Saturday, April 23, 2011

Why the Fairness Doctrine Must be Restored

By Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

The FAIRNESS DOCTRINE was attacked and trashed --not surprisingly --during the Reagan administration. It was trashed, reviled and dismantled not because it failed or did not work but because it worked splendidly and did precisely what it was intended to do. It was targeted because it was another 'liberal', progressive, Democratic success that always makes the American right wing look bad, exposes them as the lying frauds that they are. The Fairness Doctrine was subverted because it daily laid bare the lies and claptrap which have --unfettered --all but destroyed the nation.

The right wing stooge which made this 'revolution' possible was Ronald Reagan whose assault on the rights of the American people made him a hero among the politically challenged and untruthful.

With the subversion, decline and rescinsion of the Fairness Doctrine, 'free speech' effectively ceased to exist in the U.S. Free speech does not exist when only one wing, one party, one elite cabal dictates what is said on the electronic mass media i.e, radio, television, cable. Free speech does not exist for those who cannot be heard because they have been deliberately silenced, shut up, deprived the right of access that had been guaranteed them. It was the GOP/right wing assault on the Fairness Doctrine effectively that shut you up though the Communications Act of 1934 had recognized --by law --that it is the people who OWN the air waves. Apres Reagan, a dwindling number of huge corporations themselves ever bigger, ever richer claimed ownership of YOUR 'airwaves'. In less PC times, we would call this theft.

When the right wing cooked up and supported the Reagan assault on 'Fairness, it had not yet anticipated the impact that an internet might have one day. Never fear --plans are afoot to 'corporatize' the internet, plans are afoot to make it yet another top down, one way propaganda and noise machine for big corporations and the increasingly fewer elites who make up the American robber baron aristocracy..


The Fairness Doctrine Worked

It ensured that real people could be heard. It ensured that opposing points of view, all things, in fact, might be considered. I KNOW that from the experience I gained over many years as a major market News Director in both radio/TV. Concentration of media in just five or six major corporations concurrent with repeal of the Fairness Doctrine has effectively shut you up, that is, unless you are a billionaire who may buy his own network.

The Fairness Doctrine, a center piece of the Communications Act of 1934, established as a matter of law that the 'airwaves' were owned by the people. The internet is not essentially 'airwaves' with frequencies allocated by a 'Federal Communications Commission'. At this juncture, the impact and the future of the internet is in doubt. As more people do an 'internet' end run around big broadcast media via the internet, the ruling elites will, of course, position themselves to strike.


The demise of the Fairness Doctrine is related in its effects to the rise of the most pernicious and evil doctrine to appear on the American political scene, that is, the screwy idea that 'corporations', mere legal abstractions, are people and thus have rights to include free speech. Nonsense! Propaganda! Right wing rationalizations intended to justify the great right wing wealth an power grabs.

Last Resorts

The demise of the Fairness Doctrine made broadcasting safe for lies, propaganda, right wing lies, spin and ordinary bullshit! That the 'Christian Coalition' still wages war on the 'Fairness Doctrine' is an infallible tip-off. Without the Fairness Doctrine, the right wing has dominated the media to the exclusion of dissenting views. Liars, crooks, and morons like Rush Limbaugh and 'Billo' Really? have abused 'Freedom of Speech' itself by 'yelling fire' in crowded theaters all over the nation. In fact, there are NO fires but those started and fanned by outrageous, inflammatory rhetoric, outrights lies, myths and distortions.

'Fair and balanced' is Orwellian 'newspeak' for 'lies' and 'propaganda' cooked-up and distributed by the very, very, very rich. They own this Orwellian media. They have reduced it to a mere mouthpiece for just 1 percent who own more than the rest of us combined. No one should be surprised that this 'unfair' and 'un-balanced' minority is, in its practice of politics, extremist, untruthful, psychopathic --committed to perpetuating a myth recently given dubious 'legitimacy' by a crooked court: corporate personhood!

Revolutions are fought when there are no alternatives, when people are denied the product of their own labors by virtue of tax policies favoring only the very very rich. Revolutions are waged when the vast majority are denied a voice, the right to protest this absurd and tyrannical outcome. A MEDIA so neutered is nothing more than the de facto propaganda arm of the mere ONE PERCENT of the U.S. population which official stats prove own more than the rest of us combined.


Ed Murrow's Speech to the RTNDA


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