Barely To the Left of That First Colon . . .
Vol: 95 Issue: 25 Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Barely To the Left of That First Colon . . .
You probably thought that the debate over the improbably-named ‘Fairness Doctrine’ was over. After all, Barack Obama did promise back in February that he would oppose any effort to bring it back.
Before going any further, let’s take a closer look at the Fairness Doctrine. What can possibly be wrong with a doctrine of fairness? The problem is what it has always been.
“Fair” is a call in baseball. What is fair is not always what is true. In politics, “fair” means ‘on my side’ — just as ‘truth’ means ‘unfair characterization’.
Teddy Kennedy is asking the Massachusetts legislature to repeal a law that forbids the governor from appointing his successor.
Current law provides that, if Kennedy cannot complete his full term, a special election would be held at least 145 days after the seat becomes vacant. Kennedy fears leaving the Democrats one vote shy of its filibuster-proof 60-seat majority.
The Massachusetts governor used to have the authority to appoint a replacement to the seat. But in 2004, John Kerry was running for president and Mitt Romney, a Republican, was in the governor’s mansion.
Kennedy feared Romney might appoint a Republican to Kerry’s seat if Kerry were elected. So he spearheaded an effort in the Massachusetts legislature to pass a law requiring a special election — to prevent Romney from appointing Kerry’s replacement.
Now that the law Kennedy wanted in 2004 hinders what Kennedy wants in 2009, Kennedy argues that the law is not ‘fair’ and wants it repealed.
Kennedy is a strong supporter of the “Fairness Doctrine.”
Kennedy epitomizes the definition of ‘fairness’ — as it applies to the Fairness Doctrine.
Another example from the same election cycle shows why a government imposed ‘fairness doctrine’ is unnecessary.
The Sinclair Broadcasting Group planned to broadcast “Stolen Honor” highlighting John Kerry’s inflated war record and his post-war embellishments. Given the timing, the public thought it was unfair.
Sinclair’s stock fell by 17% overnight. Sinclair retreated and pulled the documentary. The public wasn’t partisan or necessarily favored John Kerry. The public defines fair and expresses its opinion via the marketplace or the ballot box.
The “Fairness Doctrine” is an effort to usurp that authority and hand it over to the same liberals that currently control such fair-minded government-mandated entities as the National Endowment for the Arts or the Public Broadcasting System.
What is the ‘Fairness Doctrine’? It was the policy of the Federal Communications Commission, introduced in 1949, to ensure the coverage of controversial issues be fair and balanced.
The ‘Fairness Doctrine’ was adapted from the ‘Mayflower Doctrine’ that prohibited television and radio from editorializing.
The FCC took the view, in 1949, that station licensees were “public trustees,” and as such had an obligation to afford reasonable opportunity for discussion of contrasting points of view on controversial issues of public importance.
The Commission later held that stations were also obligated to actively seek out issues of importance to their community and air programming that addressed those issues.
With the deregulation sweep of the Reagan Administration during the 1980s, the Commission dissolved the fairness doctrine. The ‘scarcity’ argument that dictated the ‘public trustee’ philosophy in 1949 was no longer valid — given the number of independent television and radio stations were in existence by the 1980’s.
In 1985, the FCC issued its Fairness Report, asserting that the doctrine was no longer having its intended effect, might actually have a “chilling effect” and might be in violation of the First Amendment.
In a 1987 case, Meredith Corp. v. FCC, the courts declared that the doctrine was not mandated by Congress and the FCC did not have to continue to enforce it.
The FCC dissolved the doctrine in August of that year and the Left went ballistic.
An informed public is the last thing the Left wanted to see. Within five years of the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, they lost their Congressional majorities — for the first time in forty years.
The Fairness Doctrine was among the Left’s most cherished propaganda tools. Since every conservative viewpoint had to be balanced by a liberal viewpoint, few media outlets wanted the hassle of the FCC’s censors nagging them all the time.
So they opted for music or entertainment programming. Once the Fairness Doctrine was repealed, there was an explosion of new talk radio programming.
Since the repeal of the policy, conservative commercial talk radio stations now outnumber liberal talk radio stations by a factor of more than ten to one. Without a government mandate that forced people to listen to left-wing propaganda if they didn’t want to, the only sane way to explain the imbalance in numbers is market preference. If they don’t have to, they don’t want to, and so they don’t.
