Missing the forest; missing the trees

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Democratic effort to revitalize the Fairness Doctrine, which seems to have come to naught (although I suspect that, Zombie-like, it will rise again, and soon). I was therefore planning on doing a big post about the fact that Democrats seem to be unclear on the freedom of speech concept, since many of them (Feinstein and Kerry to name two) keep hammering away at the fact that people aren’t being nice when they get the chance to speak in a free market. Apparently their itty-bitty feewings are getting hurt, showing how far they’ve come from Truman’s ability to withstand political heat.

I got sidetracked from my original idea for a Fairness Doctrine post, however, when I followed a Matt Drudge link entitled “Pelosi ‘solidly’ behind getting Fairness Doctrine back…” That link took me to this post at a website called Seeing the Forest : A web magazine investigating how the Right is beating the Dems. The website is written from the liberal perspective (one of the authors identifies himself as “a left-wing Democrat with a strong aversion for conservative trolls”), so it must be understood as a serious effort to advance liberal political beliefs and counter what it sees as the conservative ideology’s perplexing refusal to go away and die in quiet.

After I read the specific post to which Drudge directed me, a post that summarizes a chat liberal bloggers had with Nancy Pelosi, it struck me that Liberals may be suffering from Purloined Letter syndrome, in that, even though it’s right in front of them, they don’t see the answer to their own question. The problem isn’t that conservatives have such good ideas; it’s that Democrats have such bad ideas.  To demonstrate that point, I’ve selected portions of the Pelosi interview, and interlineated my comments about why liberals might not be winning as many friends and influencing as many people as they believe they ought:

She [Pelosi] is introducing a major energy package, talked about the “Greening of the Chairmen” of the committees, this bill has CAFE standards, the beginnings of an energy tax… More coming in September. [Right off the bat, you’ve got to question how much headway you’re going to make with a brand new tax just as people are beginning to doubt whether humans are actually responsible for global warming.]

John Aravosis asked about the anti-gay amendment in the DC funding bill, Speaker Pelosi pointed out that the Democratic Congress just got LGBT language added to the Hate Crimes act, that they will take this amendment out in conference. [All decent people decry crimes of violence against anyone, regarding of race, religion, sexual orientation, etc., but a lot of people have a problem with saying that some crimes of violence are worse than other crimes of violence, and that the victim’s identity is going to determine just how bad the crime is. Many would prefer to see assault and battery punished harshly across the board, without special exceptions for special victims.]

She said she is determined to end the war, it is her top priority, no one would have believed that she could have gotten all the Dems in such unity to pass the timelines that Bush vetoed and that they are going to announce legislation in the next day or two putting hard timelines, not goals, back into the funding. [The Democrats have a serious problem in that they appear incapable of addressing what might happen after they succeed int having American troops withdraw immediately from Iraq.  As it is, most people recognize that the doings in Gaza illustrate on a smaller scale precisely what will happen in Iraq should America abruptly disengage. Indeed, the average person might have noticed that man-on-the-street Palestinians have wished the Jews would come back — to make things better. Until the Dems come up with something better than “we’re slinking away,” an attitude that raises the specter of either Cambodia’s Killing Fields or Gaza’s blood bath, the Dems are going to have a hard time selling swift withdrawal to the fundamentally decent American public.]

***

Taylor Marsh asked about the Fairness Doctrine and Rep. Spence’s amendment to prohibit enforcement of the fairness doctrine on conservative talk radio. Speaker Pelosi said this will not come to the floor, that she is solidly behind bringing back the Fairness Doctrine. Update – correction The wording was along the lines of Rep. Slaughter has made this her work to restore it (Fairness Doctrine), Pence’s bill won’t make it to the floor; they won’t be able to stop the Fairness Doctrine through his bill, everyone knows my position on this. [Democrats are ignoring Americans’ romance with the the First Amendment’s grant of free speech. Savvy members of the public may even know that the Fairness Doctrine dates back to a time when there were three national TV networks, a small AM array of stations, and no FM usage at all, which was a marketplace so claustrophobically small as not to be a marketplace at all.  In this day and age, even if one ignores the conservative belief that the MSM itself is a liberal media Paradise, it’s ridiculous to insist that liberals don’t get a fair crack at the listening public when one considers (a) that there are 500 TV channels out there; (b) FM radio opened dozens of radio channels in each market; (c) the major networks are in free fall; (d) Air America was unable to survive in an open market; and (e) the blogsphere’s existence. There are practically as many channels and ways to get information to the American public as there are Americans. Government does not need to get into the business of mandating the minutes and hours that need to be allocated to each party in each of these media.]

***

Let the process work out. The courts are not friendly to us – the DC court is packed with judges who are “all in the family” (She means far-right Federalist Society judges that always, always rule for Republicans.) Their decisions will not be in our favor and will set precedents if we are not careful. [Judges don’t need to be “friendly” to anyone. Their job is to interpret the law as written. I’ve blogged before, at length, about the fact that liberals, who want judges to pass laws rather than interpret them, seem incapable of understanding that rulings interpreting law do not preclude legislators from doing their job — that is, enacting laws the people favor.]

So the Democrats, per the Democratic Speaker of the House, are for (a) more taxes; (b) laws saying all crimes are equal but some crimes are more equal than others; (c) a withdrawal that will make Gaza look like a picnic; (d) a shut-down on free political speech; and (e) judges who legislate in a fashion “friendly” to the Democrats. Maybe that explains why, to the bewilderment of the Seeing the Forest team, “the Right is beating the Dems.”

3 Responses

  1. The dems see defeat as not getting exactly what they want. Which is comparative to how they see Iraq.

  2. There’s a fundamental problem for the liberals regarding radio in particular: it’s first and foremost a business. It’s the marketplace. And before you can begin to espouse any point of view, you have to be at least somewhat entertaining, or agreeable, or enjoyable – or however you’d like to phrase it – to translate into popularity sufficient to find a niche that is large enough to be both visible to and measurable by the ratings services.

    The terms of the “Fairness Doctrine” are inherently met by the business. The doctrine demands equal access. Well, the liberals have precisely the same opportunity in this arena that anyone else does, as their recent start-up of an entire network demonstrates. The even more recent complete failure of that network demonstrates that they are insufficiently interesting, or entertaining, or whatever. M

    It is a competitive business, in which you must compete, and the liberals have so far been abject failures.

    The fascinating thing about this is, people seem to think this indicates something about the unfairness of the business. It doesn’t. As I would have thought even children could figure out (Mr. Kerry? Mr. Lott?) what it indicates is the choice of the marketplace. Yes, it IS a “popularity contest,” that’s precisely what it is. That’s precisely what radio and TV ratings are.

    But I love the fact that when liberals are unable to compete – in this as in so many other areas – their solution isn’t to come out with a better product: it’s inevitably to invoke government regulation, and change the rules of the market.

    What a fascinating world they live in!

  3. All your arguments about the many, many choices available today vs then miss the point: the Dems want to kill talk radio and force radio back to music.

    No logic, no facts, no history lesson is going to deter them. The will not tolerate any news medium that they don’t control anymore than the USSR did in the old days.

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