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March 25, 2005

Comments

I have been following this and have always said to myself how, how are they going to get all these little minnows in a sea of sharks?
Government um regulators (admittedly and endangered species but for Powell) can't keep up with any real invasive offenders in the body politic right now! How are they going to keep up with the wee ones. Oy.

Of course Bush does get things when he's motivated When he's not busy relaxing like a millionaire should, clearing brush.

The fakery of these fools in charge is laughable, if it weren't so damn scary One way to fight these fools is to show them for what they are. Savage them with laughter. Nothing so points out a fool as the uncontrollable giggle. Oy.

My head hurts. Think I will head over to The End Daze Bar and Grill for a cocktail. Maybe I will see you there.

The libel law issue is a live one. See this on the UK attempting to exercise libel law on the basis that a publication in the US, distributed in California, with an online presence was read in the UK.

Interesting times. For the ordinary blogger, enforcing a default decision by a London court would be an interesting challenge. Any international law experts around?

For Ah-nold, there's the royalties from DVDs of his various movies.

Of course, this could escalate - what if the Chinese Government decides to enforce anti-sedition laws against US bloggers? In a collision of the First Amendment versus an extradition treaty, who wins?

In a collision of the First Amendment versus an extradition treaty, who wins?

I don't have any link to this but the US' position on a similar matter -- the proposed Article 23 in Hong Kong a couple years ago, the one which triggered the 500,000-strong protest rally in 2003 -- was that the First Amendment took local precedence.

[What made Article 23 particularly pernicious was that you could be arrested for sedition committed in other countries; that is, it was illegal for a native Hong Konger to go to the US and mouth off against the government of China, even though the prosecution could only happen upon that person's return to HK.]

In terms of realpolitik, I don't see there being any way in hell that the US would give someone over to China on anti-sedition grounds, especially in today's political climate. It's conceivable -- barely -- that in the future such people might get branded with some other designation (e.g. "potential terrorist" or whatever moniker Son-Of-Patriot-Act decides to employ) and deported, but it's such a staggeringly long shot that I wouldn't bother worrying about it.

anarch's note reminds me of an earlier conflict between US first amendment and foreign country laws. I can't remember the details, but I thought that the author would have been prosecuted if he had returned to the UK for revealing state secrets and a Brit friend asserted that UK citizens could be prosecuted for reading the book overseas. Here's a quick link

The Fairness Doctrine was bad for the Constitution and bad for America. Good riddance.

Yeah, America was really on the ropes when there was a Fairness Doctrine. What we have today is *so* much better.

Yeah, America was really on the ropes when there was a Fairness Doctrine.

It's irrelevant whether America was "on the ropes" or not with the Fairness Doctrine. Government has no business regulating speech, especially political speech, and it has no business meddling with nonsense such as the "correct" proportions of conservative and liberal content on radio and TV.

I think you're confusing the Fairness Doctrine with the Equal Time Proviso. It was the Equal Time Proviso that required a station airing one party's speeches or ads had to give an equal amount of time to all other parties. This one sank of its own improbably weight: which parties should qualify? Only mainstream parties, not fringe? Define 'mainstream' and 'fringe.' And so on.

The original idea behind the Fairness Doctrine, on the other hand, was that the airwaves are a public resource, and that the public interest wasn't served by only airing one side of "controversial" issues - whether they were political in the partisan/party sense, or what amounted to personal attacks on individuals. The broadcaster had to offer the other side an equal chance to respond. To quote museumtv.archives:

"The FCC fairness policy was given great credence by the 1969 U.S. Supreme Court case of Red Lion Broadcasting Co., Inc. v. FCC. In that case, a station in Pennsylvania, licensed by Red Lion Co., had aired a "Christian Crusade" program wherein an author, Fred J. Cook, was attacked. When Cook requested time to reply in keeping with the fairness doctrine, the station refused. Upon appeal to the FCC, the Commission declared that there was personal attack and the station had failed to meet its obligation. The station appealed and the case wended its way through the courts and eventually to the Supreme Court. The court ruled for the FCC, giving sanction to the fairness doctrine."

What happens now, posts-Fairness Doctrine, when someone is attacked - personally, professionally, politically - on TV? If their story doesn't fit whatever 'narrative' the broadcaster has already decided on, they get bubkes. Ask Richard Jewell how that works. Or Michael Schiavo.

Charles,

Freedom of expression is something I'm all in favor of. At some point, however, it seems to be in the interest of a democratic society to inculcate in its citizens an ability to discern truth. Where should this faculty of discernment be learned?