To the Left, that is wildly ‘unfair’. Everybody from Al Gore to Al Franken has complained about how unfair it is that there are so few liberal talk radio stations. Everybody from Al Gore to Al Franken has pledged to turn that around by taking the airwaves to correct this unfairness.
Alas, the marketplace doesn’t want to hear all the mean-spirited, anti-American, anti-Christian, foul-mouthed liberal hate speech that made Air America the success that it isn’t today. And that’s not ‘fair’ according to the proponents of the ‘Fairness Doctrine.’
The way they see it, if people won’t listen to liberal talk radio voluntarily, then they shouldn’t be allowed to listen to conservative radio either. Alternatively, a law that forces them to listen to liberal propaganda will do. That’s ‘fairness’ in action — and the doctrine that defines it.
In the spring of 1987 (when the Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress) they voted to put the Fairness Doctrine into law– creating a statutory fairness doctrine which the FCC would have to enforce, like it or not.
When it reached his desk, President Reagan vetoed it. It was reintroduced during the Bush administration, but was vetoed by Bush.
Clinton lost the Congress in 1994 to the Republican Revolution before the Congress had time to reintroduce it. There was talk of reintroducing it when the Dems recaptured Congress in ’06, but they knew Bush 43 would veto it as quickly as his father did.
Things have changed. There is a Far-Left liberal in the White House and the Far-Left is currently in control of the Congress. And the return of the Fairness Doctrine is now as certain as weddings in June.
So, despite Obama’s assurances in February, it should come as a surprise to no one that Obama has appointed a “Diversity Czar” within the FCC.
Mark Lloyd is the co-author of a Center for American Progress report in 2007 entitled, “The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio,” which concluded that 91% of talk radio programming is conservative and 9% is progressive.
The Center for American Progress is funded by George Soros, the billionaire liberal whose previous contributions to fairness in public communications include Moveon.org.
By virtue of his own published words, Diversity Czar Lloyd is virulently Marxist, as racist as either Obama, Reverend Jeremiah Wright or Professor Gates have proved themselves to be, and a champion of government regulation.
Just the kind of guy you’d want guaranteeing a diversity of views, provided they are Marxist, anti-white, anti-American and heavily-censored.
Lloyd’s philosophy is not equality of opportunity, it is equality of outcome:
“The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) must be reformed along democratic lines and funded on a substantial level, Lloyd wrote in his book.
Federal and regional broadcast operations and local stations should be funded at levels commensurate with or above those spending levels at which commercial operations are funded. . . This funding should come from license fees charged to commercial broadcasters. Funding should not come from congressional appropriations. Sponsorship should be prohibited at all public broadcasters.
In other words, a station’s licensing fee should be equal to their annual operating budget, to be redistributed by the government among less successful (liberal) broadcasters.
Lloyd’s stated plan is to bankrupt successful conservative and Christian broadcasters and give their stuff to public broadcasting. That’s fair, isn’t it?
To the Left, ‘fairness’ means ‘censorship’ and ‘diversity’ means ‘enforced propaganda’. They believe that freedom of speech must be mandated by government in order to be ‘fair’. . . and overseen by the government in order to maintain ‘diversity’.
It is like we’ve stepped into the Twilight Zone. But this one is real.
We’re in that place where the natural and the supernatural touch — that place the Apostle Paul was talking about in 2nd Thessalonians 2:7 — the ‘mystery’ of iniquity.
“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He Who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way.”
To the right of the colon in 2nd Thessalonians 2:7 is the place where He Who now ‘letteth’ will ‘let’ until He be taken out of the way.
Today, we seem to be just to the left of it.
The word translated “let” is katecho in Greek. It has two meanings. The first is “to hold back, retain, detain or restrain.” The second is “to take possession of.” See Strong’s G2722
So no matter how one chooses to interpret the verse, “He” cannot be anyone other than the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit both restrains iniquity and indwells, or takes possession of the Christian.
We’re currently in that Twilight Zone-like ‘mystery of iniquity’ area — still to the left of the colon, a mysterious time in which good is called evil and evil is called good, and when nobody seems to be able to tell the difference.
And how it all happened right before our eyes is still a mystery to those of us who are saved. It will likely remain a mystery to us until after the Holy Spirit is withdrawn — together with the vessels He occupies.