After a particularly uncivil piece on your opposition, people who have been creating havoc instead of reasonable discourse on serious matters affecting the American people, it may be a good time to step back and go into the reasons why we need some guiding hand over the entire media spectrum. In other words, a new doctrine guiding our dissemination of messages, to insure that not only do the People hear the truth, but they are also not incited by mob-like attitudes over the public airwaves.
When Rush Limbaugh comes on the air and sings “Barack the Magic Negro” does anyone take him off the air? Would he stroll down the main street in any predominantly African-American area of this country, singing it? Even though Rush Limbaugh is not the brightest bulb in the room, I doubt that he has a suicide impulse. Just a coward’s impulse. He’s a coward. Is that a pejorative statement about Limbaugh? Yes. But is it true? I think it is accurate.
So are Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Michael (“Banned in Britain”) Savage, Ann Coulter, Lou Dobbs and the entire panoply of lesser remunerated…it’s all about the money…scum bags who have absolutely nothing perceptive to say, no redeeming values, no reason, therefore, to be on the air.
What is the result of this? Another network comes on and its popularity skyrockets. Why? Because it takes the opposite side and makes even greater diatribes against the overstatements and lies of the first. But is this news? It does balance out the discourse…but at what cost? It is quite clearly propaganda from the Right responded to effectively, and in the same manner, from the Left. Of course, if the former tells a lie, then someone has the right to correct it. The point is that someone at the former network should have corrected it. The fact that they did not is why we must consider new policies.
It is time we refined the message about who we are and what we will tolerate. When we have a birth certificate from the President up on the Internet in numerous places, when we have 50-year-old newspaper archives that announce a birth…all that evidence..and yet radio and television programs devoting huge amounts of time spreading false information, we are probably wasting too much air time. We need to fix this.
First of all, the major media is no different from other major corporate enterprises, with the exception that they cannot move their operations overseas. If Rupert Murdoch could broadcast from China, hire Chinese to do the broadcasting, and make more money for his personal coffers, he would. He has no allegiance to the United States. He definitely was not born here, and the Australians, where he was born, and the British where he went to school, are very happy to let us have him here. To the educated and professional class in Europe, Rupert Murdoch’s being an American citizen proves what kind of country we are. Crass, ignorant, and venal.
A new fairness doctrine would need to do several things. First, it would be able to levy serious penalties on those who make insulting caricatures of Presidents, no matter how ugly things get in reality.
George W. Bush was as motivated to help the rich and powerful, major corporations and a segment of the semi-fanatical Christian religion as any President, ever. He took us to war for no good reason and he allowed 3,000 Americans to die because of the same kind of indigence that he displayed in school and in his former business life. He was seemingly not particularly bright and, for a President, extremely inarticulate.
But that is no reason to caricature the man who is in the Presidency. We literally have or had television programs called “L’il Bush” the point of which was simply to ridicule the President. Now, it is true that in Great Britain attacks can and do become even more vicious. And perhaps in other parts of the world as well. But that does not make it right. Because now what we have is the same kind of vilification of a President in a way that unfortunately hits a nerve. It steps over the line from ridicule into something more serious…racism.
Let’s go back before Bush, to Clinton. There were very harsh attacks on Clinton before he was elected. He was called every name it is possible to say on television without losing a license. Then he decided to commit political suicide…at least in the days before a sitting Senator (Vitter) could go to a prostitute, humiliate his wife in public and embarrass the entire country and still be sitting in the halls of Congress. Clinton was harassed to the point that he denied that he was having an affair at the wrong time…under oath. He was then impeached on the grounds of having an affair and not admitting it to the public under oath, something that the chief of his accusers, Newt Gingrich was doing at the same time with impunity. So Clinton, before the time when a sitting Senator (Ensign) could have an affair with one of his aides and then pay off the aide by hiring her son and then pay off the aide and her family with a reported $96,000 in what can only be considered a bribe, even if it is called “severance”…Clinton was also practically run out of office by the media as well as Congress. In fact, he, Clinton, was rightly severely abused by the press in the days before a sitting governor of a state (Sanford) could have a public affair with a woman in Argentina, while his humiliated wife is sitting in the Governor’s residence thinking he is hiking on the Appalachian Trail. He then brings all of the American public into his sordid romance. Then he goes back to work as if nothing had happened.
So there has been some history of the media attaching itself to the personal life of a sitting President and then losing all discretion. But this is not about discretion, this is about racism.
When you call a President who won in a landslide and yet is conciliatory beyond reason a Nazi, then perhaps we should initiate rules that create more civility. We must have more than simply an obviously failed religion to guide us. Religion has failed us in maintaining ethical behavior. People only become religious these days when they get caught doing something totally reprehensible or illegal. Then they find religion. Or they pretend to be religious. In any case, religion does not make us more civil. It makes us go to war and own guns. That is not what Jesus taught…but it is a waste of time to go into it.
A new fairness doctrine would, at a minimum, call for an objective panel, part of the FCC, that would regulate activity regarding politics and arbitrate in the media, non-legal aspects of broadcast standards. In addition, legislation would make decisions regarding the number and location of the media to reduce and control the runaway, total concentration of media in the hands of a few individuals. We cannot allow one person to have control over the message that he wished to be disseminated by hundreds of television stations, newspapers, radio stations and other mass communications companies.
We must have more competition in broadcast media. We have great traditions in news reporting, in many cases, such as the Edward R. Murrow vs. McCarthy and the WASHINGTON POST vs. Nixon situations where news organizations actually stopped seriously damaging government actions. This does not happen any longer. Bad governments are encouraged and good governments, elected by the people to replace bad governments, are vilified.
We cannot continue with this situation. We need a new fairness doctrine.