Friday, June 22, 2007

Progressive "Fairness" is simply Censorship, Chavez-style


A thoroughly documented investigative report by MSNBC delves into political contributions by mainstream media journalists (hat tip: Power Line): identified 144 journalists who made political contributions from 2004 through the start of the 2008 campaign, according to the public records of the Federal Election Commission. Most of the newsroom checkbooks leaned to the left: 125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes. Only 17 gave to Republicans.

The New Yorker magazine appears to be one of the most partisan publications.

"Probably there should be a rule against it," said New Yorker writer Mark Singer, who wrote the magazine's profile of Howard Dean during the 2004 campaign, then gave $250 to America Coming Together and its get-out-the-vote campaign to defeat President Bush. "But there's a rule against murder. If someone had murdered Hitler — a journalist interviewing him had murdered him — the world would be a better place. I only feel good, as a citizen, about getting rid of George Bush, who has been the most destructive president in my lifetime. I certainly don't regret it."

That certainly sounds unbiased to me.

Meanwhile, progressives appear to be moving to eradicate one of the major outlets for conservative thought: talk radio. With moves reminiscent of Hugo Chavez, "progressives" are setting the stage for silencing talk radio pundits via legislative dictate.

Senator James Inhofe says he overheard Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) saying they want a "legislative fix" for talk radio.

Despite the breathless Drudge coverage, this isn't much of a secret. Liberal website ThinkProgress recently featured an article entitled "Right Wing Domination of Talk Radio and How to End It":

– In the spring of 2007, of the 257 news/talk stations owned by the top five commercial station owners, 91 percent of the total weekday talk radio programming was conservative, and only 9 percent was progressive.

– Each weekday, 2,570 hours and 15 minutes of conservative talk are broadcast on these stations compared to 254 hours of progressive talk — 10 times as much conservative talk as progressive talk.

– 76 percent of the news/talk programming in the top 10 radio markets is conservative, while 24 percent is progressive.

Recommendations? More government regulation to ensure "ownership diversity, both in terms of the race/ethnicity and gender of owners, as well as the number of independent local owners, will lead to more diverse programming."

What isn't addressed in the study is simple supply and demand. Radio owners would broadcast Pro Tiddlywinks coverage 24/7 if it attracted listeners and ad revenue.

Ed Morrissey offers his own unique brand of insight into the censorship efforts:

...the success of conservative talk-radio shows comes from its market attractiveness. This is, of course, something that drives people like Boxer and Clinton up the wall. They know that audiences flock to conservative talk shows, but with a few exceptions, liberal talk shows don't get those kinds of numbers. Air America has gone bankrupt trying to lease air time for their hosts in the major markets, and no one's listening to them.

If Hillary gets elected President and the Democrats gain a few more seats in Congress, the Fairness Doctrine will return -- and that will end political talk radio. Broadcasters will not risk their licenses in the hoop-jumping that will be required to demonstrate "balance" and "fairness" in political rhetoric, where every interest group will file complaint after complaint in an attempt to harass hosts with whom they disagree off the air. The AM band will revert to self-help shows and promotional broadcasts, or perhaps sports radio will expand even further, but political talk will disappear.

And that, of course, is what the Left wants to accomplish. MSNBC's report highlights the fact that mainstream media outlets are dominated by "journalists" who lean Left, often in direct violation of their employer's rules.

The single channel -- and the most competitive one in terms of consumer choice -- is talk radio. It is dominated by conservative thought and opinion... and therefore it must be censored, Chavez-style, by the likes of Clinton and Boxer.

In a marketplace of ideas, the progressives appear utterly unable to compete. Their attempts to censor conservative opinion are both intellectually and morally bankrupt. But I suppose it's not out of character from a group that worships Michael "Leni Reifenstahl" Moore and the 9/11 Truthers.

It's a shame that we don't have a real opposition party that can come up with compelling, marketable ideas for the electorate and must instead promote its agenda through censorship.

Update: Mark Levin, writing at the National Review, provides a stunning insight into the Center for American Progress report that hammers conservative talk radio:

Well, well ... the author of the [report] — Paul "Woody" Woodhull — just happens to be financially and professionally involved with two liberal talk radio programs — Ed Schultz and Bill Press. See here and here.

Nothing in this report discloses Woodhull's conflict of interest. You're led to believe that the findings were unbiased and untainted. It now turns out that the author has a direct financial interest in using the government to dismantle conservative talk radio.

No comments: