Dear House Democrats bumped





Conservatives fear that forcing stations to make equal time for liberal talk radio would slash profits and pressure radio executives to scale back on conservative programming to avoid escalating costs and interference from government regulators. Opponents of the Fairness Doctrine argue that radio stations would suffer financially if forced to air liberal as well as conservative programs because liberal talk radio has not proven popular or profitable. For example, Air America, liberals’ answer to “The Rush Limbaugh Show” and Michael Medved, filed for bankruptcy in October. …

Fairness Doctrine hammered 309-115

It’s nice to have a microphone. Those that do are going to protect it. I understand that and wouldn’t expect otherwise. Unfortunately, everyone is yapping about the free market place without understanding that there’s close to a radio freeze out going on for any liberal trying to get in. It sure didn’t help that Air America went bust on a bad business model. Then you’ve got conservatives afraid of what liberals being given open access to microphones across this country would mean. To top it all, you’ve got extremely dumb Democrats that don’t understand the value of terrestrial radio, or actually belittle the influence. But this vote on the Fairness Doctrine isn’t surprising, at least not to me. The conversation about the Fairness Doctrine was only a means to get the radio debate started again. The real issue revolves around media consolidation, not that Democrats give a crap. They’re still completely clueless, at least so far and I’ve been watching this for well over ten years.

But thanks so very much.

Really.

Appreciate this a lot, Rep. Obey. You’ve even got The Hill quoting you, even though you have no clue what you’re talking about.

Not only did you opine ignorantly on the House floor, but you gave the wingnuts
the sound bites they could only dream of getting. Ms. Malkin offered the
transcript
of the debate, with Sean Hannity playing the audio as accompaniment
to a Newt Gingrich interview on his radio show, then continuing on “Hannity & Colmes.” Coming soon after wingnut radio,
legislators and bloggers joined together to pull Republicans away from the immigration
bill and defeat their own party’s president, I can’t tell you how enlightened
you sounded.

Obey: I want to see Rush Limbaugh and Sean (Hannity) them bloviate in all
their glory. Everyone knows he’s plugged in to Republican National Headquarters.
He’s thoroughly discredited and I’d like to keep it that way.
Let right-wing talk radio go on just as it is now. Rush and Sean are just
about as important in the scheme of things as Paris Hilton.”

Pence: The bipartisan vote that I expect will be recorded today will be an
encouragement…that we believe in freedom on the airwaves.

Obey: This is a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.

Here’s the thing. You’re wrong. Dead wrong. So miserably wrong it’s hard to
know where to start, except to say that millions and millions of people know
you are wrong, so hearing your words was no doubt just a hoot for them. However,
after talking for years about the importance of radio what I heard didn’t really
surprise me, though I thought we’d made at least some headway on the
talk radio issue.

As for Speaker Pelosi, she was caught totally off guard today. Found completely flat footed on this issue. She said on the phone to me during a conference call that Pence’s amendment hadn’t reached her level and assured me that it wouldn’t go anywhere. Then shazaam! Tonight a vote and the Dems join the wingnuts slamming the Fairness Doctrine. Conservatives got mobilized before Speaker Pelosi even knew there was an issue at hand.

Again, not surprising, because the Fairness Doctrine was a means to an end. But the fact remains that when a Democratic majority in the House gets taken on an issue like this you really have to wonder if anyone is really paying attention. It’s not like talk radio is unimportant. Regardless of Obey’s ignorance about it and Speaker Pelosi’s nonchalance, I assure you Rush and Sean have more sway than Paris Hilton. Check the immigration bill outcome if you doubt me.

The thing is that blogs can’t do everything.

Legislators, you know, senators and congressmen and women, can’t either.

But when you get everyone working together on an issue that’s important and
packs an emotional punch (say taking this nation to war or getting us out of
war), there is nothing, absolutely nothing more powerful than the emotion terrestrial
talk radio delivers to tens of millions from Rush, Sean, Laura Ingraham,
(even “cabin boy” Levin), as well as the Christian Broadcasting Network.

As a point of reference, liberals just got on Armed Forces Radio a little over
one year ago. Before that it was all Rush and conservative radio all of the
time. How’d that work for us?

To say the talk radio is tantamount to Paris Hilton is not only an insult to
people who know its power, but dangerous to the health of Democrats in 2008
and beyond. Then of course, there are the wonderful hosts like Ed Schultz, Stephanie Miller, The Young Turks, Rachel Maddow, Sam Seder, Randy Rhodes and so many others who are still trying to expand their listener base, not to mention others trying to stay on the air or get back on the air. Seriously, how many elections do we have to lose to understand that
satellite and web radio are just groovy, but the real democratic numbers come
from flipping on the old terrestrial radio dial? Remember Clinton impeachment? The swiftboating of John Kerry? Both worked similarly to the immigration smackdown, with all the wingnut grooves working in sync. Catching on to how this works?

An issue arises. Blogs get activated. Legislators are engaged. Enter talk radio with tens of millions of listeners… but only if it’s a conversative issue. Liberal action stops before the talk radio engagement, because no matter how good our talkers are they only have a small fraction of the outreach of the wingnuts on terrestrial radio, complimented by Christian broadcasting. We have two out of three cogs of the machine, while conservatives have all three and have since the early 1990s. Getting this down? Because when all cylinders of this machine are engaged the opposition — that would be us — doesn’t have a prayer.

Republicans love that Democrats still don’t get the power of talk radio. Besides, if it weren’t
critical to the Republican Party do you think right-wing talkers would be joining
with legislators and wingnut bloggers to begin a frontal and very aggressive
assault before anything has even moved forward? Before the majority even realized something is happening.

Oh, and to make this clear, I’m not interested in
the least in radio welfare. God bless the conservatives. Let them babble ’til they choke on their lies. Just don’t keep progressives from proving we can talk too
by not giving us a mike (or the chance for a larger piece of the syndication pie), in addition to the needed time to make ratings, which takes
more than a couple of months.

Again, the Fairness Doctrine was a means to get the conversation started. Maybe targeting media consolidation is the answer.
I don’t have the definitive answers. But I do know this, ignorance on the radio issue is not bliss, especially when spoken on the House floor or when the Speaker gets caught fast asleep.

Sincerely,
Just another talk radio host without a station and operating in the red online
every day.