...it seems to be in the interest of a democratic society to inculcate in its citizens an ability to discern truth.

If you believe that citizens lack this ability to begin with, there is no democratic mechanism that citizens could possibly use to apparently enlighten themselves, given that they will have no ability to "properly" elect those who would presumably grant this gift.

The Fairness Doctrine was bad for the Constitution and bad for America. Good riddance.

Let's see, you have a choice. A Fairness Doctrine, or an assurance that only those who whore themselves to special interests ever get elected.

What's worse for America?

Actually, now that I read CaseyL's comment I think I'm confusing the Fairness Doctrine for the Equal Time Proviso to some degree, but clearly if Bush gets free time on the networks to declare in a what his people say will be a "major" speech supposedly on the War on Terror that "Senator Kerry has a strategy of retreat" (and he pulled this stunt more than once); Kerry should be given a Fair opportunity to reach that same audience for free as well.

Charles, what's your position on all the high-profile indecency fines levied by the FCC over the past couple of years?

The Constitution was written under the assumption that ordinary people weren't fully competent to make political judgements about national affairs. That's why the electors exist. They were supposed to be an elite of responisble, competent people who could make judgements for the people.
I watched NBC last night(I was visiting my parents) and I was appalled. There was absolutely nothing in the way of responisble journalistic standards. The coverage of the Terri Schiavo situation was, in effect, an advertisement for the protesters. There was no balance, no background, no facts, only the presentation of the emotional message (very well staged, by the way) of the protesters. They played NBC, and NBC must have been willing to be played.
I'll write another letter of complaint. Whenever I write to the MSM, I tell them that they have lost another viewer to the blogs and, that if they want me back, they will have to increase the quality and professionalism of their news coverage. I don't tell them that I never watch TV at home regardless, of course.
Probably doesn't help, but it makes me feel better.

The original idea behind the Fairness Doctrine, on the other hand, was that the airwaves are a public resource, and that the public interest wasn't served by only airing one side of "controversial" issues...

Yet it still involves government meddling with free political speech, Casey, deciding what is "controversial" and forcing a station to achieve "balance". It still boils down to stifling free speech, which is why the Fairness Doctrine should stay dead. If we're a free society, then liberals should be brave enough to accept unfiltered free speech, especially the political kind. If there is a segment of society that does not feel represented, there's no barriers to entry. Air America is an example.

I remember back in the 1990s when folks we're complaining about liberal bias on cable and network television. I remember one commentator saying "if you don't like it, start your own channel". Well, somebody did. Same principle goes for liberals. If you don't like it, start your own damn channel or radio network. Don't try to stifle and ban. Compete. That would be real fairness.

Charles, what's your position on all the high-profile indecency fines levied by the FCC over the past couple of years?

I don't have a position, Phil, and it's not germane to the Fairness Doctrine anyway.

Let's see, you have a choice. A Fairness Doctrine, or an assurance that only those who whore themselves to special interests ever get elected.

That's called a false choice, Edward, and your preference is quite socialistic.

Jonas,

I'm not absolutist in either direction on this idea of in-born ability to reason. For the most part, it would seem that humans are born with a native ability to disern but that it's a skill that can be developed, atrophied, or shaped. Who or what should be at the controls of the shaping of the standard of taste and discernment of the young mind and voter?

I agree with you that if the state were to impose a standard of discernment, that would be totalitarianism. But I'm not quite comfortable with Bird's total free market version, either, because this general argument that information should be presented to viewers, voters, and students like so many dishes at a dim sum restaurent also seems rather dangerous to me. It takes civil debate out of the public and makes individual choices and opinions more like consumer decisions: private, personal preferences.

We're not going to go back to the days when the same six schools produced the thinking and chattering class as well as the political class. But I'm not sure where we're going, either. People on the right complain of indecency in the public media; people on the left complain of irrationality. Symptoms of the same problem. But I can't think that exploding the whole concept of a public and communal discussion into a million private pieces, where people could enjoy or deplore indecency or irrationality, based on their predelictions, would be a good thing.

That's called a false choice, Edward, and your preference is quite socialistic.

If you're going to insult someone, Charles, could you at least try to use the words correctly? Last I checked Edward wasn't trying to nationalize the heavy industries or do anything actually "socialistic", your particular hobby-horse notwithstanding.

So, Charles, "Government has no business regulating speech," is not a position on FCC indecency fines? Because that was the statement you made, so I wanted to suss out how principled a position this was for you. (Since I well remember your snit-fit over Janet's boob over at Tacitus, I think I can guess. Feel free to correct me.)

If you believe that citizens lack this ability to begin with, there is no democratic mechanism that citizens could possibly use to apparently enlighten themselves, given that they will have no ability to "properly" elect those who would presumably grant this gift.

That's true only if you assume that the process should be immediate. It's certainly conceivable that the process would instead be a gradual one, wherein better and better approximations to the ideal -- in this case, an informed electorate capable of high-level reasoning -- would be produced over time. This can even be attained by democratic redress through the political sphere; in its simplest terms, for example, we could (through democratic means) appoint school boards that favored science and rationalism over superstition and dogmaticism such that body politic will, over time, approximate the ideal.

I'm not saying that such a mechanism is certain, or that the approximations will inevitably improve with each iteration; that would be hopelessly naive, I think we all agree. It's a far cry from this lack of certainty, however, to posit that such a process cannot possibly succeed because the starting point is too weak to permit it. One cannot build a computer out of Stone Age tools, yet computers now exist; why then should we dismiss out of hand this capacity (or, if you prefer, potentiality) for reason in our body politic even if one believes that it lacks it now?

Um, reality check. Broadcasting on the EM spectrum is not "free speech". The EM spectrum is only useful insofar as it is regulated to avoid stations broadcasting on the same frequency. Unless Charles is calling for an end to this policy (which will ultimately allow competitors to jam each others' signals) then complaining about supposed first amendment issues is about as useful as complaining when the cops stop you from expressing your political views all over the county courthouse in spray-paint.

Because the government chooses who gets broadcast licenses, the Fairness Doctrine was a bulwark against government control of political speech. Telling someone in a public forum "you've had your say, now let your opponent respond" is not stifling speech in my book. But now that's history.

What we have now certainly is doing a poor job of informing the populace. Need I quote the survey results showing various misapprehensions held by large numbers, even majorities?

Here is an argument I found well stated:

After the election, I was reminded of Winston Churchill's comment that democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others that have been tried. And the worst aspect was weighing on me, and I was thinking of what Walter Lippmann wrote about 80 years ago about democracy. What he said was that the sharpest criticism of democracy is that it relies on distracted, manipulable citizens to make the decision about who exercises power. I think that given that vulnerability, given that weakness in this society that the average citizen can be manipulated by information, we as a society ought to do everything we can to shore up that weak link. Instead, we have a system of communication that permits exploitation of that weakness. And I'm really not talking about the news media, although there's lots of criticism we could mount about them.

I'm talking about political advertising. We allow people who are very good at assembling focus groups, at testing slogans, at creating images and music that are extraordinarily persuasive and that have much more repetition than anything in the news media to carry messages that are powerful, that short circuit our thinking, that inform our opinions at levels that we re not even aware of.

-- John McManus at the Aurora Forum at Stanford Univ., Nov. 4, 2004

That's called a false choice, Edward, and your preference is quite socialistic.

Nothing wrong with a bit of socialism in my book. Depends on degrees.

If you're going to insult someone, Charles, could you at least try to use the words correctly?

When government owns or controls the means of production, Anarch, it is indeed socialistic. If a conservative radio station is forced to broadcast liberalism for half of its format, i.e., controlling half of a station's content against its wishes, that is socialistic.

So, Charles, "Government has no business regulating speech," is not a position on FCC indecency fines?

Thanks for misinterpreting, Phil. Unless you think political content equates to indecency, your attempt to insert a topic that isn't germane to the Fairness Doctrine fails. It's not my problem that you're trying to conflate two separate issues.

Because the government chooses who gets broadcast licenses, the Fairness Doctrine was a bulwark against government control of political speech.

Yet there remain no real barriers to entry for a station operator to put forth its views, be they conservative or liberal or communist. Air America is Exhibit A, Gromit.

Charles, does the medium of broadcast speech differ in any physical or legal way from speech in general? Are you aware you can't activate a radio or tv station (above a certain minimum wattage) without a government license? Do you know why this is? Do you oppose the law requiring this? How many tv stations can you physically receive by broadcast with a normal tv where you live? How many can you legally receive? Why not more? Do they cover every political point of view? Is a particular form of speech free when only a fixed number of people can legally control it? How so? Do you assert that the government of President George W. Bush and the 109th Congress is "socialistic" because, in fact, the FCC "controls" broadcast airwaves, and who is licensed to use them, today? If not, why not?

