Saturday, November 26, 2016
What Obama Needs To Do Before He Leaves
Lots of people are re-hashing the election and pointing to this factor or that factor, blaming one small slice of Democratic voters over another small slice. But I choose to put the bulk of the blame on the 47% of the electorate who voted for Trump. You know, the ones that were blatantly lied to for decades.
Now, some are pointing to fake news on social media as one reason why so many Americans had a complete and total brain-fart on November 8th, but let's be honest: fake news has been around forever, and the conservative propaganda machine has been around since the early 90's. So while Mark Zuckerberg is pondering how to separate the real-news wheat from the fake-news chaff, I think our current president has at least one thing he can do to rectify the situation first.
Bring back the Fairness Doctrine.
For those of you who aren't aware, the Fairness Doctrine was a standard set by the FCC which required broadcasters airing controversial opinions to represent both sides of a contentious issue. This meant that if an editorial was given regarding gun rights, an opinion would have to be given about gun control as well. Or if a pro-life argument was given, the pro-choice side had to have its side too.
Well, in 1988, all that changed. President Ronald Reagan allowed the Fairness Doctrine standard to expire in his final year in office. No input from Congress, no vote taken on the floor. Just a simple whisk of the pen, and any requirement for balance on the radio went out the window.
It was a few years before conservative pundits realized just how much power they had been handed. With religious radio having entire stations at its disposal, the conservative side of any argument already had a head start. Now it could begin to pummel the rural countryside - which still relied primarily on radio for all its news and information - with non-stop conservative propaganda. No equal time would ever be given to the other side again. From now on, all radio op-ed would be lopsided in the wrong direction.
Well, Reagan allowed this crap to happen with the mere flick of his pen. Obama can do the same. He can reinstate the Fairness Doctrine before he leaves office.
And for two glorious months, conservative talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh will have to have their illogic shredded by the superior economic arguments liberals have to offer.
Okay, Donald Trump, assuming the Electoral College ever allows him to take office, will reverse the executive order almost immediately. But he can't do so before the whole world takes notice of the Fairness Doctrine itself, and the importance of what it means.
I think it's well worth it.
I know, I know, the odds of Obama doing this are slim. Hell, during his time in office, he not only didn't bring the Fairness Doctrine back, he strengthened the hold conservatives have over the airwaves; just one more example of the concessions he gave to a Congress who wouldn't give him the respect they gave to their kitchen staff. But if he does do this, it will be one awesome final blow that he can give for truth, for fairness, and for journalistic integrity.
Please Barack? Please?
Requiring broadcasters to be fair shouldn't have to hang on the outcome of Jill Stein's recount efforts.