affirmative action and quotas included in the 'only one right side'? Who decides what issues are covered under fairness, and which ones are obviously such that properly-thinking people will all agree?

When the government gets to decide what is fair, abuse is inevitable. Government should not have that power, even if you consider that the current government would be impartial.

And you ducked the question of whether you would be in favor of a Bush or Palin administration enforcing their version of fairness.

Mo Rage said...

Affirmative action and quotas are not Civil Rights. There's no reason they shouldn't be discussed, certainly. Heck, even Civil Rights can and should be discussed, as and when needed, especially to point out any overt racism or whatever needs to be brought out. Why not?

The government--meaning the people--inevitably have to decide what's "fair". It's called politics. It can't be avoided, especially when the group gets large, as any nation is bound to do.

I didn't duck any question. If you'll look back, it was a statement on your part.

I know I was patently wasn't that much against what the George H.W. Bush administration put forward. I know I was patently against virtually anything and everything the one-sided George W. Bush administration put out.

God forbid there is a Sarah Palin presidential administration but, if there were one one day (shudder), we'd have to see but I'd be very surprised indeed if I'd be for her brand of fairness, as surely you would expect and guess. That is, if she were to get said administration.

And if I were to stick around for it.

Sevesteen said...

You are right, it was a statement rather than a question.

But a law that depends on the goodwill of those enforcing it is a bad law. Someone will have to decide what is fair, and what isn't, what statements require balancing and which ones doesn't. It won't be 'the people' deciding, it will be some bureaucrat, trying to curry favor with the current administration.

Another question is what happens to non-mainstream views? I can see 'fairness' balancing traditional liberal and conservative views choking out libertarian views--Does a political minority like me get equal time? proportional time? Any mandated time? If media promotes our views, does a statist then get to rebut?

Traditional media is losing control of the message with the internet. That is a good thing--but they still have the power to influence fairness so it winds up slowing their decline, keeping their power a bit longer. We have seen this in FTC rules that adds disclosure rules for product reviews (in such a way that the supplier of a product is liable for huge fines if a blogger fails to disclose) and endorsements that apply only to non-traditional media.

Mo Rage said...

This "Fairness Doctrine", when it was in effect, worked. Of course, we were a different country but it still should work.

All that it requires is that not one side of an issue is represented, more than anything, that's all. That way, no one has to rule what's "fair". That would be going down a rabbit hole, in effect.

Political minorities are going to have to claw and scratch their way into the media--the mainstream media, anyway, while they can certainly be out here, on the newer outlets (meaning the internet, of course).

The trouble with political minorities--and the very new Tea Party is a great example--is that it's so amorphous and not solidified as to what their hardcore stances are that it gets difficult to get their message out. And then, who gets on and speaks for them, whoever and whatever the group? That's what makes that difficult. Say an outlet puts you on and you say you represent your group. Someone else comes along, also saying they represent that group--whatever that is--and they say that a) you're wrong and b) the group wasn't really represented, consequently. It gets tough.

It can work out but new groups always have a tough time of it, as we all know, partly for these reasons and then also because the "Big 2" don't want anyone else out there and so they choke them off, every way they can.

"He who screams the loudest", you know?

Sevesteen said...

In principle I don't disagree with the official purpose of the Fairness Doctrine.

But the intent is trivially subverted while remaining within the letter of the law, as is typical with big government regulations. It allows smaller organizations to be bullied, but lets the ones that can hire corporate lawyers do basically what they want with little change.

Mo Rage said...


The Fairness Doctrine is for more than one voice to be heard. That's all about the "little guy" or just the "other voice"--or voices--being heard. It's very clear and simple.

Sevesteen said...

I think this clearly illustrates a substantial difference in our political thinking, beyond the differences in ideology. Many liberals are excessively altruistic, and the intent of a law is more important than the actual effect--good intentions are often enough.

It is supposed to be about the little guy. If I wanted to promote guns while remaining technically 'fair', I'd try to get Joan Peterson as the counterpoint. She's a Brady Campaign board member, so her opposition credentials are impeccable, but she is also entirely unable to debate rationally. I would have met the letter of the law--but by careful selection of the opposing viewpoint, I would be bolstering my case instead of presenting a legitimate counterpoint.

Mo Rage said...

And that would be fine and it would be an improvement over not having the Fairness Doctrine.

And the only place they would do as you're suggesting is the Fox "News" Channel, where people are already having their own views validated anyway so it would be no big deal.

Clearly your issue isn't getting or putting out the news, as news rooms and true journalists try to do but, instead, to put out a point of view. That was never really a clear goal until Fox came along. Still, as I said, this would be an improvement over their current state.

Sevesteen said...

You're right, only Fox would want to use that particular example. Other media outlets would pick Fred Phelps to argue against gay marriage. I'd love for Phelps to be the primary media voice against gay rights, we'd have equality in weeks.

The point isn't the particular issue, it is that you can't escape bias through government intimidation.

Mo Rage said...

"government intimidation"?

A rule that says only one side of an issue is "government intimidation"?

We have decidedly different views of the world.

Sevesteen said...

Laws are government intimidation. Sometimes they are necessary--sometimes people need to be intimidated or coerced into doing the right thing, but it doesn't change what they are. These rules coerce broadcasters into what the government feels is necessary, skating at least on the edge of freedom of the press, if not over.

If a broadcaster says that Palin is an awful president, you want them forced by the government to give a counterpoint?

Mo Rage said...

Laws, for me, if they're reasonable, are not "government intimidation." They are rules for groups of people to follow so we can all function together, as a group.

In answer to your question about Sarah Palin---or heck, about Pres. Obama or anyone else--you darn right I think there should be at minimum one other opinion, at least. Heck yes. Why not? Especially if they're either running for office, let alone if they're being considered. Hell yes. Absolutely. Or on issues, too.