So, Charles, "Government has no business regulating speech," is not a position on FCC indecency fines?

Thanks for misinterpreting, Phil. Unless you think political content equates to indecency, your attempt to insert a topic that isn't germane to the Fairness Doctrine fails.

You didn't say, "Only political content," you said, "Particularly political content," Charles, which an English-speaking adult human being will understand as meaning "Not limited to political content." if you want to back off from "government has no business regulating speech," that's fine with me. Say so. But don't pretend that I'm misintepreting based on what you wrote. You either didn't mean what you said, or didn't say what you meant, and I'm not particularly interested in which of those is the case, as the end result is the same.

I was trying to suss out where your sudden and supposed prinicipled opposition to government regulation of speech ends. Now I have my answer. So be it.

Yet there remain no real barriers to entry for a station operator to put forth its views,

But there are significant -- and growing -- barriers to becoming a station operator in the first place. (Your pretending not to understand the difference between a proposed ownership group wanting a free-to-air broadcast ownership license and Rupert Murdoch starting another in his bevy of cable channels is charming.) Again, if you're proposing a principle opposition to government ownership and control of bandwidth allocation at all, I'm right there with you. But I'll bet you're not. In fact, I'll bet $10, to be PayPal'd to the charity of your choice.

When government owns or controls the means of production, Anarch, it is indeed socialistic. If a conservative radio station is forced to broadcast liberalism for half of its format, i.e., controlling half of a station's content against its wishes, that is socialistic.

Calling it socialistic (which, again, is not the insult you seem to think it should be) doesn't change the fact that certain resources should not be privatized or treated with the same considerations we do private enterprises. It's ludicrous to suggest they should.

The airwaves are not private property. Period. They belong to all the people of the nation and in this nation that means the government (what you gonna suggest deserves the considerations of privatly owned property next, extended air space? sunlight? oxygen?).

It is entirely within our rights (the people of the nation) to expect those we lease the airwave to, to comply with certain expectations that they promote the general welfare and serve the public interest within their programming. The Fairness Doctrine and other regulations are a truly minor sacrifice in the overall scheme of how much power (and trust) the public places in the hands of someone allowed to lease the airwaves.

You can argue that if someone doesn't like the content of a channel, they can change that channel, but that's disengenuous because clearly many of the stations broadcasting pretend they're balanced even when they clearly are not and so without declaring their bias (as Air America does) they are indeed attempting to decieve the nation. You can cite CBS in this as well as Fox if you like, but even there, the notion that CBS was able to broadcast its "rather biased" news for so long and be considered professionally balanced by many, many people is a very good indication that the public can be fooled.

I'll turn that notion around for you too. If you don't like the Fairness Doctrine or other regulations designed to protect the OWNERS of the airwaves, stay out of the broadcasting business.

I was trying to suss out where your sudden and supposed prinicipled opposition to government regulation of speech ends. Now I have my answer. So be it.

More nonsense, Phil. You're mindreading once again if you think you have your answer. But right, you're not a liberal. When I was critical of CBS for the Super Bowl halftime show, for example, I didn't call for government intervention or fines. I criticized CBS for showing its bump-and-grind asininity during a family program which was supposedly intended for the widest possible audience.

Charles: Definitions of socialism: (1): "Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy."

(2): "Any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods."

(More available on request.)

If government regulation of something amounted to socialism, then we would have had socialized medicine for a very long time now. And, of course, we would now have socialized media (the FCC), utilities (even where privatized), advertising, land (zoning); I suppose also socialized citizens (the existence of laws would surely suffice for that, no?)

I was going to respond but apparently hilzoy's beaten me to the punch yet again, so: what she said.

Though obviously there's no obligation whatever involved, I'm still very much hoping Charles will indulge me in answering the questions I asked him. Still hoping very much indeed. It would obviate any need for anyone to attempt mind-reading what his answers might be.

If you don't want me making guesses, Chuck, feel free to answer the question: Do you, or do you not, support FCC fines for broadcast indecency?

But right, you're not a liberal.

How many liberals do you know who want the government out of the spectrum-allocation business altogether? Your ability to not understand issues really boggles the mind sometimes. Seriously.

It seems like a lot of the commenters on this post have managed to see through the impenetrable fog of media misinformation just fine, thank you very much. They no doubt pride themselves on their ability to view mainstream news reports with intelligence and a dose of skepticism, put them in context, and form their own views.

Apparently they just don't think their fellow citizens are smart enough to do the same.

