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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

GOP to Free Speech: Drop Dead

Rush Limbaugh and his minions in the right wing fear and smear machine are feeling some heat. What other conclusion can you draw when Republican lawmakers are fiddling with legislation that would use the law to maintain their superiority on the airwaves.

It's really easy to mark when the Right Wing Hate Machine got rolling. In 1985, the Reagan-appointed Federal Communications Commission eliminated the Fairness Doctrine. That provision of the Communications Act of 1934 made sure all sides of an issue received an airing in the public airwaves.

In convoluted logic, the Regan FCC ruled the doctrine designed to ensure fairness actually eliminated it. In reality, the reverse was true because the airwaves became the domain of right wing talkers who no longer needed to worry about presenting "the other side."

In Massachusetts, the phenomenon led to the rise of "The Governors," long-time talker Jerry Williams, anti-tax crusader Barbara Anderson and then up-and-coming Herald columnist Howie Carr. The Governors sank the mandatory seat belt law and made Michael Dukakis' life miserable.

It should be noted (in fairness of course) that the right side of the political spectrum moved into a void created by a lack of competition from the left -- a distortion that exists today even as the left learned to use the blogosphere.

Which brings us back to today -- and right wing fears that the left may be capable of mounting a challenge on the airwaves. So in true anti-democratic spirit (both upper and lower case D) the GOP has a solution:
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has said broadcasters should be required to give listeners both sides of political issues so voters can make informed decisions.

Conservatives fear that forcing stations to make equal time for liberal talk radio would cut into profits so severely that radio executives would choose to scale back on conservative programming to avoid rising costs and interference from the government.
The cause is aided by the fact that Limbaugh is now getting a taste of his own medicine. The OxyContin Head -- who regularly disparaged the patriotism of anyone who disagrees with the Bush administration talking points he parrots daily -- is now under siege on his own. His mistake: calling servicemen and women who oppose the war they are fighting "phony soldiers."

Limbaugh, who escaped military service because of a pilonidal cyst (basically a sore tail bone) is now facing some of the medicine he has dished out over the years.

Enter the congressional dittoheads, looking to cut off efforts to restore sanity (and fairness) to our public discourse.

It is important to note many of these same Republicans refuse to consider alternatives to the endless Bush war and stymie votes to bring about change. But they do have time to protect Rush.

What would Rush call them if they were Democrats? A hypothetical question to be sure, because they believe in censorship, not democracy.

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