UK Heads Toward Censorship

Michael SavageIs there any wonder we broke away from these guys over 200 years ago?  The UK version of the US Homeland Security has released a list of people they have banned from entering the country including White Supremacists, Islamic Extremists and an American talk show host.  A talk show host?  Are you kidding?

The talk show host is Michael Savage.  Those you who don’t know him or have not listened to him…he’s an extreme right host.  Most of the time he is way too radical for my taste, but not to the extent of fomenting violence.  Now, I’m more of a Glenn Beck guy – kind of radical but much lighter in the presentation – Savage light I guess.  This move by the ruling party (Labour Party) led by UK Socialist Gordon Brown is a direct attempt to censor opposing viewpoints.  I have no idea of the UK laws, but we are heading toward the same type of policy in this country.

The so-called “Fairness Doctrine” has been floated by liberal politicians as a way to stifle the conservative message in America.  This type of policy places limits on radio stations to bring a “balanced” approach to their station by bringing opposing viewpoints and ideas.  The House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been an outspoken advocate of this idea.  What happened the the free market deciding these things?  What happened to the off button on the radio? 

There is a new idea, well not so new as it has been tried before, called the Performance Tax.  Essentially this is a run around to squeeze more money out of radio stations – talk and music playing – for the record companies.  If enacted the stations that play music of any type would have to pay this tax.  Now I’m an advocate of artists being paid for their work and stations and others that use music already do pay – upwards of $550 million annually in royalties.  This excessive new tax seems to be a stealth fairness doctrine extracting money from stations and ultimately shuttering those stations.  One step closer to total Socialist control of the airwaves in my mind.  This subject is way to complicated to cover in this short post about Savage but it is related.  We’ll do that later.

Of course, that is just my opinion.

Rob’s Rant

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5 Responses

  1. The House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been an outspoken opponent of this idea.

    Really. She must then be a conservative. Congrats for recognizing this.

    Kidding aside, you must not read the material you link. The Heritage site you link to says what has been known for a long time, that the FCC had a fairness doctrine since 1949. Between 1949 and 2000, when the fairness doctrine was suspended, the US has had 36 years of Republican presidents and 20 years of Democrat presidents.

    So I hardly think that the Fairness Doctrine has stifled conservative voice.

    The airways belong to all Americans. Savage is a lunatic and I shut my radio off when he is on, but truth be told once off I rarely go back to listen to more sane conversations.

    • The House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been an outspoken opponent of this idea

      Sorry, should have been supporter not opponent.

      …you must not read the material you link. The Heritage site you link to says what has been known for a long time, that the FCC had a fairness doctrine since 1949. Between 1949 and 2000, when the fairness doctrine was suspended, the US has had 36 years of Republican presidents and 20 years of Democrat presidents.

      Actually I did read this. Many people don’t know the history, glad to see that you do. In 1987 this ridiculous law was overturned by the FCC. The rise of AM radio started in the late 80’s and continues to proliferate today. The idea that we need a law to “Even things out” on the radio is ridiculous. If that is the goal then it should apply to TV also. Somehow I don’t see NBC, CNN, MSNBC, etc. being fair and balanced in their “reporting” of the news. The market decides what is interesting with opinion programs. The failure of outlets like Air America and the popularity of Conservative talk shows bears out what the public wants to hear. If stations are forced to offer a balanced approach the shows will again become boring and lifeless as they were for so many years.

      Savage is a lunatic and I shut my radio off when he is on, but truth be told once off I rarely go back to listen to more sane conversations.

      I think this to be the case also – so we agree on something! That is really my point – if you don’t like something turn the dial. There is nothing or no one forcing you to listen to Savage, Limbaugh, Beck or even the hosts on NPR or Air America. I rarely listen to Savage and generally avoid the show, but like an accident or train wreck, sometimes you have to look (or in this case listen).

    • You must be a real hoot at parties!

      Let’s compare apples to apples. Comparing the total audience of NPR to a specific show (Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc.) is like saying the sky is blue because it’s prettier that way. The actual audience for NPR is actually closer to 25 million, but you were pretty close.

      I have no doubt that this is genuine and people from all stripes and political leanings listen to NPR. I honestly can’t as it is completely boring to me – but that’s me. There also has to be a lot of overlap in Conservative programs. I listen to Limbaugh, and occasionally to Beck, Ingram and Levin. Many people here in St. Louis, where I live, will keep the station that carries these programs on all day hitting Ingram, Beck, Hannity, Savage and Levin. I don’t have that much time and don’t like all of those people.

      If we’re going to compare programs, let’s put up the numbers from the industry: http://talkers.com/online/?p=71

      Most of these programs are Conservative or at least right leaning. What should we take from that?

      You stated that the Fairness doctrine is akin to communism or state control of the media. The point that it has been around since 1949 proves otherwise. Therefore your entire post is suspect at best and inaccurate at worst.

      Actually what I stated was “one step closer to Socialism” and it was geared to the Performance Tax issue and my friends at The Great Illuminator just ran an overview of that subject as the issue continues to gain more steam.

