Friday, November 21, 2008

Some call it Fascism

Goebbels was in favour of free speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you’re in favour of free speech, then you’re in favour of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise.” — Noam Chomsky, in 1992, writing in Manufacturing Consent

Courtesy of Memeorandum I took a quick stroll over to the left side of the blogosphere this morning. I observed the leftoid pundits in full Atlantean regalia as Marin Cogan mocked conservative talk radio's concern over the ill-named "Fairness Doctrine".

Democrats may scratch their heads over why this has lately become a right-wing obsession, but the paranoia is not without precedent. The prospect of being in the opposition often brings out the worst in conservatives--paranoia and self-pity. Plus, when the conservative coalition seems threatened, there's no better way to unify the party than scaring up liberal bogeymen.

Following Cogan's lead, the echo chamber -- asserting unfounded wingnut paranoia -- popped heads up like a choral version of Whack-a-Mole.

Taylor Marsh, Human Events, PoliGazette, Midwest Voices, The Heretik,, Washington Monthly, Lawyers, Guns and Money, Matthew Yglesias and The Anonymous Liberal all joined in the fun.

Their diminution notwithstanding, certain facts are clear.

• On 11/4/08 Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) likened conservative talk radio to pornography stating, "I think we should all be fair and balanced, don’t you? ...The very same people who don’t want the Fairness Doctrine want the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] to limit pornography on the air. I am for that… But you can’t say government hands off in one area to a commercial enterprise but you are allowed to intervene in another..."

• In 2007 Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) told The Hill, "It’s time to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine. I have this old-fashioned attitude that when Americans hear both sides of the story, they’re in a better position to make a decision."

• Also in 2007 Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said, "I believe very strongly that the airwaves are public and people use these airwaves for profit. But there is a responsibility to see that both sides and not just one side of the big public questions of debate of the day are aired and are aired with some modicum of fairness."

• Louise Slaughter (D-NY) has fought for reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine for two decades. On PBS in 2004 she told Bill Moyers, "[Rush Limbaugh is] [d]ominating America and a waste of good broadcast time and a waste of our airwaves."

Furthermore, even in the event that the push for the Fairness Doctrine fails, Cogan neglects to mention other, more serious attacks on talk radio. The attacks, disguised as ownership diversity, "local control" of content and/or ownership caps, suborn the free market radio broadcasting landscape with social engineering.

You know, the kind of social engineering that worked so well with the Community Reinvestment Act, subprime mortgages and Fannie Mae.

In New York City there are currently 61 radio stations ranging from Air America to Zen Radio. Radio is simply a marketplace of ideas and one in which the ideas of the left have, for the most part, failed miserably to resonate with listeners.

The leftists behind this sort of censorship can call it "fairness", "ownership diversity", "local control", what have you.

I just call it fascism. Because that's what it is.

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