Anyone who thinks Americans are incapable of forming intelligent opinions on issues of the day under the current system, should have no illusions that a Fairness Doctrine would make things any better.

More to the point of the original post:

How can Kerry claim the "corporate media" no longer does old-fashioned muckraking in an election season that brought us the forged Bush National Guard memos? Feeding a soldier questions to put Rumsfeld on the spot about lack of armor for humvees in Iraq? Waiting until a week before the election to break the story about a supposedly disappearing cache of conventional weapons from Al QaaQaa?

How can Kerry complain about confusing news with entertainment, in a year that brought us Farenheit 9-11, MTV's Rock the Vote, and the Daily Show?

If Democrats need more help from the media to win than they got in 2004, they really are in trouble.

Anyone who thinks Americans are incapable of forming intelligent opinions on issues of the day under the current system, should have no illusions that a Fairness Doctrine would make things any better.

I'll go back to my original example of why this is not a solid assessment of the potential for abuse and why the Fairness Doctrine would indeed have made things better here:

It looks like the White House pulled a fast one on the 24-hour news channels this morning as President Bush grabbed 50 minutes of free, uninterrupted TV airtime one month before Election Day. News outlets were told in advance Bush would give a substantive speech addressing key policy issues, which is why they agreed to carry it. (They're not in the habit of running stump speeches in their entirety.) Days ago, the speech was billed as an address on medical liability reform. Then on Monday, White House aides announced the speech would address the "war on terror" and the economy. And that's how the cable outlets dutifully hyped it this morning:

-- "President Bush heads to [Pennsylvania] for what is billed as a major speech." -- MSNBC

-- "President Bush heading to Pennsylvania for what's called a significant speech on the economy and the war on terror." -- CNN

-- "President Bush is making what's being called a significant speech on Iraq and the economy." -- Fox News

Instead, the address, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., was nothing more than a raucous Bush pep rally as the president unleashed his most sustained and personal attacks on Sen. John Kerry to date, portraying him as an out of touch liberal who cannot be trusted to defend America, while Republican loyalists in the crowd booed and jeered each mention of Kerry's name. Bush charged that Kerry proposed "an artificial timetable to pull troops out of Iraq…even if the job is not done," and insisted, "Senator Kerry has a strategy of retreat. I have a strategy of victory." In a sense, the speech was Bush's mulligan -- his do-over -- for last Thursday night, as he forcefully, if belatedly, defended the war in Iraq, and accused Kerry of being soft of terrorism. Of course, without Kerry being present it was easier for Bush to make his points.

The question is, why did all three news channels cover the attack speech for nearly an hour?

All three news channels gave Bush 50 free minutes of attack time because he lied to them about what he was going to be talking about. Not only that, he was downright viciously untruthful about what Kerry's plans regarding Iraq were. How is Kerry supposed to counter that sort of abuse? When we had a Fairness Doctrine, it prohibited that sort of abuse.

Calling it socialistic (which, again, is not the insult you seem to think it should be) doesn't change the fact that certain resources should not be privatized or treated with the same considerations we do private enterprises.

There was no insult intended, Edward. I called it like I saw it. Your argument had merit back in the day when there were three networks and minimal amounts of cable or satellite. With 50 to 500 channels in the vast majority of households, the regulation is antiquated and unnecessary. You are, in effect, restricting choice and restricting speech and, to me, it's a hypocritical position for liberals to take.

Do you, or do you not, support FCC fines for broadcast indecency?

Phil, what part of "no position" do you not understand? I haven't studied it, so I have no opinion, but I did give you an example of my opinion on the infamous CBS halftime show, which was libertarian. That said, I find myself agreeing with a lot of what Jeff Jarvis has written.

Hilzoy, your definitions of socialism include government ownership but exclude government control. If an enterprise is privately owned but its operations are substantially controlled by government dictat, to me it is still socialistic.

Gary, I'm not going to play the minutiae game with you. The issue for me is the larger principle of networks and cable channels and radio stations being able to broadcast the content they please. The other principle is that if any speech should be unregulated, it is of the political variety.

Charles: OK, but part of the point was that they weren't just my definitions.

You are, in effect, restricting choice and restricting speech and, to me, it's a hypocritical position for liberals to take.

Then the case I site above, where the White House exploited the MSM to get 50 minutes of free ad time doesn't need addressing?

Your argument had merit back in the day when there were three networks and minimal amounts of cable or satellite. With 50 to 500 channels in the vast majority of households, the regulation is antiquated and unnecessary.

