I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

House votes against FCC "fairness doctrine"

Speak of the devil. I was just talking about Congressional proposals to restore the FCC "fairness doctrine" and now I find out that the House just voted 309-115 against restoration of the doctrine. The fairness doctrine for broadcasters is of particular interest to me because of its close relationship to my proposal for a "fairness doctrine" prohibiting arbitrary censorship of blog visitors' comments. A news article says,
.
The House voted overwhelmingly yesterday to prohibit the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from using taxpayer dollars to impose the Fairness Doctrine on broadcasters who feature conservative radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

By a vote of 309-115, lawmakers amended the Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill to bar the FCC from requiring broadcasters to balance conservative content with liberal programming such as Air America.
(emphasis added)

Note the above emphasis on "taxpayer dollars." If the FCC defied a Congressional prohibition of using taxpayer dollars to enforce a Fairness Doctrine for broadcasters, taxpayers might not be granted standing to sue over such defiance because a 3-justice Supreme Court plurality held in Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation that taxpayers do not have standing to sue over executive branch allocations of funds (however, this holding is not binding, because it was made only by plurality). LOL. And there are many private outfits and individuals out there that would be glad to pick up the tab for FCC enforcement of a fairness doctrine for broadcasters. The FCC could create a private right of action for seeking enforcement of a fairness doctrine, as where a political candidate is denied an opportunity to respond to an attack ad.

House Democrats argued that it was merely a Republican political stunt because there is little danger of the FCC restricting conservative radio while George W. Bush is president.

Republicans counter that they are worried about new regulations if a Democrat wins the White House in 2008.

However, it was not just a "Republican political stunt," because a lot of Democrats went along with it.

The article said that restoring the Fairness Doctrine for broadcasters has high-level support in the Senate:

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said on Tuesday that the government should revive the Fairness Doctrine, a policy crafted in 1929 that required broadcasters to balance political content with different points of view . . . . .

. . . . . .Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Senate Rules Committee, said this week that she would review the constitutional and legal issues involved in re-establishing the doctrine.

Sen. John Kerry (Mass.), the Democratic Party’s 2004 presidential nominee, also said recently that the Fairness Doctrine should return.

Other Congressional support for restoring the Fairness Doctrine for broadcasters is described in this article on this blog.

The date 1929 looks bad. Different histories of the fairness doctrine say that its predecessors date back to the Communications Act of 1937 and the Radio Act of 1927. Modifications in the doctrine were made over the years. The fairness doctrine or something similar was in effect for decades and the world obviously did not come to an end -- however, that was before conservative talk radio shows had the dominance that they have today. The fairness doctrine is not the only issue concerning balance of viewpoints in the media -- another big issue is the current high concentration of media outlet ownership in just a few hands.

I am opposed to an unlimited Fairness Doctrine for broadcasters because (1) I feel that it would be an unreasonable burden on broadcasters because of limited air time and (2) it would be virtually impossible to administer. It is often impossible to define what is "liberal" and what is "conservative." Also, I feel that people should not be pigeonholed as being liberal, conservative, or "moderate" -- for example, my opposition to school prayer is considered to be "liberal" but my opposition to censorship of criticisms of Darwinism in the public schools is considered to be "conservative." However, I am in favor of the following Fairness Doctrine "lite":

Two corollary rules of the doctrine, the "personal attack" rule and the "political editorial" rule, remained in practice until 2000. The "personal attack" rule was pertinent whenever a person or small group was subject to a character attack during a broadcast. Stations had to notify such persons or groups within a week of the attack, send them transcripts of what was said and offer the opportunity to respond on the air. The "political editorial" rule applied when a station broadcast editorials endorsing or opposing candidates for public office, and stipulated that the candidates not endorsed be notified and allowed a reasonable opportunity to respond.

The U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, ordered the FCC to justify these corollary rules in light of the decision to repeal the Fairness Doctrine. The FCC did not provide prompt justification, and ultimately ordered their repeal in 2000.


(from Wikipedia article on the fairness doctrine)

As I noted above, denying taxpayer dollars for enforcement of a "personal attack" rule, "political editorial" rule, or a similar rule might not work because there could be a private right of action to seek enforcement of such a rule (and as I noted above, taxpayers might not be granted standing to sue for enforcement of a Congressional prohibition against using FCC funds to enforce a fairness doctrine -- LOL).

Question: Would somebody please tell me why my proposed fairness doctrine for blogs is less constitutional than the fairness doctrine for broadcasters?
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4 Comments:

Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> The fairness doctrine for broadcasters is of particular interest to me because of its close relationship to my proposal for a "fairness doctrine" prohibiting arbitrary censorship of blog visitors' comments <

They are completely different for the obvious reasons. I am sorry you lack the intelligence to see this.

Sunday, July 01, 2007 2:55:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>> They are completely different for the obvious reasons. <<<<<<<

I didn't say that they are the same -- I only said that they are closely related. Many of the issues are similar -- e.g., the scarcity/abundance of sites and the scarcity/abundance of comment space per site.

You lack the intelligence to see this. Under the social Darwinism that you love so much, you would be sterilized or even euthanized because of your incredible stupidity.

Sunday, July 01, 2007 10:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> I didn't say that they are the same <

I didn't say that you said they are the same.

> I only said that they are closely related. <

That's what I said you said.

> Many of the issues are similar <

Only very superficially. But you lack the intelligence to see that.

> Under the social Darwinism that you love so much, you would be sterilized or even euthanized because of your incredible stupidity. <

Under the holocaust, which you deny happened, you would have gone up the chimney as a Jew.

Monday, July 02, 2007 10:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> I can "gossip" about me here, but you can't. Those are the rules. <

So much for your braying about the "fairness doctrine".

> However, I generally try to avoid gossiping about myself here. <

Much of your description of yourself is untrue. You claim not to censor and you even claim not to have deleted posts when you have done so.

> I was forced to gossip about myself when Fake Dave misrepresented himself as my brother in comments on Fatheaded Ed's blog. <

Fake Dave did not misrepresent himself. The only one posting as Dave Fafarman on Ed's blog was your brother, real Dave.

If you don't believe that it was your real brother, why did you pressure your mother to call him and ask him to stop posting?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007 9:36:00 AM  

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