Friday, January 19, 2007

Sean Hannity, The Fairness Doctrine and Free Speech

On the August 29 edition of his nationally syndicated radio program, Fox News host Sean Hannity sought to encourage Republican voters and candidates to ensure a
Republican victory in the November midterm elections by proclaiming that “there are things in life worth fighting and dying for, and one of ‘em is making sure” that House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) “doesn’t become the speaker.”

I do not seek to demonize or condemn this person because scripture, (which Mr. Hannity, is well outside the boundaries of with his daily urgings to hate our political opponents, enemies and to encourage violence*), but, to let his own words be his judge.

* Hannity is on TV at this very moment complaining about someone being beaten up by those with a vicious, violent, gang- like mentality.

* Ironically, and quite hypocritically, Mr. Hannity seems to have no problem having Ann Coulter who has a penchant for recommending death for those with whom she disagrees as a repeat guest on his shows.

Note these:
* Ann Coulter stated in her December 21 column that "I think the government
should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East and sending liberals to Guantanamo." (this is about as un-Christian as it gets- but wait there's more)

* Commenting on radio host Melanie Morgan’s assertion that if New York Times executive editor Bill Keller were convicted of treason she “would have no problem with him being sent to the gas chamber,” Coulter said, “I prefer a firing squad, but I’m open to a debate on the method of execution.” She later suggested that Times staff members should be “executed.”

(Suspicion must always fall on those who attempt to silence their opponents.
~Ian Buckley)

* Coulter said of the media: “Would that it were so! … That the American military were targeting journalists.”

* Coulter suggested that Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA) is “the reason soldiers invented fragging,” — military slang meaning the intentional killing of a member of one’s own unit.

* Coulter argued that the national debate during the Monica Lewinsky controversy should not have focused on whether former President Bill Clinton “did it,” but rather “whether to impeach or assassinate” him.

* Coulter said of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens: “We need somebody to put rat poison in Justice Stevens’s créme brulée.'’

* Fox News host Sean Hannity* asked right-wing pundit Ann Coulter how she would propose to end Iran's nuclear activities if she "were president." Coulter replied: "How about we just ... carpet-bomb them so they can't build a transistor radio?" As Media Matters for America recently noted, Fox News host Neil Cavuto similarly wondered how a "President Ann Coulter" would view certain diplomatic overtures toward Israel from Hezbollah's leadership. Coulter noted that her "first act in office ... would be to deport all liberals" and then "deal with Israel."

* Hannity's response to this was jocular.

I submit that Mr. Hannity is "conservative" and Christian in name only. As for Ms. Coulter, she is decidedly pagan no-matter what she claims- and is certifiably, criminally insane. The rich part is that she often speaks out about the evil of Saddam, the Taliban, the Nazis, Islamic radicals etc. Ohhh, the irony. Can ANYONE seriously regard her as anything other than a terrorist in her own right?

Alvin Toffler said in Future Shock back in 1970 that, as change continues to accelerate in the world, many groups who are unable to cope with the change will become more conservative, more fundamentalist, more angry and hostile as they feel left behind.

We see this in America, we see it in Islam, and we see it elsewhere. In Iraq, innocent people who are labeled "the others" are dragged from cars and shot on a daily basis.

Mr. Hannity's latest rants are targeted against the proposal to revive the Fairness Doctrine
in media broadcasting. This is rather ironic given that Mr. Hannity works for a
network whose mantra has been "Fair and Balanced".

He cries that "liberals' cannot compete in the arena of mass media and thus have to institute laws to gain access to the market. This is also ironic given the gent's constant rantings against what he calls the "Liberal Media" domination. Another irony is that Mr. Hannity who has a three hour a day radio show and a prime time slot on Fox speaks about the media as though he is not a part of it.

