What is the deal with attacking Rush Limbaugh?

In the past couple of weeks or so I have noticed an up tick in attacks on comedian Rush Limbaugh, especially coming from the White House and Democratic associated groups. I just don’t get it.

Rush is the voice of the Republicans? When has he not been? Did Democrats wake up one day, click on their radio, and say “What the fuc*???? Who is this person?”

But then again I don’t care. Democrats need a different plan.

Maybe it’s pay back for the attacks on the group Move On during their ad controversy in 2007. Or maybe the storm caused by the misuse of comments by General Wesley Clark about John McCain. It could even be a counter to the Swift boating of John Kerry in 2004.

It gets a lot of press because the villagers are looking for ways to give more press coverage to the GOP plus they have thousands of hours to fill on their cable channels and talk radio shows and not enough white young women go missing to keep fill that time. Besides Shark Week is in July.

Rush lies. The guy cherry picks his call ins. He is a bigot. He called Obama and Hillary pretty much every name in the book without losing his job. Probably 90% of his listeners are sheep and will never be reasoned with and they agree with all he says. Rush loves the attention and press coverage because he loves to play the victim. There is nothing new about Rush.

Using the power of the White House and the Democrats to attack the windbag is really like shooting fish in a barrel. And it has the same effect like sending another “strongly worded letter” from the Congress that we often saw during the final years of W’s term instead of Congress growing a pair and exerting some legislative power than comes from being in the majority.

The fact remains that the public voted and the GOP has nothing to offer. Rush has nothing to offer but cries of victim hood.

We have some serious issues to take care of and right now Rush and the GOP are irrelevant. They are a waste of time.

Here is an agenda I would like to see:

1. Ignore Rush Limbaugh – turn off the radio or enforce the Fairness Doctrine and a return to owner responsibility to the local community to provide a wide range of voices. Both items are still in the FCC rules.

2. Smack the GOP upside the head – have the Dem leadership explain “we gave them a chance and now we WILL do it our way…” Every time a Dem gets on a Sunday or Cable talk show and asked why they haven’t been “bi-partisan” they have to say “we gave them a chance and they refused to go along. If they want to participate our door is open but we won’t ask them any more because we don’t have to…” They need to say this EVERY FRICKING TIME when a microphone is shoved in their face. That’s how you frame a discussion.

3. If one of those Sunday or cable shows keep giving all the air time to the GOP refuse to accept an invite to one program as an example. Then hold a press conference outside the studio of that program and point out how one sided the talk shows are considering the reality outside the DC beltway.

4. Replace Senator Harry Reid with someone who will act like a majority leader in the Senate of the party with the majority. Maybe Reid just has a lot of lube left over from 2008?

I know it is hard to adapt to a new power structure but we need the Dems to learn fast and get on the stick or they will lose the chance the 2008 elections gave them.

Courier editorial is wrong about Fairness Doctrine

Friday night I was surfing the web and I checked out the site of WFIN 1330 AM located in my hometown of Findlay. I was checking out any new news since The Courier had published that day.

Along the right side of the screen was a large graphic with a link to a Courier editorial about “Talk Radio”.

Of course I clicked it.

I normally ignore Courier editorials because it is simply the paper’s view of some issue and I usually don’t care what their view is. This time I was compelled to respond. The editorial, published on 6/29, started:

For years it’s been driving the political left crazy that talk radio is dominated almost completely by conservatives.Now, with the 2008 election cycle already under way, Congressional Democrats are doing some talking of their own. Armed with a report released June 20 by the Center for American Progress (CAP), a liberal think tank run by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta, they want to bring back the Fairness Doctrine.

Talk Radio

This the 2nd Courier editorial where the use of certain buzz words concerned me. Mainly because The Courier has never tried to echo the Talk Radio shows its parent Findlay Publishing broadcasts on stations like WFIN.

It then continues:

Liberals have been trying for years to break into the talk show market, but most of their attempts have failed while conservative shows continue to thrive. Now, thanks to the CAP report, we know the reason: “Our conclusion is that the gap between conservative and progressive talk radio is the result of multiple structural problems in the U.S. regulatory system …” It then lists the requirements of the Fairness Doctrine.

In other words, the free market has nothing to do with it. The problem is that the government no longer forces radio stations to give equal time to “progressive” views.

The CAP report referred to in the editorial doesn’t support the use of the Fairness Doctrine and the report also offers evidence that an argument from “the free market” is also suspect.

The CAP report is quite clear why there is a lack of Progressive voices on Talk Radio:

Our view is that the imbalance in talk radio programming today is the result of multiple structural problems in the U.S.
regulatory system, particularly the complete breakdown of the public trustee concept of broadcast regulation resulting
from pro-forma licensing policies, longer license terms (to eight years from three years previously), the elimination of clear public interest requirements such as local public affairs programming, and the relaxation of ownership rules, including the requirement of local participation in management.

The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio June 22, 2007 Center for American Progress

The report makes the point that the Fairness Doctrine still is on the books at the FCC, it is just not enforced and that by itself, is not an effective means of restoring balance on the public airwaves.

