Kucinich: Congress To Take On FCC
Over the weekend, the National Conference for Media Reform was held in Memphis, TN, with a number of notable speakers on hand for the event. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) made an surprise appearance at the convention to announce that he would be heading up a new House subcommittee which will focus on issues surrounding the Federal Communications Commission.
The Presidential candidate said that the committee would be holding "hearings to push media reform right at the center of Washington.” The Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the House Government Reform Committee was to be officially announced this week in Washington, D.C., but Kucinich opted to make the news public early.
In addition to media ownership, the committee is expected to focus its attention on issues such as net neutrality and major telecommunications mergers. Also in consideration is the "Fairness Doctrine," which required broadcasters to present controversial topics in a fair and honest manner. It was enforced until it was eliminated in 1987.
Kucinich said in his speech that "We know the media has become the servant of a very narrow corporate agenda" and added "we are now in a position to move a progressive agenda to where it is visible."
FCC Commissioner Michael Copps was also on hand at the conference and took broadcasters to task for their current content, speaking of "too little news, too much baloney passed off as news. Too little quality entertainment, too many people eating bugs on reality TV. Too little local and regional music, too much brain-numbing national play-lists." Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein also spoke at the event.
At its very best this is an example of Liberal “Nannyism” run amok. “Too little quality entertainment, too many people eating bugs on reality TV
.” How is that any worse than “Dallas”
when it comes to “little quality entertainment”?
At its worst it is an attack on free speech
From the very beginning the attempt to repeal the Fairness doctrine scared liberal Democrats and they tried twice during the Regan and subsequent Bush administrations to legislate the doctrine into law. Both attempts were vetoed.
With the elimination of the Fairness doctrine millions of conservatives discovered they weren’t limited to the fringes and conservative talk radio finally gave voice to those who’d felt disenfranchised. There is amply reason to credit a large part of the Republican take over of Congress in 95 to conservative talk radio.
And now the Democrats see a golden opportunity to go back to the old days of giving the opposition “equal time” to respond. A formula guaranteed to kill talk radio, especially
conservative talk radio, as it exists today.
Of course, reinstatement of the Fairness doctrine would also kill off liberal talk radio like "Air America." But in light of the failure of "Air America" I'm sure that sacrifice will be viewed as minimal by Kucinich .
A few years ago I would have scoffed at the possibility that this could come about. After McCain Feingold however, I have to admit to some trepidations.
Since I don’t believe that the current congress can muster enough votes to overcome a veto, the Democrats will resort to “business as usual.” When liberal Democrats fail to achieve a goal in the arena of public opinion invariably they try to achieve that goal through liberal courts and rule changes.
This will be watched closely.