A Note To Those Making The Perfect The Enemy Of The Good

And Yes, This Is A Condemnatory Post

By Pejman Yousefzadeh Posted in | Comments (19) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

There are plenty of people within the Republican Party who fit that description and who believe or believed that the Republican loss in the recent midterm elections was a good thing for the party. You know, purifying the soul, and all that.

I personally took the view that in the midterms, Republicans may have deserved to lose but Democrats didn't deserve to win. This caused me to hold my nose on certain matters as I voted, but hold my nose and vote I did. For as disappointed as I was--and am--in the national Republican Party, from my standpoint, I still preferred to throw in my lot with a party that could still conceivably come around to my point of view rather than a party which is diametrically opposed to my point of view.

Here's why (read on):

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."

The argument that the media has a corporate agenda is, of course, risible. Would that it were true! But the important thing for Kucinich and other Democrats is not the thwarting of some supposed "corporate" agenda. Rather, it is the thwarting of any right-of-center presence in the national media under the misleading rubric of "fairness." Understandably, the Democrats don't quite like the fact that Republicans are now carving out a presence--however small--in the national media. Republicans were unable to do this back in the days of the Fairness Doctrine and only were able to start with the Doctrine cast to the Four Winds, as it deserved to be.

Now, Kucinich wants to take us back to the bad old days when "fairness" trumped any kind of passionate and reasoned advocacy on either side. I suppose he thinks it is worth it if, say, Democratic talk radio suffers as much as Republican talk radio does. But in a day and age where we have seen enough infringements on political speech--thank you, McCain-Feingold--do we really need to see more?

I would have preferred to see a full-on battle between Democratic media outlets and Republican media outlets in the marketplace of ideas. It would be good for our national discourse and it would spur Republicans on to carve out a greater niche for themselves in the national media market. To the extent that dream dies, I suppose that we can not only thank Dennis Kucinich, but all of the Republican voters who went out and made the perfect the enemy of the good.

Nice job. You got your purifying defeat. Look where it got you.

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A Note To Those Making The Perfect The Enemy Of The Good 19 Comments (0 topical, 19 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

I too am sick and tired of this willfully blind, counterproductive behavior.

Even though I'm not sure how big a factor Republicans sitting it out or crossing party lines were. My understanding is that the independants broke heavily for the Dems.

But no question there are some picky persnickity people in the party.

the only such Republicans I personally know honestly thought our combined White House and Congress was bad for the nation.

If you want to blame someone, how about blaming that departed Congress for its failure to govern well? Or Bush for staying the course instead of fine-tuning the course to match reality? Or the campaign strategists who spread resources thin enough that we lost the Senate by such a small margin?

From the above, we might actually learn some better strategy and tactics. In comparison, blaming the voter for not picking fabulous us seems both vain and in vain.

Oh, and the fairness doctrine? Sounds like veto or filibuster fodder to me. Here's an opportunity to show we govern better.

I am sick and tired of this crap about Disney, General Electric and Viacom having some sort of corporate monopoly over the media. And besides, all we've got in our corner is Fox News, and they're just fair and balanced. How can we pair fair and balanced against this commie-socialist slander at CNN?!

Honest liberals stay if they are otherwise well-mannered. The ones who pretend to be something else are presumed to be acting in bad faith.

Blam.

Drink Good Coffee. You can sleep when you're dead.

what exactly is so bad about the Fairness Doctrine? I don't know much about it, which is why I'm asking, but in principle, it sounds like a good thing for news to actually be neutral news instead of partisan news unless advertised otherwise. I can see problems with determining what's fairly shown and what isn't -- like the debate about teaching religion in schools, there will be people who say that the broadcasting of truth (evolution, in the analogy) does not require naysayers, and there will be people who say just as passionately that what is broadcast is not at all truth (and that the Earth was created). But do we agree that false advertising, namely saying that a particular piece is unbiased truth or somehow implying it, thus deluding the gullible sections of the public, is a bad thing?

And you gotta give it to the media: I don't remember what else was going on at the time in early September, but it was definitely MUCH more important than John Mark Karr and his noncomplicity in some 10-year-old murder case, and that's all TV seemed to show where I caught glimpses of it. Add to that the well-known and admitted biases of some of the networks, and there is nobody left to trust except Minitrue. Seriously, though, a commentator should have full rights to say whatever he or she wishes about a particular piece of news, but opinion should be easily identifiable as such and coverage should be honest. Why is this Fairness Doctrine an unacceptable way of providing for this?

...would be empowered with deciding what is fair, and activists such as Media Matters and other left-wing groups would be empowered to legally challenge stations as to content. The practical effect is that stations will choose to do away with opinion formats, thus chilling free speech, because it will prove too costly to continue them. Kucinich's proposal is a direct attempt to kill conservative AM talk radio. Also, it would artificially strengthen liberal talk radio for those stations that keep opinion formats because they would be forced by the FCC to put on equally countervailing viewpoints. In effect, Kucinich is proposing a direct assault on free speech, so why would you think there is anything good about a so-called Fairness Doctrine*?

* Also known as the Air America Financial Salvation Act of 2007.

what seems fair to you, may not seem fair to me.

Now considering we can't decide what fair is, do you want the congress deciding? I don't.

also by kyle8

It would never be used, just as it was not used in the past against left wing organs like NPR.