Simply reinstating the Fairness Doctrine will do little to address the gap between conservative and progressive talk unless the underlying elements of the public trustee doctrine are enforced, in particular, the requirements of local accountability and the reasonable airing of important matters. The key principle here is not shutting down one perspective or another—it is making sure that communities are informed about a range of local and national public affairs.

And as to the argument about letting the free market decide, CAP offers a couple of examples that put the lie to that view:

More importantly, even in markets where progressive talk is considered a success by the industry standards of ratings and revenue, licensees will often broadcast conservative talk on three or four stations compared to one station for progressive talk. For example, in Portland, OR, where progressive talk on KPOJ AM 620 competes effectively with conservative talk on KEX AM 1190, station owners also broadcast conservative talk on KXL AM 750 and KPAM AM 860. Although there is a clear demand and proven success of progressive talk in this market, station owners still elect to stack the airwaves with one-sided broadcasting… In Ohio, for example, there are 10 radio markets. In eight of those markets, there is not a single hour of progressive talk. In the two markets that do broadcast a total of six hours of progressive talk (Al Sharpton on two urban talk stations), those hours compete against 52 hours of conservative talk. Clear Channel Communications, the ownership group that has committed the largest number of stations to the progressive format, recently canceled the only three progressive talk stations in the state of Ohio.

When 91 percent of the talk radio programming broadcast each weekday is solely conservative—despite a diversity of opinions among radio audiences and the proven success of progressive shows—the market solution has clearly failed to meet audience demand. Even greater deregulation and consolidation of radio station ownership is therefore not likely to meet audience desires or serve the public interest in any meaningful way.

The point was proven in one of the markets that had a progressive radio station. Here in Columbus, Clear Channel changed a station from Air America to all conservative. The company claimed ratings made them change, however the first ratings book after the change showed the station dead last out of 27 stations measured.

The main point in the CAP report and why I support a return to the enforcement of the Fairness Doctrine is to return to the public trustee concept of broadcast regulation. There needs to be a renewal of the idea that the air waves these stations use are “owned” by the people and so they need to serve the local interest and they need to offer all sides to a debate.

The trademark of our democracy is that we believe government should protect the minority from the whims of the majority and again since the frequencies a radio station uses is owned by the public (ie. the government) then it ought to reflect that idea. For a vibrant democracy to flourish there needs to be a collection of views available.

For every Rush Limbaugh a station broadcasts, there should be a show hosted by a local person allowing for local responses (like a call in line) and if that isn’t available then the station should offer a host like Randi Rhodes or both.

This post hasn’t really concerned itself with content too much. I do believe that all points of view should be available – even if I don’t like some of them but the truth needs to be told.

I highly doubt a majority of the public likes what passes for Talk Radio today. Most people listen like how most people slow down to view a traffic accident.

Talk Radio isn’t journalism. It’s just one long editorial and in a majority of cases rebuttals are not even considered and if they are the person presenting the “other side” is either a watered down version of it or they are simply shouted down. The so-called host can say whatever they want, no matter how wrong in fact they are, and no matter who they insult or hurt.

It just happens that most conservative hosts, including the Top 5, do this on a daily basis. It can be entertaining in a sick sort of way but it contributes nothing to democracy or to the public fabric.

No, I don’t listen to Glenn Beck

I discovered that this site was mentioned on the listener forum for conservative radio host Glenn Beck. So I checked it out.

To answer some of the questions posed by the readers there:

1. No, I don’t listen to Glenn Beck. I like thinking for myself and I don’t need to hear people parrot my views back to me. In fact I don’t listen to talk radio in general. I find 99% of it unbalanced in views and topics presented. I did once use to watch Rush Limbaugh on TV during his brief stint on TV (before the drugs). But mostly such people just make me angry and there is more to life than being angry all the time. Since I know shows like Beck’s will make me angry – and I will never be able to respond – I choose to not listen to them. Mainstream media does a great job of reporting what those hosts say so I know when Glenn is mad and what he is mad about – at least I don’t have to hear him talk about it.

2. I am not a “flaming” liberal. I do move left on social issues – like privacy and church and State separation – but you’d be surprised that I support capitalism as it is intended. I don’t support what passes for business ethics today but I want to see people be able to make money off their own labor – both business owners and workers. I also supported the Welfare Reform Act in 1996 even though it didn’t provide job training. A change was needed and that might shock some since a couple of times growing up our family was on welfare.

3. I didn’t finish college. That is true. I also think I am intelligent. Having a college degree doesn’t make one intelligent. I also have common sense and I use Carl Sagan’s Baloney Detector quite often. I left Ohio State with Senior status and 54 credits short of degree. I left for a couple of reasons – Ronald Reagan’s need to force me to take out massive student loans instead of increasing Pell Grants. I was also just tired and bored having entered college right from high school.

4. As for being an ass or looking down on those who don’t vote “liberal”, how one votes is up to them. What bothers me is some ignore the facts and only vote for superficial reasons like knowing the name of the person or just because they are from one particular party. Uninformed voters bother me. I am sorry if some think I come off as an ass. I have things to say and I want to be as truthful as possible – sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth. That isn’t my problem.

If you have any more questions feel free to ask and thanks for visiting.