What are additional efforts needed to curb the American Super Power to make fools of ourselves? I came across Tech Against Terrorism that might be useful. It is an international organization that recognizes the one-world communication issue in which we now function. Americanizing Europe’s far-right problem is a mistake. The lesson here is to recognize the ease of manipulation a free society is willing to accept and take a deep, long breath before marching to anyone’s orders to do anything before taking a deep f’n exhale.
Another more serious and useful global super-power is revealed in the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic. It has given two lessons. If a little bug can bring capitalism to its knees and put some cash in our pockets, that bug is telling you something about national confrontations. By “our pocket,” I mean small businesses, your local public hospital, and so on, you get my drift. I say, get prepared. This is the beginning. The second lesson comes in the form of a question. How does a belief in a conspiracy address any of the underlying problems in your life? That brings me to the following post.
Rethinking the Fairness Doctrine
I was among many people in a school bus to D.C., ready to encircle the Pentagon to expel its evil symbolism. Along with many others, I crowed up and sat on its steps, surrounded by the ordinary national guard guys for a long cold night. People tossed sandwiches into our vigil, I ducked a pack of Lucky Strikes, saw socks and cotton gloves tossed in for added warmth. Our guards smiled at our efforts and our chants to end an unjust war. We were one people in the right to protest. Eventually, we were swept up into the reality of our trespass, asked to accept our punishment in the name of so many others in the search for justice, and we left. The Pentagon did not elevate. I was not that surprised. My beautiful companion was deeply saddened.
Do you remember the FCC’s “fairness doctrine?” It demanded balance from the broadcast networks until it was scrapped under by Reagan in 1987 via veto that sought to codify the following ideas in law.
(1) that every licensee devotes a reasonable portion of broadcast time to the discussion and consideration of controversial issues of public importance; and
(2) that in doing so, [the broadcaster must be] fair – that is, [the broadcaster] must affirmatively endeavor to make … facilities available for the expression of contrasting viewpoints held by responsible elements concerning the controversial issues presented.
The personal attack rule stated that when personal attacks were made on individuals involved in public issues, the broadcaster had to, within one week of the broadcast, notify the person attacked, provide him with a copy of the broadcast (either script or tape), and allow him an opportunity to respond over the broadcaster’s facilities.
The political editorial rule required that when a broadcaster endorsed a particular political candidate, the broadcaster was required to provide the other qualified candidates for the same office (or their representatives) the opportunity to respond over the broadcaster’s facilities.For the details on the origins of “fake news” see Snopes
When the FCC established the doctrine in 1949, the national frequencies available allowed ABC, NBC, and CBS to exist. By the time Clinton’s Presidency concluded, everything changed, as along with the expansion of the cable providers, a robust digital network exploded. The Fairness Doctrine is a reasonable attempt at balance. Still, as technology expanded, it cannot be applied constitutionally to cable or satellite service providers as well as it can broadcast networks. I still watch “antenna tv” because it is free and still interested in fairness, and if not that, then I still sense an attempt at balance.
When applied to the print media, the Supreme Court has recognized that regulations like the Fairness Doctrine are not constitutional as law. Regulations aimed at others may be subject to the same opinion when applied to Cable TV, satellite, and digital platforms. The remedy is only available on a post-trauma basis. In other words, people are free to disregard content-based restrictions on speech and yell fire! Doing that creates an imminent threat to people only if there is no fire in a crowded theater. The least restrictive remedy for misuse of free speech is to await prosecution from the hurt and offended people or institutions.
Preventing further restrictions requires a government to use the least restrictive means of achieving an interest, such as assuring public safety. The people labeled far-right insurrectionists are perfectly within their rights to act and be punished for their actions.
I was looking at the guys on the right in 1967.