      The Fairness Doctrine was eliminated in 1987. It has not been “around” and in force since then. To think otherwise is ignoring the facts of history – but this is hardly my point that I was making. Before 1987 there was next to no Conservative voice on the airwaves. At the time the Congress had been controlled by the Democrats for 30+ years with a Republican President sprinkled in there from time to time. Congress for a large part had no reason to rescind the law – why should they?

      There are markets where conservative radio does not reach. The owner or owners of radio stations in those markets have chosen not to broadcast conservative talk. In these markets conservatives constitute about 35% of the market. The question for you is should these people be banned from receiving conservative talk radio?

      What? Not sure this really makes much sense. Is there a point in there that I missed?

      I’ll try to comment on what I think you meant to say and for me to respond…Radio should not have barriers like what would be proposed with a modern Fairness Doctrine. Radio station owners have the responsibility to present a profitable business for themselves or the shareholders of the corporation. If they carry programs to be altruistic, then that’s their choice, but if they want to bring in a profit then they will air programs that the audience will listen to and will bring in advertising dollars. Both ideas may intersect, but that should be their choice.

      Don’t ever blame Obama rewarding his supporters; R Reagan rewarded his by lifting the Fairness doctrine rules.

      I don’t think I blamed Obama, but if it comes to that I will. If Obama comes out and indicates he has no reason to reinstate these restrictions then I will praise him for common sense. I did mention that Nancy Pelosi was the strongest supporter of reinstating the Fairness Doctrine. I also thought you have been railing on the fact that this has been around since 1949 – Reagan lifted the rules – which is it?

      Even having this type of restriction is ridiculous and heinous to say the least. Do you really think that a conservative will get “equal” time on Keith Olbermann’s show? On Rachel Maddow? Alan Colmes? Air America? Of course these are opinion shows and not hard news, but the same could be said for the network and cable stations. I think the term “Fat Chance” would be appropriate because these “journalists” really think they are balanced. A great book giving an overview of how things really are was written several years ago by Bernard Goldberg called Bias. (This was written before he became a Conservative).

      From a legal point of view, what remedies would people have when a private entity acts in a way that needlessly cost the public good?

      Legal point of view? Why would that even enter the argument? The way to eliminate a program is to not listen to that program. Private media companies survive by generating advertising dollars. Those advertisers only utilize that forum if there are listeners. Public Radio does not have those restrictions – they receive money no matter what they produce. If NPR had to compete like the rest of the industry for advertising dollars then we would have an even fight. Who knows, it might be a good investment for some businesses. Like the commercial for Tootsie Pops says – “The World May Never Know”.

      Gents like yourself consider everyone not as conservative as you to be left leaning. That’s your point of view. Those that you would consider to be left leaning would overwhelmingly consider themselves middle or independent.

      Wow, didn’t realize I was a gent. Thanks for that complement.

      I have plenty of friends on all ends of the political spectrum. Many conservative, some very left leaning and a whole lot in the middle. I’m not an ultra-conservative – more of a Conservative with Libertarian tendencies. Many people who actually vote Democrat in elections are very Conservative.

      Look at the Prop 8 vote in California. What put that measure over the top was the Black vote. The Black population (African-American and others) are pretty socially conservative but identify more with the Democratic party. I don’t really understand that, but that is how it is in today’s culture.

      So no, people to the left of me are not liberal, just not as Conservative as me. From your writing on this forum you seem more left to me than Independent, but I don’t know all of your views. I have an ultra liberal friend at work that I argue with on many issues, but there are some things we agree on. That’s how the American public is – very divided on many issues. Isn’t it great we can all have our own opinion and not be thrown in the gulag?

  2. […] I am calling the Fairness Doctrine Light or how one blogger calls it – the Stealth Fairness Doctrine is really a back door approach to restrict trade with an unnecessary tax.  Artists already […]

  3. The popularity of conservative radio has nothing to do with the right/left split. There are real, measured facts that would say otherwise.

    – Non conservatives (by huge numbers) listen to NPR, the thinking person’s radio. NPR provides facts

    – Rush Limbaugh pulls 14.5 million listeners; NPR pulls 20 million.

    – Sean Hannity pulls 11.5 million. There is a huge overlap between Limbaugh and Hannity listeners. The estimate the non-overlapping listeners makes conservative radio total listeners around 17 million.

    – The rest of the conservative crowd is around 2 million listeners (including Glenn Beck, G. Gordon Liddy, and Bill O’Reilly)

    – Gents like yourself consider everyone not as conservative as you to be left leaning. That’s your point of view. Those that you would consider to be left leaning would overwhelmingly consider themselves middle or independent.

    – You stated that the Fairness doctrine is akin to communism or state control of the media. The point that it has been around since 1949 proves otherwise. Therefore your entire post is suspect at best and inaccurate at worst.

    – Don’t ever blame Obama rewarding his supporters; R Reagan rewarded his by lifting the Fairness doctrine rules.

    – There are markets where conservative radio does not reach. The owner or owners of radio stations in those markets have chosen not to broadcast conservative talk.

    In these markets conservatives constitute about 35% of the market. The question for you is should these people be banned from receiving conservative talk radio?

    – I can name many examples where free market forces works both against the public. When it works against the public, those actions constitute a tax on the people.

    – From a legal point of view, what remedies would people have when a private entity acts in a way that needlessly cost the public good?

    – I’ll post several examples after your reply.

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