Wow: Drilling In the Arctic Wildlife Refuge (Wasteland) Approved By the Senate | Main | Blame the Jews: Death-Penalty Convictions Challenged Due To Practice of Excluding Jewish Jurors
March 16, 2005

I Have Come Not to Bury Dan Rather But To Praise Him

Interesing post-obituary article on Dan Rather.

It seems his testimony helped end the Fairness Doctrine, and thereby advanced his ability to be as liberal as he wanted to be... but also for conservatives to offer their opinions without being mealy-mouthed about them:

Dan Rather provided key expert testimony that figured prominently in the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine in August 1987. Some might suggest that by doing so, he unleashed a tide of real diversity in the opinion and news business, and thus helped seal the fate of his infamous 60 Minutes report on President Bush's National Guard service. And some would be right--but this irony does nothing to detract from Rather's important contribution to the demise of an egregious obstacle to the freedom of the press.

The Fairness Doctrine, instituted in 1949, mandated that each radio or TV station (a) feature news and (b) offer balanced perspectives. The penalty for noncompliance was, potentially, the loss of a license, thus encouraging broadcasters to offer news and opinion only in their mildest, least controversial form. Yet, the reigning assumption was that speech was being protected by the Fairness Doctrine, not inhibited.

...

What led the FCC to this bold move was a 1985 report documenting the doctrine's "chilling effect" on speech.

One historical gem it contained was the campaign launched by the Democratic National Committee after the 1963 Nuclear Test Ban Treaty encountered populist opposition. The Kennedy-Johnson administration blamed conservative radio shows, initiating (through the DNC) a system to monitor the airwaves and file extensive "fairness" complaints. As one operative later testified: "Our massive strategy was to use the Fairness Doctrine to challenge and harass right-wing broadcasters" into silence. The FCC concluded that the Fairness Doctrine provided "a pervasive and significant impediment to the broadcasting of controversial issues," and that news broadcasts and diverse viewpoints would flourish in its absence.

The prediction was dead on. Informational formats (news, talk, and public affairs), just 7 percent of all AM stations in 1987, jumped to 28 percent in 1995--dramatic statistical evidence of the doctrine's chilling effect.



digg this
posted by Ace at 05:10 PM

| Access Comments




Recent Comments
Bitter Clinger and All That (Back from the Dead): "Any one pops up next to me in a mask is going to g ..."

filbert: "[i]The Revolution will not have table manners! Po ..."

rickb223 [/s][/b][/i][/u]: "If we're going to have a pi fight, can we at least ..."

ScoggDog: "[i]Sorry CBD. My excuse is, I have the flu and am ..."

Axeman: "The Revolution will not have table manners! ..."

torabora: "So Tom Steyer is going to use his billion$$$$ to a ..."

Tami[/i][/b][/s][/u]: "44 Still can't believe the great state of Indiana ..."

Grump928(C): "I'm of an age where I expected, and was expected, ..."

Pajama Boy: "Two. I did [i]two[/i] pushups. Now for that pi. ..."

grammie winger -The Cubs Suck Again: "When we have an obvious troll, please don't copy i ..."

J.J. Sefton: " 206 *After 30 seconds of gunfire* I changed m ..."

filbert: "If we're going to have a pi fight, can we at least ..."

Recent Entries
Search


MuNuvians
Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
News/Chat
Archives
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64