Little reality check here. Average viewership for the Big 3 network evening newscasts currently runs at over 27 million viewers (cite). Fox News and CNN combined have barely over 2 million viewers during all of prime time (cite). The reach of broadcast news is so much larger than cable that your claims above, Charles, are absurd.

Charles, does the medium of broadcast speech differ in any physical or legal way from speech in general? Are you aware you can't activate a radio or tv station (above a certain minimum wattage) without a government license?

Is a particular form of speech free when only a fixed number of people can legally control it?

Do you assert that the government of President George W. Bush and the 109th Congress is "socialistic" because, in fact, the FCC "controls" broadcast airwaves, and who is licensed to use them, today?

This is "minutiae"? I think not. Nor do these questions require significant time and effort to answer. Surely you're up to answering a few simple questions on a topic you feel motivated to repeatedly go on about at length, right? Surely there's no reason to not clearly state your opinion? They're not complicated questions, and I've reduced them to only four. Even a child can answer Four Questions, and it's even the right time of year.

"Even a child can answer Four Questions, and it's even the right time of year."

Depending on how you look at it, it's either a child asking the Four Questions, or it's really just one question ("Why is this night different from all other nights?") with Four Answers (as we refer to it at our irreverent Seder).

as we refer to it at our irreverent Seder

Speaking as goy, I love irreverent Seders.

"Speaking as goy...."

That was a Helen Reddy song, wasn't it? I Am Goy?

I might be mixed up; maybe it's West Side Story I'm thinking of, with the lyric "I feel so pretty and witty and goy!"

Phil, what part of "no position" do you not understand?

The part where you earlier said, "Government should not be in the business of regulating speech." Which is a pretty dogmatic statement, and which you're also apparently backing away from, at least insofar as you haven't considered all the ramifications of the statement. Fine.

I haven't studied it, so I have no opinion, but I did give you an example of my opinion on the infamous CBS halftime show, which was libertarian.

I do not think that word means what you think it means.

I do not think that word means what you think it means.

To be fair, I think you can make that claim of over 99.9% of the population, including the vast majority of self-described libertarians.

Then the case I site above, where the White House exploited the MSM to get 50 minutes of free ad time doesn't need addressing?

If the networks felt shafted by Bush's 50 minutes, Edward, there should no restrictions on them to give Kerry 50 minutes.

The reach of broadcast news is so much larger than cable that your claims above, Charles, are absurd.

Jerry, if the Columbia BS wanted to become the Liberal BS, there would be no objection from me. They're already halfway there anyway.

I do not think that word means what you think it means.

Excuse me, Phil, but where exactly did I espouse any governmental intervention in this thread?

Gary, if licenses are priced at market and granted by competitive bidding, which is what should happen, then the lessees of those rights should have the freedom to broadcast the content it pleases. The market will sort itself out.

If the networks felt shafted by Bush's 50 minutes, Edward, there should no restrictions on them to give Kerry 50 minutes.

I seem to remember something about 60 minutes.

Does that count, Charles ?

Charles, WTF?

Just to follow up, your claim that the Fairness Doctine has been mooted by technological advances was what I was disputing. The reach that broadcast media has is an order of mgnitude larger than cable, and a large part of that reach is tied up in the broadcasting license that these operators have been granted. Thse granting of these licenses guarantees the availability of that piece of the EM spectrum to the licensees with the force of the government available to protect that right to broadcast without interference. In exchange for this, some of us believe that the government is entitled to require more than just cash.

Gary, myself, and others have brought this issue up repeatedly and you steadfastly refuse to address this. My cites were merely presented to reinforce the fact that cable and alternative media are very far away from presenting enough of an alternative to support the notion that the Fairness Doctrine is now antiquated.

So, once again, with reference to:
Jerry, if the Columbia BS wanted to become the Liberal BS, there would be no objection from me. They're already halfway there anyway.
I ask, WTF?

"Gary, if licenses are priced at market and granted by competitive bidding, which is what should happen, then the lessees of those rights should have the freedom to broadcast the content it pleases. The market will sort itself out."

I'm perfectly willing to believe that, in your head, Charles, this is not a complete non-sequitur to what I asked you. I don't see how, but I'm sure you do.

Nonetheless, I humbly ask if you might be so kind as to actually answer the simple four questions I asked you, directly, so that we might discuss what you believe. My understanding is that discussing what you believe would fulfill a goal of your blogging; may I assume I'm correct in that? If so, actually saying what you think could be quite helpful in that.

Meanwhile, the clock is running out on this post on the front page.

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