Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Political scientists know that while Americans are sick and tired of the political climate in Washington , our often derided, two-party system is nothing new.

Our current viable, political parties, the Democrats and the GOP, are descendants of the fathers of American politics, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton.

Since the country was conceived, these two factions have taken different names and have had different positions make their way in and out of their party’s platforms.

However, the core beliefs, which have been passed down from the Hamiltonians and the Jeffersonians to the Democrats and the Republicans of today are still very much intact.

Hamilton, whose political lineage can be connected to the Republican Party of today, believed that government’s primary function should be to facilitate freedom among the people.

Jefferson’s belief was that the government needed to make equality among the people its first priority. This mindset is still prominent among today’s Democrats.

As history shows, the two political dogmas have been used over the years to create the world's most just and most free society.

Fom time to time, we have seen one side take priority over the other in order to solve problems which threaten the very fabric of society itself such as the problems of war or slavery.

Once these problems are solved however, the two tend to hover back to their well-balanced positions which have kept America free and prosperous for the last two centuries.

The modern Democrats used Jefferson’s principles of equality to acquire for blacks the rights and tools that they deserved and required, so that they could share in America’s prosperity. The civil rights movement ensured that African-Americans were no longer second-class citizens.

The problem arises from the fact that since the end of segregation and the successes of FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society, the modern Democrats still haven’t put the brakes on the equalization train.

Damaging policies intended to convince those who were once left out of society that they are still at a disadvantage have become the norm and have produced little more than political benefit for those proposing them.

Programs to redistribute wealth and to keep the antiquated policy of Affirmative Action alive are perfect examples of these Jeffersonian ideals gone mad.

The most telling example of this trend however, is the recent talk of the reinstitution of the Fairness Doctrine.

What makes the proposed resurrection of the Fairness Doctrine particularly grotesque is that rather than being intended to equalize things among the citizens of the nation, it is instead intended to benefit one particular political party which controls the legislative process.

This incredibly bad idea, which was rightfully put to sleep by Ronald Reagan in the 80’s, has been dug up and is being repeatedly shocked, Dr. Frankenstein style, by liberals everywhere.

The Center for American Progress, a far left think tank, in a 40-page study released last week reached the shocking conclusion that--are you ready for this?--talk radio is overwhelmingly conservative.

Well, duh! You guys needed 40 pages to prove THAT?!!

Democrats picked up on this incredible revelation and began what appears to be a covert effort lead by Senators Barbara Boxer and Hillary Clinton to drain the power of conservative talk radio through government mandate.

They intend to do this by requiring that any station which broadcasts a conservative talk radio show also dedicate an equal amount of time to “opposing viewpoints.” This, of course, would require that stations which broadcast conservative talk, also put an equal number of liberal talk shows on their programming schedule.

Liberals have long been irked at the power of conservative radio personalities who have been able to energize and mobilize the Republican Party base as well as convert disaffected Democrats.

What makes this relatively recent development more irksome to the Democrats is that every attempt they have made to develop a politically-oriented radio army of their own has been a complete and utter failure.

This despite the fact that privately-funded projects such as Air America were given tons of positive, free media exposure when they launched.

The theme is a recurring one among Democrats. Because the people don’t know what’s good for them, government must interfere and force us to consume what they feel we need. In their opinion, what we need is exposure to more left wing ideology.

Their arguments are weak to the point of absurdity.

One specious left wing argument is that the presence of conservative talk radio gives the GOP an unfair advantage during elections.

This argument does not take into account the left’s domination of most of the editorial pages of the nation’s major newspapers, NPR, the nightly network news, and the blogosphere.

If the GOP ever proposed legislation to force The New York Times to run a piece by Bill O’Reilly next to every column by Paul Krugman, the left wouldn’t hesitate to label the move a fascist power grab and an assault on freedom of the press.

If for every movie by Michael Moore that was released in theaters, a movie with an opposing viewpoint had to be released on the same number of screens, movie executives would be throwing themselves off the Hollywood sign in droves.

That’s where the left’s next argument comes in. They argue that because the radio airwaves are a “limited national resource,” ownership of which can be controlled by government in trust for the public, the content generated by such stations can also be regulated. Remember, the Democrats translate “the public” to mean the government first and the people second.

The truth is that whether or not access to broadcast licenses are controlled by the government, the content which is broadcast over the airwaves is controlled by market forces, just as the content of the rest of the media is.

Regulation of political analysis on a radio station is no different from the regulation of a newspaper editorial page. Both should be unconstitutional under the First Amendment. The government can regulate how the trees which are used to make the paper are cut down, but not what is printed on the paper itself.

What’s really at play here is politics. The Democrats say they want to even the playing field, but the truth is that the “playing field” is already even. In fact, in terms of reaching people through different media outlets, the “playing field” is currently still slanted overwhelmingly to the left.

As if any further evidence of this was required, one need only look at the list released last week showing where political contributions made by those in the media end up. The answer, by a ratio of 9 to 1, was, of course, in the pockets of Democratic candidates.

What the Democrats are aiming to do in this situation is to gain an advantage by taking away one of the Republicans' most effective tools. That’s all there is to it.

When Liberals are put on the radio and begin touting their views, listeners generally tune out. This drains money from the station’s advertises. Under the Fairness Doctrine, stations would only be able to broadcast profitable programs for half the day. Station owners would inevitably be forced to change their format.

Lawmakers know this, a fact which leads us to the most ironic part of the situation.

Recognizing that it is market forces that have lead to the rise and success of conservative talk radio, Clinton, Boxer and others are hoping to implant a virus within the system. This poison pill would turn the market forces against the industry, eventually leading to its demise.

Since Rush Limbaugh became a political force in the early 90’s, those on the left have reviled conservative talk radio and have attempted to label it as misleading and hate-filled.

The awful truth, however, is that conservative talk radio was born out of a dereliction of duty by the mainstream media, much of which to this day seems incapable of covering politics in a fair and balanced fashion. In other words, conservative talk radio polices the police.

In addition, conservative talk radio has led thousands to become interested in politics and to become more politically informed. It is true that there is a fair amount of political cheerleading, unchecked sources and embellishment that comes from the mouths of the enormous egos which have access to those afternoon microphones. But such programs are still far more educational and informative than any “rock block” or “shock jock” on the dial.

Indeed, Hamilton and Jefferson would be ashamed. While they disagreed passionately, even to the point of hating each other personally, they would never have attempted to stifle speech simply because an opponent’s speech was unpopular.

Moreover, the fact that only two major parties exist in this country does not entitle (Oh, there's that word again. Funny that it should show up here.) one party to benefit from a special government regulation while excluding all of the others parties from that privilege.

If you give liberals and Democrats equal time, does not fairness require that you give Communists, Socialist, Libertarians, Anarchists, Scientologists, The Black Panther Party and The Wi
ccan Brotherhood for the Legalization of Cannabis, equal time on the AM soapbox.

Surely, the Democrats are not saying that their views are more deserving of radio time than those of these minority parties. The Republicans certainly aren’t saying that. All we’re saying is that in a democracy, the people are supposed to decide and those people have consistently decided that they want to listen to conservative thinkers on the radio and not liberal ones.

When radio first came on the scene it was determined that those who were permitted to use the radio airwaves were expected to serve the “public interest.” I encourage them to continue to do so, keeping in mind that the public has shown that they have no “interest” whatsoever in liberal talk radio or the Fairness Doctrine.

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Good article. Good writing in general Falling Panda. And I do listen to talk radio. And I don't read newspapers or look at the evening news anymore.