The Left wants a Fairness Doctrine to Stifle Political Dissent
And here it is. The big one. What the Left really wants. The ability to censor the opposing viewpoint so they can easily advance their agenda without political dissent. You know what it is. It’s called the Fairness Doctrine. To stifle that vitriol we call free speech. Our First Amendment right. Which some are saying caused the Arizona Shooting rampage (see Clyburn: Words can be danger by Yvonne Wenger posted 1/10/2011 on The Post and Courier).
U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, the third-ranking Democrat in Congress, said Sunday the deadly shooting in Arizona should get the country thinking about what’s acceptable to say publicly and when people should keep their mouths shut.
Clyburn said he thinks vitriol in public discourse led to a 22-year-old suspect opening fire Saturday at an event Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords held for her constituents in Tucson, Ariz. Six people were killed and 14 others were injured, including Giffords.
Clyburn thinks wrong. From what we’re learning, it sounds like the shooter wasn’t even aware of reality let alone the public discourse. Of course, you wouldn’t know this if you rush to some kind of judgment. Or are just using the tragedy to advance a stalled agenda.
The shooting is cause for the country to rethink parameters on free speech, Clyburn said from his office, just blocks from the South Carolina Statehouse. He wants standards put in place to guarantee balanced media coverage with a reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine, in addition to calling on elected officials and media pundits to use ‘better judgment.’
The Fairness Doctrine. Statutory censorship. You see, back then there were only three networks and PBS. And the Fairness Doctrine was to keep them fair and balanced. If they aired a story favoring one viewpoint, they then had to give time for the opposing viewpoint. Or face a fine. Sounds fair, doesn’t it? But it’s just a fancy way to enact state censorship.
Here’s how. Who’s to determine what programming meets the balancing requirement of the Fairness Doctrine? The FCC. Which is part of the executive branch of the government. So the president had the power to determine what was appropriate speech. And what wasn’t. That’s a lot of power. And JFK and LBJ put that power to good uses. They used it to harass their political enemies. Made it so costly to air a point of view opposing theirs that stations would refuse to air them. It really stifled political dissent. And made it a lot easier to pass the Great Society legislation.
Ah, yes, those were the good old days. When you didn’t have all that messiness we call free speech. The 1960s and 1970s were Big Government decades. Times were good for the liberal left. That is until Ronald Reagan came along to spoil everything. For it was Reagan who repealed the Fairness Doctrine. And ever since the Left has wanted it back.
The Left wants a Fairness Doctrine to Hush Rush
The party really ended in the 1980s. Not only did they lose their beloved doctrine, but there was a new kid on the block. Talk radio. It was bad enough not to have ‘fairness’ as they saw fairness, but now there was more than three networks and PBS. There was content all over the place that they couldn’t control. And it really pissed them off. Especially a guy by the name of Rush Limbaugh. He was such a thorn in Bill Clinton’s side that some called the Fairness Doctrine the ‘Hush Rush’ bill.
You have to remember how Bill Clinton won the election. He won with one of the lowest percentages of the popular vote. Ross Perot was a third-party candidate that drained votes away from both candidates. But, more importantly, he turned the election into a media circus. Everyone was following what wacky thing he would say or do next that few paid attention to Clinton’s less than spotless past. And people were spitting mad about George H.W. Bush‘s broken pledge not to raise taxes. You take these two things away and Bush the elder would have been a two-term president. So Clinton wasn’t very popular with the people to begin with.
During the Nineties, some 20 million people a week were tuning in to listen to Rush. Why was he so popular? For the simple reason that he held the same views as some 20 million people in the country. And these people were tired of the media bias. For them Rush was a breath of fresh air. His radio show was the only place this huge mass of people could go and not hear the Democrat spin on everything. And this was a real threat to the Left. They blamed him for their failure to nationalize health care. And the Left blamed Rush for Whitewater, Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Monica Lewinsky, the blue dress, etc. Hillary Clinton called the Lewinsky affair a vast right-wing conspiracy. And if it wasn’t for Rush and talk radio, those things would have remained hidden. So you can see why they hated him.
The Shooting of a Democrat Allows the Left to Attack Conservatives
It was bad for Bill Clinton. But President Obama has it even worse. The FOX News channel has blown away the cable competition. The Internet has come of age. There’s more content out there than ever before. And the old guard (the three networks, PBS and the liberal newspapers) are losing more and more of their influence. In other words, they need the Fairness Doctrine like never before. Because there is way too much free speech for their liking. It’s just not a good time if you’re trying to be devious.
So when a mass murder comes along and a Democrat is shot in the head, they pounce. Representative Clyburn uses this tragedy to advance the Fairness Doctrine. Even though he knew little at the time. But that didn’t stop him. They have no evidence, but the Left has blamed the Tea Party, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, FOX News, and anyone else who has ever held a contrary viewpoint.
So, what, then, motivated this killer in Arizona?
Who is Jared Loughner
Well, let’s hear what a close friend of the shooter, Jared Loughner, says. Bryce Tierney knew him since high school. Even went to college with him. And from what he says, Loughner doesn’t sound like he was influenced by anyone on the right (see Exclusive: Loughner Friend Explains Alleged Gunman’s Grudge Against Giffords by Nick Baumann posted 1/10/2011 on Mother Jones).
