Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Another Example of the Media-Government Complex

We know now that Hillary Clinton, who has been misbehaving and putting herself above the law since the days of the Watergate investigation, used a private email to circumvent Freedom Of Information requests while she was at the State Department.

Yes, she is scum.  I knew this in 1992.

I don't know if this is enough to derail her presidential ambitions.  She is an incompetent never-was, differing from Obama only in being slightly less facile at voicing falsehoods.  She plays the victim well, as in the Benghazi hearings, and she has the requisite sense of entitlement, so she has that working for her.  She also has the media making excuses for her, blaming her deception on incompetent staffers.

The problem is really the old "Fairness Doctrine" adopted by the FCC -- those wonderful, unelected dictators who have decided to bring their unwanted and unneeded interference to the internet.  The Fairness Doctrine required broadcast media had to allow for the airing of opposing views on controversial topics.  This meant, to use a ridiculous example, that if you had a radio station and aired a pro-communist opinion, you had to allow anti-communists to express their opposing views over the air.  This made no sense.

Newspapers never had to worry about this.  They could be affiliated with a political party or movement and were free to publish their opinions and write their stories with whatever bias they chose.  Wood pulp and ink were not considered public property.  People bought the paper they wanted in a free market of ideas.  Sure, some papers had greater influence than others, but they did not have a monopoly.

All that changed when radio came into being.  Franklin Roosevelt, our most audacious American Caesar of the 20th Century, made good use of radio technology to create a "national voice."  There were multiple radio networks, but the government created the FCC in 1934 and suddenly the airwaves were regulated in the public good.  Obviously, some licensing and regulation was necessary to prevent multiple stations attempting to broadcast on the same part of the spectrum.  It made sense to give the federal government oversight on signals that could easily cross state boundaries.  Signal strength, signal patterns, and frequency were all within the legitimate boundaries of regulation.

Imagine yourself as one of those early pioneers of radio.  If you build a nice radio station with an expensive tower and equipment and, perhaps, on-air talent, you want your investment to pay off.  It would be devastating to have the FCC revoke your license and give your frequency to someone else.  You want to support the values you believe in, but you don't want to get on the wrong side of the federal government.  Thus, the federal government becomes "a good thing," a benevolent and vital aspect of American life, deserving of respect and obeisance.

Mass media began to kill off our liberty.  We, as Americans, bought into Progressive malarkey before that or we would never have allowed men like Theodore Roosevelt (whom I still admire as a man) and Woodrow Wilson (whom I thoroughly detest) in the White House.  But mass media brought a mass change in the American political consciousness.

Some of the change was positive, I think.  We began to see ourselves a bit more as Americans and a bit less as Texicans or Pukes, Yankees or Westerners, Sandlappers or Southrons.  We began tapping into a common cultural identity.  Californians could hear Bob Wills.  New Yorkers could listen to the Louisiana Hayride.  We clung to our unique regional identities, at least for a while, but we came to better understand and perhaps even respect the differences around us.  Culturally, that was not necessarily a bad thing.  Political homogenization, though, was more corrosive.

Mass media, along with the Progressive damage wrought by the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amendments (direct taxation and popular election of Senators) allowed for the rise of the demagogue.   Franklin Roosevelt was the first and perhaps the worst in many ways.  What Americans accepted from him, with the help of radio and the complicity of the national voices heard on the airwaves, paved the way for the erosion of our liberties. 

The Fairness Doctrine was adopted officially in 1949, tightening the FCC's grip on what could be broadcast.  One prominent case in the '60s went to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The Court ordered the FCC to revoke the license of a segregationist television station for its censorship of the national network (NBC) coverage of the civil rights movement.

On the one hand, we are against segregation.  On the other hand, shouldn't people be allowed to decide on their own what they can watch?  Of course, back in those days, a lot of us in more rural areas had two or maybe three channels we could pick up on our black-and-white sets, so long as the weather cooperated.  (During thunderstorms we had to turn off the TV and disconnect the antenna lead to prevent lightning running in on the television should it strike the pole which project well above the roof.   We were lucky.  Though the stations were fifty miles away by the road, up on our part of the Plateau we had decent line-of-sight reception.)  Given the technology at the time, a reasonable argument could be made in favor of the Fairness Doctrine, if you didn't think about it too much.

