Saturday, February 28, 2009

More talk radio

When I wrote below that the Senate had voted for legislation prohibiting reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine, I hadn't yet seen this quote from Denny Rehberg:
Anyone who thinks that talk radio only tells one side of the story doesn’t spend much time in front of a radio. The fact is, talk show hosts regularly accept calls from listeners that disagree with them, and the debates are lively and informative. The last thing we need is the federal government stepping in to referee an active discussion to declare winners and losers. I’m proud of the Senate for passing this important safeguard, and I hope the House of Representatives acts quickly on this legislation.”

I'm guessing that Denny doesn't spend much time in front of a radio. Limbaugh openly acknowledges that he accepts calls from listeners who disagree with him only if he thinks it will promote his own arguments. Hannity often takes calls from people who disagree but only occasionally hears them out. Usually, he interrupts them repeatedly, ridicules or mocks their positions and dismisses them as Kool-Aid drinkers and Obama maniacs. Michael Savage and Bill Cunningham are openly rude to callers who disagree with them and often hang up on them. Glenn Beck is so incomprehensible that it usually isn't even possible to disagree with him. Even O'Reilly, who really did welcome opposing viewpoints, usually allowed callers only a sentence or two before butting in to explain how it really was. Only Dave Rye really gives a respectful and full hearing to opposing views and he, of course, has no national reach.

Lively? Informative? Not in this town.

Perhaps it also is worth mentioning that not a human being in this country, so far as I know, including zero percent of the people who favor the Fairness Doctrine, thinks the government should referee radio discussions to declare winners and losers. Denny, my friend, you are spouting utter nonsense.


Jim Larson said...

As an Ouptost operative, I'm in my car a lot, and some days I digest a big bite of talk radio. There is nothing balanced about it.
Denny's a bright guy. I just can't imagine that he's listened to much talk radio. Perhaps he was regurgitating a standard talking points argument.

Chuck Rightmire said...

Why would you ever think Denny has anything to add to the public debate on issues? I notice he voted against almost every issue in this week's scoreboard but Lummis did him one worse.

MTSentinel said...

Of course, as long as we're being "fair" about it, I look forward to you also blogging about how great talk radio is since you tend to only focus on the parts you disagree with.

Surely, you'll support a bill that requires you to provide a "balanced" approach to all of your advocacy on this blog. We can tally up word-counts.

David said...

MT Sentinel,
That's the sort of comment that makes it really hard to have a serious discussion.

1. The Fairness Doctrine never has, and never would, apply to the blogosphere or to print. It applied to broadcast only because the airwaves are publicly owned.

2. The Fairness Doctrine never required equal time for all points of view. That's a common misunderstanding, arising usually among people who confuse the Fairness Doctrine with the "equal time" rule, which applied only to political candidates.

3. I'm not sure I could support the return of the Fairness Doctrine in any form, but if I did, it would certainly not include any sort of equal time or balance provisions. I just think that if a station is devoting 100-plus hours a week to conservative talk radio, it wouldn't hurt to put a couple of hours of liberal talk a week on the radio. And I think it's an issue the FCC ought to be able to consider at license renewal time.

Chuck Rightmire said...

David: I actually support the fairness doctrine and equal time. But since we don't have it, why do we have to have such blather as the Louisiana governor put on television following the State of the Union address last week. If this guy is a rising star in the Republican party, they are definitely the party of losers. I tuned it out after a few sentences which seemed to consist mostly of introducing a new GOP slogan. But why do the networks consider it worthy if there is no equal time issue?

David said...

That wasn't an "official" State of the Union, but I agree with you in principle. The president giving a State of the Union address is speaking for the nation, not for his party. It's always bugged me that the other party gets a televised response. There's nothing in the Constitution about that.