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CA Group Wants To Silence Conservative Talk Radio

A community organization group called Citizens for Civility & Accountability in Media is calling for KMJ-AM, a Fresno, California station, to "alter their programming in order to curtail practices that we believe to be damaging to our social fabric and to civility in public discourse. While we agree the government must protect the rights of free speech we also believe that we, members of this community, have a right to speak out against hate speech."

"We are specifically concerned about the 90-plus weekly hours of prime-time programming comprising the shows of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levine [sic], Glenn Beck, Inga Barks, Ray Appleton and others."

"It has begun," declares Rush Limbaugh in a radio statement.

Local Media Don't Get Tea Party Invite

All politics might be local, but sometimes, sadly, media coverage of politics isn't.

The inaugural National Tea Party Convention got under way in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday, and world media of all stripes and political colors poured into the city to cover the three-day event.

That is mostly good news, because only a month ago, the event organizers were cherry-picking who would cover their event and, not surprisingly, most of those cherries were Republican Red.

After rethinking that one-way strategy, the Party bosses announced Thursday that they had, in fact, credentialed 111 members of the working press -- some from as far away as Japan.

"We desire transparency at this convention and have worked with media that are friendly to the Tea Party movement as well as those that have not been seen to be supportive of our efforts," convention spokesman Mark A. Skoda said.

Bravo for that, except in this case, transparency seems to work only if you are viewing the convention with a telescope.

Continue reading "Local Media Don't Get Tea Party Invite" »

The Hot Air over 'Fairness Doctrine'

Talk radio recently has been abuzz over the possible return of the Fairness Doctrine. First, Michigan senator Debbie Stabenow brought it up with Bill Press. Then Iowa's Tom Harkin did the same. Finally, former president Bill Clinton said this to Mario Solis Marich:

Well, you either ought to have the Fairness Doctrine or we ought to have more balance on the other side. Because essentially there's always been a lot of big money to support the right wing talk shows and let face it, you know, Rush Limbaugh is fairly entertaining even when he is saying things that I think are ridiculous.

President Obama could've put this dog to bed if he wanted to. After all, as a candidate, he let it be known that he's not interested in reimposing the Fairness Doctrine, which was abolished in 1987. But when given a chance to re-affirm that pledge, his senior adviser demurred.

When asked by Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday whether the Fairness Doctrine is coming back, Axelrod replied: "I'm going to leave that issue to Julius Genachowski, our new head of the FCC, to, and the president, to discuss. So I don't have an answer for you now."

Audio from Politico

It seems a mystery why the Obama administration would allow this issue to dangle out there like a pinata for the conservative radio crowd to whack at. Axelrod simply could've said, "No, the Fairness Doctrine is not coming back. We've got better things to do." Then it would've been dead. It's pretty obvious that there is no political will, either from Congress or the White House, to start something from which the Democrats have little to gain from. Even just the talk seems to galvanize their political adversaries.

The best I can gather is that by allowing the issue to be a hot topic, it takes some heat off the Obama administration on the highly-contested stimulus bill. But that's like assuming Limbaugh, Hannity, Boortz, et al, can't talk and chew gum at the same time. They have plenty of time to bash both.

Just a wild guess. Turn on your radio today to hear for yourself.

Return of 'Fairness Doctrine'?

Michigan senator Debbie Stabenow apparently has decided to be the flag-bearer of the "Fairness Doctrine" debate. Speaking to Bill Press (who lost his gig on Obama 1260 in Washington when the station switched from liberal talk to financial news), Stabenow couched her argument with the term "accountability":

BILL PRESS: Yeah, I mean, look: They have a right to say that. They've got a right to express that. But, they should not be the only voices heard. So, is it time to bring back the Fairness Doctrine?

SENATOR DEBBIE STABENOW (D-MI): I think it's absolutely time to pass a standard. Now, whether it's called the Fairness Standard, whether it's called something else -- I absolutely think it's time to be bringing accountability to the airwaves. I mean, our new president has talked rightly about accountability and transparency. You know, that we all have to step up and be responsible. And, I think in this case, there needs to be some accountability and standards put in place.

BILL PRESS: Can we count on you to push for some hearings in the United States Senate this year, to bring these owners in and hold them accountable?

SENATOR DEBBIE STABENOW (D-MI): I have already had some discussions with colleagues and, you know, I feel like that's gonna happen. Yep.

Audio from Politico

Stabenow has a vested interest in this issue. Her husband Tom Athans is currently the executive VP of Air America. The liberal radio network has never gained much of a foothold on the radio landscape that's dominated by conservatives. Air America, launched in 2004, has a scant 66 affiliates - compared with nearly 600 carrying the Rush Limbaugh Show.

Stabenow has an ally in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. President Obama, while he was a candidate, opposed the reimposition of the Fairness Doctrine, which was abolished by the FCC in 1987.