Fair is good, right?  Of course, what it really meant is that stations were reluctant to air controversial material.  It costs money to broadcast and giving some irate hoosier free air time to voice his opinion about some topic was not profitable.  The answer is to stick with the straight story, claim to do "unbiased" reporting, and stay away airing opinions and reports that run counter to the accepted national narrative.

The Fairness Doctrine ended in 1987, allowing the rise of talk radio and the "rightwing" news network called Fox.  By that time, however, a couple of generations had become used to the idea that network news talking heads like Cronkite and Rather were simply delivering the facts.  The imagery of television news furthered this impression.  It must be right because we saw it as it happened, right before our eyes.  The truth is that "objective" reporting is quite often not what it seems.  Many times the deception is in what goes unspoken and in what is not shown on the screen.

Left or right, the media remains largely statist/collectivist.  Whether advocating for police militarization in the name of "law and order" or for disarming private citizens in the name of "safety," the mass media wants most of the power to rest in the hands of our betters in the government.

Amazingly, Hillary Clinton, despite her lack of achievement and her history of duplicity, remains a viable candidate on the left with the help of a plethora of unbiased journalists who know what's best for us, while Jeb "Open Borders" Bush remains a leading candidate on the right with the support of the fair and balanced blondes.

Big Media, Big Govenment, Big Banks, Big Anything isn't working all that well for us as middle-class and working-class taxpayers.  In fact, the whole she-bang is Too Damn Big.

One post-script thought that struck me as I was reading something else:  we say that history is written by the winners.  We also say that journalism is the first draft of history.  When it comes to corruption, it is increasingly apparent that corruption is what the winners say it is, with the help of that first draft.


  1. Bravo zulu, Mush! Outstanding post!
    Congress and the courts should've never allowed the FCC to have power and authority over radio content or TV content.
    Now they will attempt to do the same thing and worse to the internet.

    Congress controls the purse strings and they oughtta starve the FCC, IRS, ATF, EPA, and purty much every government agency that are unelected officials who are corrupt, abusing their powers and creating their own laws disguided as regulations for the "common good."
    This is anti-liberty and anti-Constitutional.

    Every govt. agency tries to grow in numbers and influence and Congress must constantly reign them in if we have any hope of remaining a republic, such that it is.

  2. " Many times the deception is in what goes unspoken and in what is not shown on the screen."

    So true.

    Be nice to see some of Hillary's emails on the screen, don't you think?

  3. It will be very interesting to see "what she knew and when she knew it."

    Yes, I've emailed both MO Senators and my Congressman about this stuff. They let so much stuff slide by, I can't imagine them doing anything useful.

  4. Good history lesson, Mush.

    I'm going to mention (again?) that I think Hillary won't get the nomination. This latest Email scandal seems to have more lefty press coverage than I thought it would. This could be the scandal that tips the scales against her.

  5. You may be right. Hillary may just be piling up retirement cash for the "Clinton foundation". She doesn't seem to have much fire.

    I thought perhaps the media would have turned on her in favor of Fauxcahontas already. Warren is more openly leftist and may not be a viable candidate across most of the country. Not that it matters, the Democrats are going to win in the urban centers regardless. They don't need the rest of us much. They got Booker and Deval Patrick in the POC corner, and O'Malley and your former Senator, Webb, as Generic White Guys (GWG).

  6. Hillary is an old bag with lots of baggage. Don't get me wrong, her age doesn't bother me but rather her old bag of leftist tricks and corruption.
    About all she can run on is that she is a woman, and she has even failed at that.

    Webb would actually be the democrat's best bet but he ain't far left enough for their party.
    Of course, I never underestimate the stupidity of the GOP to nominate the worst candidate they can find, but maybe I'll be surprised this time.
    We could do a lot worse than Walker, Jindal or Perry and we probably will.