[Sen. DIANNE FEINSTEIN]: This is a very complicated bill. It's seven titles. Most people don't know what's in this bill. Therefore, to just have one or two thing dramatized and taken out of context, such as the word amnesty--we have a silent amnesty right now, but nobody goes into that. Nobody goes into the flaws of our broken system.
This bill fixes those flaws. Do I think there should be an opportunity on talk radio to present that point of view? Yes, I do, particularly about the critical issues of the day.
CHRIS WALLACE: So you would revive the fairness doctrine?
FEINSTEIN: Well, I'm looking into it. As a matter of fact, Chris, because I think there ought to be an opportunity to present the other side. And unfortunately, talk radio is overwhelmingly one way.
-- Fox News Sunday, June 24, 2007 [via Askew ]
1) I don't think it helps supporters of the immigration bill to broaden the fight by adding a threat to regulate radio speech;
2) What will they do about Internet radio, which isn't "scarce" the way broadcast frequencies are (giving the government no excuse to regulate it to ensure "fairness")?
3) Fox News stages another no-holds-barred discussion between a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform (Feinstein) and ... a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform (Lott)! On Fox, anyway, a Fairness Doctrine would help the yahoos;
4) Did the Fairness Doctrine encourage centrist solutions? When Congress failed to pass the SALT treaty in the Carter years--with the Fairness Doctrine in full force--weren't there similar complaints about the inability to get sensible moderate measures enacted? I remember Lloyd Cutler publishing a Foreign Affairs article or two. Then in 1987 the Fairness Doctrine was abolished. That was followed shortly by an explosion of right-wing talk radio and then the most successful bipartisan reform in recent history, the 1996 welfare reform. Maybe the problem isn't the loss of the Fairness Doctrine and the inability of the enlightened bipartisan elite to present its nuanced, complex, and contextualized views. Maybe the problem is that this time the enlightened bipartisan elite is pushing a bad bill (not that it was all that enthusiastic about the GOP-drafted 1996 welfare bill either).
P.S.: John Rosenberg notes that Feinstein went on to say that:
I remember when there was a fairness doctrine, and I think there was much more serious correct reporting to people.
"Correct reporting." Do not forget this highly mockable phrase! Does she mean "correct reporting" like Tim Russert's? ...
**--Freeload Disclosure: I attended the opening night dinner of the recent Annnenberg "Cease Fire-Bridging the Partisan Divide" conference. I had a great time. But the self-congratulatory BS level was off the charts. You can judge for yourself. ... 12:31 P.M.
Saturday, June 23, 2007