"Nothing works like freedom, Nothing succeeds like liberty"
Kyle

...despite the best efforts of the journalism "profession" to convince us otherwise. Back before WW2 or so, when journalism wasn't a profession but just another "racket," there was no pretense of objectivity with regard to politics. You picked the newspapers you'd read on the basis of your own sympathies, and that was that. When you talk about coverage simply being "honest," you may not realize that you're chasing a chimera. All news coverage contains opinion, at the very least through selection bias and through the subtle but incredibly powerful ability of electronic images to induce a suspension of disbelief. ("Pictures don't lie," except when they do.)

The Fairness Doctrine is thus just another way to militate against any presentation of information that uses a public accommodation (viz., the broadcast spectrum) and is not the MSM. This is because the FCC commissioners take it on faith that news coverage can be objective, just as you have. In practice this works against conservatives because the targeted alternative media present largely conservative voices. Explicitly liberal alternative media have never found a market outside of the Internet, which is pretty suggestive evidence that the need for such voices is already being served. By the MSM.

It should come as no surprise that the many conservative voices on broadcast channels all started becoming successful in the last twenty years. (Before that, there was essentially nothing but MSM.) Why? Because the Fairness Doctrine was suspended as FCC policy in 1987.

What Kucinich seems to want to do (based on reading his statement) is to extend this regime to the Internet, on the theory that network bandwidth is a public accommodation just like airwaves. He's obviously wrong about that, but that's the least of his errors.

Photographers alway lie, by the light they choose, the moment, or if only by the choice of subject. Historians can only give a similar snapshot of things as they were, through the lens of a single person's pen.

Journalists, likewise.

The Academy: researching the Illiberal Arts

1. Who defines controversial.
For example, lets say Dan Rather was covered under the fairness doctrine, as of old. Now, the head of News programming for his network has to decide if a topic is controversial. So what does he/she do? Talk to the people around him and since they all agree with what Rather is doing, no controversy. That is how the lies got started in the first place. (Think of it as letting the inmates run the asylum)

2. Who programs the rebuttal.
Using that same example, lets assume that miraculously the government comes up with some form of program that imposes a standard of controversial decision ratings that does effect Dan's program and a rebuttal is required. Who programs the rebuttal? The same people who programmed the show. They simply locate someone with credentials who "assumes" the correctness of the story, and argues the points. (i.e., it wasn't really dereliction of duty because as the Vietnam wound down, the number of hours non-active duty pilots could train was reduced)
They will NEVER put someone on that says, Dan, you are a liar and made this stuff up. It isn't required.

If it could be done well, I would support it, but since practically everything on the main stream media news is slanted, in my opinion, the main stream media would have to devote equal time for every minute of the international, national and a lot of their local news. No one can really believe that the Democrats want to undermine their "Main Stream Propaganda Machine".

Support the Mission - Honor the troops
Exsolvo Orbis Terrarum

Despite the discontent conservatives had towards the Republicans, I don't think any reasonable conservative voter thought the Democrats would do a better job of governing.

We didn't lose the midterm elections because the Conservative base didn't show up or voted for the Democrats, we had a bad election cycle because of an unpopular and prolonged war that many voters now believe was unecessary , an unpopular President who is a terrible communicator, and Mark Foley.

You also can't forget that historically what the Republicans experienced is a normal election cycle for a midterm election on a President's second term.

Even with this perfect storm for the Democrats, they only managed to narrowly win control of Congress.

The Moderate and Independent voters were unhappy, and vented on the party in power. The polling data I've read indicates a fairly high turnout among the Conservative base.

This doesn't mean that the core Conservative message, strong defense, low taxes, and less government is no longer a viable governing philosophy or message, we just had a bad election cycle. The electorate was not screaming for a Liberal agenda, it was just more a rejection of Republicanism than it was of Conservatism.

We will, however, need to worry if after Bush and Iraq the American people continue to choose the Democrats. If that occurs, we will need to reevaluate our agenda to determine how we can create a governing coalition.

"Back in the thirties we were told we must collectivize the nation because the people were so poor. Now we are told we must collectivize the nation because the people are so rich. "

William F. Buckley, Jr.

5! by kyle8

"Nothing works like freedom, Nothing succeeds like liberty"
Kyle

More likely they will string together a series of laws intended to subjugate people they need to control the same way that they invented Jim Crow to control the decendants of slaves they could no longer own. Only this time they will use this set of laws to undermine the faithful who are the power base of the republican party.

Support the Mission - Honor the troops
Exsolvo Orbis Terrarum

The last time the Dems had the House, they lived in it for 40 years and turned it into an unmitigated pig-stye. I wonder if THAT would be a long enough period of time for the "real consevatives" to realize that demanding absolutist perfection leads to electoral ruination; until you have effectively outlined and defended your ideals.

Harry Reid is to ethics reform what HIV was to free love!

was probably that when Republicans try to govern like democrats, the public will vote for the real thing. The defeat was not caused by the voters, it was caused by the republican politicians themselves.

The heck with perfection. Shame on those conservatives. Lets just run democrats. If victory with an R behind the name is all that matters, and democrats win, lets run them.

Come to think of it, we have a couple of gentlemen running for president in the Republican party wno would be a great fit in the democrat party. You know who they are.

"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."

As Tonto said to the Lone Ranger, "What you mean WE, kimosabe?"

I just don't want to hear the "we needed tolose to purify the party" crowd crying if/when this comes about. To believe that David Gregory will be fair and balanced is a crock.,

Nov 7, 2006 was a day of shame for those who sat out. You let KOS and these clowns win.

 
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