Yet another irony is that this fellow constantly blames things like the failures of the War in Iraq on the media rather than failed foreign policy and failed militarism.
I have had many conversations with people who maintain that basically the government should control or edit the news that we hear- because negative news erodes support for the cause in Iraq. I don't think I really need to comment about how twisted the idea that the government should control the press is...they call it totalitarianism. I do not believe that in a supposedly free society or a democracy that people should be intimidated or called unpatriotic for questioning authority or any other thing in the entire spectrum of human existence. Without dissent there would be no United State's of America in the first place. The questioning of Worldly authority is the essence of both democracy and religion!!

Someone recently insisted to me that "we" (the collective we) should not even know what was going in Iraq concerning the numbers of deaths and casualties at all because it detracts from the "cause". Its funny that many of the people who believe this are the same ones who are always complaining that others are too sensitive and cannot withstand scrutiny or criticism.

I understand that loose lips sink ships- and that tactical information should never be relayed- but, to black out the reporting of negative news is another matter all together. I remarked, tongue in cheek, to this person that they would have made a fine Soviet or Nazi and he would have liked to a swing at me. For someone constantly ranting about how the socialists and liberals are ruining life on Earth that's what you call being able to dish it out but not being able to take it.

I issued a challenge a long time ago for people to unearth the good news from Iraq that was being supressed according to those who insist that the fault for the debacle lies with the media reporting about the bloodshed( laughable- its actually much worse than the daily news blurbs suggest). I am sill waiting. A new coat of paint on school in a zone tortured by daily bomb blasts just doesn't make the grade. I also posted an article straight from the State Department's web site that talked about how the ongoing violence was squelching every facet of life over there- to the contrary of what the presiding administration's newsspeak was insisting right up until the recent elections. Many pseudo- conservatives, decry a biased media on one hand- and tacitly condone the control, editing and manipulation of the news by the government concerning the war on the other hand.

Basically what this means is that they actually don't have any problem manipulating or supressing the truth- they just don't like to hear things that do not support their own personal beliefs. Anyone who does not conform to the thought processes of these sorts becomes a "liberal-America- hating- socialist".

I find it funny funny that at the same time many pseudo- conservatives cry "assault" on free speech when faced with the idea of a bill that requires equal representation of viewpoints so as to prevent corporate media powerhouses from becoming nothing more than propaganda spewing arms of particular political parties- they accuse their critics of being afraid of a competition and of being unable to sell themselves to the public. And they still cry about the unfairness of the "liberal media".

I often hear people calling NPR an overly leftist media outlet. I frequently listen to NPR because I don't have to hear people raising their voices, shouting down or squelching callers with opposing viewpoints or crass, insensitive, classless attacks on those whose views are being scrutinized. NPR is actually very good about discussing both sides of a story. Because they do have liberal voices sharing time they are often demonized as a liberal outlet. I find this to be fairly ridiculous. I have openly challenged anyone who insists that NPR is so brashly liberal (most of them have never even listened to NPR and are simply parrotting people like Hannity)- to listen for a week and log every time that they promote a liberal idea without offering another opposing view. I challenge them to statistically prove the NPR as extreme left thesis. None have even considered taking up this challenge. I believe this is because that they have not listened, as I said, and in the back of their mind realize that there is a chance that one of their favortite mantras and theories just might be preposterous after all. I won't duck like that...somebody...anybody...PROVE IT TO ME. I'm listening.... and right here is your forum you can have as much space as you want. The only thing I'll consider editing is foul language.

I do not believe that the government should control the media- but neither do I believe that mega- corporations who control media markets should be able to spew commentary without equal representation from the other side of the story. Also, be it noted that the idea that there are only two (conservative and liberal) interpretations of any given scenario is in itself a very short sighted, over- simplifying control mechanism.

At this point I have begun to understand that the whole conservative-liberal debate is useless and the terms are meaningless. I encourage my fellow men, Christians and citizens to climb out of those respective boxes and become discerning human beings again.

Wikipedia on the Fairness Doctrine

The Wisdom Fund on the Fairness Doctrine

FAIR on The Fairness Doctrine
How we lost it, and why we need it back

The false balance of Hannity & Colmes


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