Tierney tells Mother Jones in an exclusive interview that Loughner held a years-long grudge against Giffords and had repeatedly derided her as a “fake.” Loughner’s animus toward Giffords intensified after he attended one of her campaign events and she did not, in his view, sufficiently answer a question he had posed, Tierney says. He also describes Loughner as being obsessed with “lucid dreaming”—that is, the idea that conscious dreams are an alternative reality that a person can inhabit and control—and says Loughner became “more interested in this world than our reality.” Tierney adds, “I saw his dream journal once. That’s the golden piece of evidence. You want to know what goes on in Jared Loughner’s mind, there’s a dream journal that will tell you everything…”
But the thing I remember most is just that question. I don’t remember him stalking her or anything.” Tierney notes that Loughner did not display any specific political or ideological bent: “It wasn’t like he was in a certain party or went to rallies…It’s not like he’d go on political rants.” But Loughner did, according to Tierney, believe that government is “fucking us over.” He never heard Loughner vent about the perils of “currency,” as Loughner did on one YouTube video he created…
Once, Tierney recalls, Loughner told him, “I’m pretty sure I’ve come to the conclusion that words mean nothing.” Loughner would also tell Tierney and his friends that life “means nothing…”
Tierney believes that Loughner was very interested in pushing people’s buttons—and that may have been why he listed Hitler’s Mein Kampf as one of his favorite books on his YouTube page. (Loughner’s mom is Jewish, according to Tierney.) Loughner sometimes approached strangers and would say “weird” things, Tierney recalls. “He would do it because he thought people were below him and he knew they wouldn’t know what he was talking about.”
In college, Loughner became increasingly intrigued with “lucid dreaming,” and he grew convinced that he could control his dreams, according to Tierney. In a series of rambling videos posted to his YouTube page, dreams are a frequent topic. In a video posted on December 15, Loughner writes, “My favorite activity is conscience dreaming: the greatest inspiration for my political business information. Some of you don’t dream—sadly.” In another video, he writes, “The population of dreamers in the United States of America is less than 5%!” Later in the same video he says, “I’m a sleepwalker—who turns off the alarm clock.”
Loughner believed that dreams could be a sort of alternative, Matrix-style reality, and “that when you realize you’re dreaming, you can do anything, you can create anything,” Tierney says. Loughner started his “dream journal” in an attempt to take more control of his dreams, his friend notes, and he kept this journal for over a year…
After Loughner apparently gave up drugs and booze, “his theories got worse,” Tierney says. “After he quit, he was just off the wall.” And Loughner started to drift away from his group of friends about a year ago. By early 2010, dreaming had become Loughner’s “waking life, his reality,” Tierney says. “He sort of drifted off, didn’t really care about hanging out with friends. He’d be sleeping a lot.” Loughner’s alternate reality was attractive, Tierney says. “He figured out he could fly.” Loughner, according to Tierney, told his friends, “I’m so into it because I can create things and fly. I’m everything I’m not in this world.”
But in this world, Loughner seemed ticked off by what he believed to be a pervasive authoritarianism. “The government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar,” he wrote in one YouTube video. In another, Loughner complains that when he tried to join the military, he was handed a “mini-Bible.” That upset him: “I didn’t write a belief on my Army application and the recruiter wrote on the application: None,” he wrote on YouTube. In messages on MySpace last month, Loughner declared, “I’ll see you on National T.v.! This is foreshadow.” He also noted on the website, “I don’t feel good: I’m ready to kill a police officer! I can say it…”
Since hearing of the rampage, Tierney has been trying to figure out why Loughner did what he allegedly did. “More chaos, maybe,” he says. “I think the reason he did it was mainly to just promote chaos. He wanted the media to freak out about this whole thing. He wanted exactly what’s happening. He wants all of that.” Tierney thinks that Loughner’s mindset was like the Joker in the most recent Batman movie: “He fucks things up to fuck shit up, there’s no rhyme or reason, he wants to watch the world burn. He probably wanted to take everyone out of their monotonous lives: ‘Another Saturday, going to go get groceries’—to take people out of these norms that he thought society had trapped us in.”
It wasn’t Vitriol, it was Insanity
Well, he doesn’t sound like a Tea Party guy. Or a fan of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman or FOX News. He doesn’t sound like a religious guy. He may have been anti-Semitic. He felt superior to those around him. He liked to dream and spend a lot of time in his imagination. He may have liked the movie The Matrix. Maybe even thought he was in a ‘Matrix‘ fantasyland. He did drugs and drank at one time. When he went sober, though, he seemed to go deeper into his imagination. He was pretty certain that the government was controlling people with an insidious form of grammar. And he wasn’t a fan of authority figures and thought killing a cop would cheer him up.
I don’t know, maybe it’s me, but I wouldn’t call this guy a conservative. And I don’t think there was any vitriol egging him on. I doubt any vitriol could compete with what was going on in his imagination. This guy had serious mental issues. He was unstable. And dangerous. And the only reason why he shot Representative Giffords is because she had the misfortune of being his representative.
So Representative Clyburn, and the far left, are wrong. No one on the right is responsible for this tragedy in Arizona. The shooter was just a nutcase. Little solace for the victims’ families. But it does say that we don’t need a Fairness Doctrine. For it would NOT have altered what happened in Tucson, Arizona, this past Saturday.