Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Biggest Headfake in the Democrats' Arsenal

It's the Fairness Doctrine ... and it's working like a charm.

Let's get this straight right off the bat: the Fairness Doctrine is done. It's an anachronism that will never see the light of day ever again. I hate it. Others hate it. And I seriously doubt it would ever be upheld by the Courts in the unlikely event it ever became law.

I used to think Democrats should just let it go and stop sounding so behind the times by bringing it up every now and then, but I've recently come to see the value in bringing the specter of the FD out of the mothballs from time to time. Here's why:

Conservative talk radio loves talking about the Fairness Doctrine for obvious reasons: it threatens the very way they do business. They get riled up about it. Their listeners get riled up about it. The talkers get to sell themselves as valiant defenders of liberty blah blah blah. It's all a very cute media kabuki dance that generates a ton of meaningless hot air over a complete non-issue.

So why am I warming up to Democrats talking about the FD from time to time? Because the GOP and talk radio fall for this red herring every time. Every minute they spend talking about the FD on the air is a minute lost talking about a real issue. Every minute devoted to predicting the impending end of free speech in America is a minute spent pissing away credibility when that end never comes. The talk radio audience will likely never tire of listening to stories around the campfire of the big, bad Fairness Doctrine, but voters will eventually pick up on the fact that conservative pundits seem more inclined to talk about something that no one else gives a damn about than important things, like the economy.

So here's my suggestion: find the ten or twenty Dems in the House and five or ten in Senate that actually support the FD and give them come up with some kind of schedule where every three weeks or so one of them goes on TV or issues a press release with some kind of cryptic pronouncement about the future of the Fairness Doctrine a d let talk radio go ape shit. "Blah blah blah -- I think we should look into something that ..." or "Ideally, what I'd like to see is...." etc. While that's happening, the Dems can get some real work done and when the furor dies down, they can wheel out another colleague who can jump start the cycle anew.

So by all means, give the talkers something to rage about. Let them valiantly stand up against a menace that doesn't exist. Hopefully the grown-ups will be able to se the reprive to take care of the real issues.

1 comment:

CJ said...

*L* Funny stuff JB.

Subliminal mumble,jumble. mumble jumble, economy, mumble jumble, bipartisan, mumble jumble, FAIRNESS DOCTRINE, guantanamo, peanut processor, CEO pay caps, mumble jumble, mumble.....

Fairness WHAT!!