29 Oct 2008

Feel Comforted Now?

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Patrick Edaburn, at the Moderate Voice, tries assuring Republicans that America will remain a free country after Obama’s victory.

As we sit a week or so out from Election Day I have been having some interesting discussions with some of my conservative friends. They are paranoid about the prospect of a big Democratic victory next week and that it will result in all kinds of horrible things happening to them. They act like it is only a matter of time before they are all sent to internment camps for re-education.

Much as I did with my liberal friends 4 and 8 years ago I have done my best to convince them that while they might not care for the new agenda they are not going to see such harsh events. Whether it was the left paranoid that Bush was going to cancel the 2008 vote or the right convinced Obama will become President for Life, I always tried to remind them that we live in a free society and that is not going to change. …

This year I also understand why people on the right have fears. One visit to web sites like Daily Kos, Left Coaster, Huffington Post or Democratic Underground will open your eyes to some of the rhetoric is out of bounds. Many on these sites are not simply looking for success in November but to ‘purge the conservative movement’. These sites have hosted discussions of abolishing the Republican party and prohibiting anyone who voted Republican from having any rights in the future.

Of course these proposals are hardly likely to be acted upon, but the fact that these people sincerely hate anyone who disagrees with them is quite disturbing to say the least. Obviously the same kind of rhetoric has and does exist on the right but this year it seems a little stronger on the left, probably because they foresee victory and thus the ability to act on the ideas.

Except there is one proposal from the radical left, which obviously is under very serious consideration.

While many on the left were right to condemn those aspects of the Patriot Act that went too far in chilling free speech, some are now proposing a measure that would be equally restrictive.

The proposal is the so called Fairness Doctrine. While Obama has an least semi officially said he is not going to push the idea, many Democrats in Congress are firmly behind the idea. For those who don’t know the doctrine requires that media outlets give equal time to opposing views when they issue editorials.

On the surface it sounds somewhat reasonable, but when you look deeper you find that it is far from balanced.

For one thing it does not apply to any form of printed media. I think most of us would agree that the print media of newspapers and magazines is dominated by liberal views. This is not to say that there are not conservative publications out there, but most of them are liberal. Under the fairness doctrine none of these places would have to change anything or offer any space for opposing views.

Turning to television, I again think its fair to say that the liberal side is in the majority, though with Fox News there is a stronger conservative presence. The fairness doctrine would apply to television but only as far as opinions are being expressed. So NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, etc would be free to continue with their liberal slant in news while Fox would be free to continue with the conservative slant, at least in terms of straight news broadcasts.

Opinion shows would be forced to balance out, but again we would see most of the news broadcasts unchanged.

The real impact would be in the area of talk radio, where the conservatives are clearly in charge. THey would either have to offer equal time or shut down. So for every hour or Rush or Hannity you would need an hour of liberal views.

Thus looking at the 3 major segments of media (print, TV and radio) the fairness doctrine would do little to the first two but would dramatically impact the third, which just happens to be the major forum for center right viewpoints.

I am not a fan of the Limbaughs but I can certainly see why some on the right would look to this as an effort to basically suppress any opposing viewpoints. I don’t really expect Obama to do this any more than Bush did, but it doesn’t exactly look good to some on the right.

Be sure to vote next Tuesday.

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One Feedback on "Feel Comforted Now?"

Sallie Parker

A nice brutal Democrat tyranny could be a good thing. You can’t clean up America, let alone Western Civ, by logging into the LizardLounge or cheering a neocon who’s philosophically sound 51% the time. Long-term strategy and sustained physical courage are what’s needed, and the demographic profile of people with those traits (you know–the folks who cling to guns, religion, xenophobia) will inevitably shape and fortify the conservative moment.

Contrariwise, a McCain victory could be dangerous, just lulling the Right into another few years of weasel-wording, dissatisfied inaction.



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