"Legislative Fix" needed to stifle market-driven free speech?
From ABC’s Jake Tapper:
Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okl, claims he overheard Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, and Barbara Boxer, D-Calf, chatting about how out of control talk radio had become.
“They said we’ve got to do something about this,” Inhofe told a talk radio host. “That ‘these are nothing but far right wing extremists, we’ve got to have a balance, there’s got to be a legislative fix to this.'”
I’m still waiting for comment from Clinton’s and Boxer’s officesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.but this comes on the heels of a new study by a liberal group that claims that in Spring 2007 “of the 257 news/talk stations owned by the top five commercial station owners, 91 percent of the total weekday talk radio programming was conservative”
— which, to “liberals,” can only mean one thing: the rightwing noise machine has managed to brainwash the unsophisticated proles, and only by acts of compassionate legislation and forced re-education can the effects of such trailer park indoctrination — maliciously disguised as “freely chosen” or “market driven” — be remedied.
Sometimes you have to destroy a village to save it. And to do that, it, uh, takes a village — albeit one that isn’t so revoltingly packed with Ford pickups and a Wal-Mart.
But — lest we think this kind of thing is decidedly partisan — Tapper provides us with the necessary object lesson in political consensus:
Even Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., has complained about talk radio as of late, saying last week “Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem” [...]
Ah yes, Trent Lott – whose respect for “the people” always seems to stop wherever it rubs uncomfortably against his own conspicuous self-interests. Like, for instance, being lambasted by conservatives as a gladhanding phony with a penchant for goat fences and a head of hair that looks like it was fashioned from blown out Semi tires salvaged from the shoulders of some Mississippi highway.
At any rate, Boxer’s and Clinton’s offices are denying the conversation ever took place — making it, by their reckoning, just another moment in the Vast Rightwing Conspiracy that has hounded Ms Clinton ever since she dared speak Truth to Power (or Stand By Her Man, I can never remember which it is that supposedly launched the coordinated attack on her blameless idealism…):
“Senator Boxer told me that either her friend Senator Inhofe needs new glasses or he needs to have his hearing checked, because that conversation never happened,” says Natalie Ravitz, the communications director for Boxer.
“Jim Inhofe is wrong,” says Philippe Reines, Clinton’s press secretary. “This supposed conversation never happened — not in his presence or anywhere else.”
Just more rightwing flame-fanning, I guess — on par with the whole ridiculous Republican scare campaign suggesting that Democrats wish to bring back the pernicious Fairness Doctrine, with McCain-Feingold setting up a precedent to do so, according to Campaign law counsel to the House and Senate Democrats, Bob Bauer:
It seems reasonable, however, to take note of the mounting revolt against the assumption that some types of corporationsÃ¢â‚¬â€”media corporations”Ã¢â‚¬â€have the latitude to crusade in favor of specific candidates and causes when the same opportunity, sought by other corporations or by associations or individuals, is highly restricted and State-supervisedÃ¢â‚¬Â¦. these laws are related: they represent choices made by the StateÃ¢â‚¬â€”constitutive choices,” as Paul Starr has referred to themÃ¢â‚¬â€which are fundamentally political nature [...]
As others have noted, it is unlikely the Fairness Doctrine will be officially resurrected — which may not the goal of Democrats anyway.
Instead, they hope that the specter of demonizing “right wing” and TV in the run-up to the 2008 elections will intimidate broadcasters into self-“leveling” the playing field — against the wishes of the marketplace.
Illiberalism disguised as enforced tolerance. Welcome to today’s “progressive” movement.