Glenn Beck was haranguing the world about the inevitability of Democrats restoring the Fairness Doctrine if they, as seems likely, win by big margins on Nov. 4. I have seen precious little evidence of any serious attempt to bring back the Fairness Doctrine, but it makes good political hay. Beck said he relies on conservative talk radio for news and information ignored or distorted by the MSM.
Funny he would say that. As regular readers of this feature know, I am often struck by how fact-free commercial talk radio is. Typically, listeners are spoon fed a sentence or two of fact, followed by an hour or two of opinionating. On Thursday, the only actual new fact that I can recall learning was the result of this poll showing the presidential race much closer than most other polls. Everything else, to the best of my recollection, was recycled stuff about Ayers, Wright, Obama's birth in Kenya, etc.
Beck, with his pompous propensity for beating every single point endlessly into the ground, is a particularly egregious offender. Last week, for example, he went on and on -- well beyond my listening capacity -- about a story that the Obamas had run up a huge room-service tab at the Waldorf-Astoria. Not only was the story trivial, but it turned out to have been fabricated. So people who listened to Glenn Beck that day not only didn't learn anything new, they instead learned something untrue. Beck used his program to subtract from the sum total of knowledge in the universe.
None of that makes a case for the fairness doctrine, although it may reduce fears of how serious the impact would be. I don't see the doctrine coming back, at least not in the form we once knew it. Still, I don't see anything wrong with requiring KBLG and KBUL to stand up in front of the public at broadcast license renewal time and explain to all of us why they donate thousands of hours of free air time each year to the Republican Party and donate nothing to Democrats. I just want to hear them explain how that behavior benefits the public enough to justify renewing their valuable licenses.
That's a broadcast I would pay to hear.