Libs Long for 'Fairness' Daze

President Ronald Reagan axed the so-called Fairness Doctrine in 1987, and AM talk radio has thrived ever since. Well, for conservatives that is. And the left is all vexed and miffed because their humorless, talentless talkers can't hold an audience and sponsors. So what's a lib to do but use the government to silence the opposition?

Yesterday's stinging defeat of the immigration bill is sure to be the final goad that will spur the left to try to reinstate the doctrine. Regular Americans literally shut down Congress's phone lines to demand that a stake be driven through the immigration ghoul once and for all. Depending on your point of view, conservative talk radio is either the hero or the villain.

Last Sunday, Chris Wallace, host of Fox News Sunday, interviewed Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) together about the pending immigration bill and talk radio. Wallace began by playing an audio clip of Rush Limbaugh saying: “Talk radio is the American voter. That's what bothers Trent Lott.” Next, Wallace played a clip from Michael Savage saying: “Trent Lott saying today that 'talk radio is running America and we have to deal with that problem' is gangsterism.”

Wallace: Let's start with the controversy over talk radio, because, Sen. Lott, you stirred up quite a hornet's nest this week when you said this, “Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem.”

Sen. Lott: Dianne and I were just talking about that. One of the mistakes that we have made many times on legislation is it's introduced, it comes out of committee, we bring it to the floor. We never bother to explain what we're trying to do and what is in it. … I don't think this Fairness Doctrine that would try to require that there be X amount on both sides is fair. So you know, it's caused quite a stir, but, you know, it goes with the territory.

Lott tried to backpedal from his remarks, but Sen. Feinstein bullied on, carping about talk's “hyperbole” with some “explosive” hyperbole of her own:

Chris Wallace: “But let me ask you about yourself. Do you have a problem with talk radio, and would you consider reviving the Fairness Doctrine, which would require broadcasters to put on opposing points of view?”


Sen. Feinstein: “Well, in my view, talk radio tends to be one-sided. It also tends to be dwelling in hyperbole, it's explosive, it pushes people to, I think, the extreme views without a lot of information.”


Wallace: “Would you revive the Fairness Doctrine?”


Sen. Feinstein: “Well, I'm looking at 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.)

Feinstein isn't the only prominent Democrat to call for reimposing the Fairness Doctrine.  The second highest ranking Democrat in the Senate, Dick Durbin of Illinois, reportedly said this week that “it's time to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine.”  Massachusetts senator John Kerry, the most recent Democratic presidential nominee, said on NPR:  “I think the Fairness Doctrine ought to be there, and I also think the equal time doctrine ought to come back. I mean these are the people who wiped out – one of the most profound changes in the balance of the media is when the conservatives got rid of the equal time requirements, and the result is that, you know, they've been able to squeeze down and squeeze out opinion of opposing views, and I think it's been a very important contribution with the imbalance of our public dialogue.”

The left's fears bring to mind Tony Bennett's hit, If I Ruled the World. So, close your eyes and imagine “Di-Fi and the Dips”: Sen. Feinstein and her backup groaners, Daffy Dick Durbin and John Skiwi Kerry, with their rendition of If Talk Ruled the World:

If talk ruled the world, ev'ry day would bring the end of our fling

They would say we have no new thoughts to bring

And we cling to the lines only Franken can sling

If talk ruled the world, ev'ry lib would find it tough to be heard

Take our word we would lose each debate that occurred

Our world would be a right-wing free place

Where we could weave such liberal schemes

Talk's world would put a frown on our face

Like the voice on AM does when AM's free

If talk ruled the world every lib would find our reign is at end

There'd be misery that no law could end

No my friend, not if talk ruled the world

All our lies would be held up high

There'd be thunder in every lib's sky

If the day ever dawns when talk rules the world

Jan LaRue is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Culture and Media Institute.