Thursday, November 20, 2008

Obama & The [Un]Fairness Doctrine


We know that Hillary, John Kerry and Richard Durbin (along with countless other Dems) are in favor of reinstating the "Fairness Doctrine."

"It’s time to re institute the Fairness Doctrine." -Richard Durbin
"Well, I think the Fairness Doctrine ought to be there..." -John Kerry (source)

("Whenever the title of legislation contains such high-sounding terms as fairness or reform, there’s a good chance that is just a fraudulent label to disguise unfairness as fairness or failure to reform as reform." source)

But what do we know about Obama's position on this undemocratic legislation?

Some claim he doesn't support this imposed 'balance':
"The Illinois senator’s top aide said the issue continues to be used as a distraction from more pressing media business.

"Sen. Obama does not support reimposing the Fairness Doctrine on broadcasters," press secretary Michael Ortiz said in an e-mail to B&C late Wednesday.

"He considers this debate to be a distraction from the conversation we should be having about opening up the airwaves and modern communications to as many diverse viewpoints as possible," Ortiz added. "That is why Sen. Obama supports media-ownership caps, network neutrality, public broadcasting, as well as increasing minority ownership of broadcasting and print outlets."

The Fairness Doctrine issue flared up in recent days after reports that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was talking about a Democratic push to reinstate it, although it was unclear at press time whether that was a new pledge or the restating of a long-held position." (source)

But many on the Right are adamant about his support for the measure. I decided to check with his devoted faithful over at the DU to see what they thought... (btw, the Democratic Underground is always seeping with a plethora of amusing fodder if you're bored)

...And it turns out they seem to think he's all for it. They point to this from the 'Technology' link on his website:

"Ensure the Full and Free Exchange of Information through an Open Internet and Diverse Media Outlets" (Obama-Biden08)

Now, the Left may have their beady little eyes set on Rush, Sean, Laura and the many rightwing broadcasters that actually make their companies large profits...BUT O!'s statement of intent clearly says "Open Internet". This means all Leftwing websites are fair game.

A few days back I called "Firsties" on the redistribution of Oprah's wealth --and now I'm declaring myself co-blogger on the Daily Kos should the Fairness Doctrine be revived. I've heard it said that though the Right has the corner on radio, that the Left dominates online... So... That's right Markos, old buddy old pal...meet your new partner! And equal time means equal pay right --so I'll be happy to help myself to half of your blogad revenue!

HERE is a REALLY GREAT article about the fairness Doctrine and Card Check by Philadelphian Herb Denenberg:
"...[P]oliticians and others used the Fairness Doctrine to harass and intimidate broadcasters from covering certain issues. For example, Bill Ruder, Democratic campaign consultant and Assistant Secretary of Commerce in the Kennedy Administration, admitted that the Kennedy Administration used the doctrine to silence criticism: “Our massive strategy was to use the Fairness Doctrine to challenge and harass right-wing broadcasters and hope the challenges would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive.” The Nixon Administration extended the doctrine to new heights and one published report concluded “private activists directed by the Republican National Committee regularly filed Fairness Doctrine challenges against stations whose reporting angered the White House.” So it’s nice to see bipartisan abuse..." (Read the whole article)

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