So-called progressives' cry against AM radio: anti-free market rules are pro-free speech

The recent assault on talk radio by progressives (so-called) has also produced comments that moderate reporting, or non-biased to non-media people, is boring. That's just one of the little offshoots of this odd agenda being taken up right now.

I have a serious problem with this. This is the worst of what liberalism, or progressivism, or whatever you call it, has to offer. It shows the broader goal they look toward: to run things without a care of free markets or consumer and market guided business. It's called overregulating. They are for it. I am against underregulating, but this is no better. Nooo better!

The playground rules of equal time at bat is now being pushed for radio. Have you ever listened to AirAmerica? I once listened to a ten-minute assault on Barbara Bush, back in January 2009, calling her mean and vicious and alleging all sorts of profane things about her. I think they actually referred to her as fat at one point. I mean, it was foul and just mean. Why? How appealing is it that these "radio personalities" go after the MOTHER of the current president! Little wonder this stuff dies in the free market! Crude, and more ironically juvenile than Pee Wee's Playhouse (or, for that matter, more juvenile than Glenn Beck's radio show some days, when he does the cynical, half-funny "America's favorite game show" segments)!

Since the free market does not exist for these pro-overregulation clowns, there's ongoing debate of 'conservative' radio vs. fairness doctrine for radio. Not papers & TV, but just radio! Would force far left liberal - oh wait, 'progressive' - radio on radio stations. For what? Their future economic success?!!

They call it a 'system' of companies. Bull. Air America not a company, then? It ignores the biz law of what sells ads, which certainly TRUMPS any 'BALANCE' LAW. Ask any struggling paper just how much ads determine their life or death! Or, any radio station! This smacks of collectivism, where the media would be controlled by the all-knowing, all-controlling hand of government. Period.

I would welcome more successful liberal radio, because the so-called progressives are being so oddly anti-business, anti-free market, and inferring communist ideals in their hassling of radio stations and their owners that it smacks of outright shameless envy and jealousy. They will apparently stop only short of cutting power sources to radio stations with this assault on AM radio. (I should avoid mentioning that some areas, such as Nashville, Tenn., have excellent FM talk stations.)

Think Progress » Dear Rush Limbaugh, Why Are You Hell-Bent On Protecting A Radio Market That Limits Free Speech?
(First of all, HAAA! What a headline! Can you guess where that's going? Duh!)

ThinkProgress asked the authors of the original report to respond to Limbaugh. Two co-authors, CAP’s John Halpin and Free Press’s Josh Silver, gave us this response:

Dear Rush Limbaugh:

We have a straightforward question, which we hope you will answer in a straightforward way: When a handful of major media companies control who and what is allowed to be broadcast on the commercial dial, how is that not regulation of radio content? When these same companies then push out one-sided, right-wing information 90 percent of the time, how does that uphold freedom of expression?

Those of us at CAP, Free Press and other public interest organizations do not want to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine and we definitely do not want to limit free speech. We want more of it. You and other conservatives seem more interested in protecting a system that does the exact opposite.

If Limbaugh wants a debate, let’s have it.

Go ahead and call him, debate it! Please! There's only a few of you who could manage to handle it! But debate? Good luck with that. Rhetoric as what comes from ThinkProgess will not play for success on this issue. I think it would bore his listeners if he waited until these closeted big govt freaks had the nerve to call him and offer something remotely close to a civil, topical argument about this subject.

In the piece they at once call these "commercial stations", yet bluntly claim that they "push" an agenda? How is it that they are making any money, then? Somebody must be advertising on the stations! So all the advertisers are conservatives, too, and there's some secret handshake of advertisers and listeners who support those businesses?

Their presumption falls on its face, it seems, and they surely must know it. How can dashing free market ideals for their version of a "free" (wink) media possibly pass muster under authentic public debate? These pro-controlled airwaves (oh, but ONLY radio!) people are tossing rocks, and keeping their distance, they are not offering a debate.

Liberals have most of TV in their back pockets. Viewership of news on TV is lowering, for them. MSNBC is the laughed-at geek among all TV news entities, and steeply liberal. It is rising generally, we learned recently from viewership reports, but MSNBC is comparably rising far less than FOX News. Fox News is of course another media outlet despised by liberals. This one is disliked for simply not being liberal rather than for its being rampantly conservative -- but don't try to tell any of them that, they're too busy calling it racist, fascist and owned by "the Man". These same liberals pan PBS and NPR for being too moderate, too. Shame. I like both of those, and appreciate their reporting. Funny, I thought reporting was meant to be objective as possible, but plenty of progressives -- and a few blow-hard counterparts on the far right -- call objectivity boring. So much for news reporting and "boring" old journalism!

Liberals lay claim to the majority of large newspapers in the nation, and seem to be doing just fine with not forcing "balance" on those media. So, what gives? Not debate, that's for sure! Can you imagine if conservative talk radio hosts started insisting that such action be taken to level the playing field on television, or in major newspapers, what would happen? Can you imagine if someone allegedly legitimate tried -- seriously, not as a joke -- to petition HBO to have a counterbalance to the Bill Maher show?

How is it that AM radio, which is for some the mocked poster child for old technology, gets so much attention from these folks for abuse of free markets? Isn't this a bit like hilariously odd, like a liberal faction of our government demanding that we invade the Phillipines?

Perhaps they are doing this since they simply want to win the ubiquitous debate, not actually have one. You know, like Chavez holds elections, and supporters take control of gov't buildings while the election happens to show their support. They'll debate it, but only on their terms. "I'll debate you any time! Just submit the questions three days ahead of time, please!"

I really wish I could resist reacting to any particularly stupid fringe ideas for control, at either edge, but I cannot help it when they are conceptually bizarre and insincere as this is. Who'd have thought that AM radio was the chief threat to the First Amendment!

- jR

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(rev. Feb. 24, 2009)

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