Labels and Fairness…

Once upon a time, a group of lawmen raided the Manhattan mansion of a suspected child molester named Jeffery Epstein. At the time, they found a cache of DVDs, each labeled with the name of a prominent person (okay, “man”) and the underage woman he was with. They didn’t take those at the time because their warrant didn’t cover the discs. When officials returned to collect the discs, they were gone.

Later, though, other discs were discovered in other Epstein-owned locations and those were picked up. Before photos of the cache were released, the names written on them were redacted. The judge ordered that action because the names identified “information for third parties.”

Just a question, here, but are they not “co-conspirators” and not just “third parties?” Shouldn’t they have been arrested too? Doesn’t the public deserve to know which of our rich and powerful “leaders” like to diddle underage women on the side? We know about Prince Andrew cause he’s a brit but we also know that Bill Clinton and Donald Trump used to pal around with Epstein, too. Are they on a DVD somewhere?

What? The FBI lost them? Well, that doesn’t pass the smell test.

I’ll tell you this, I don’t really believe the FBI loses evidence unless it intends to lose evidence – and that stinks…

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198, as of yesterday. Mass shootings, I mean. 8 dead, 7 wounded – three critically – in Texas. The shooter is among the dead. In this case, he actually was stopped by a good guy with a gun, a cop who happened to be on site.

I used to argue that conservatives are not really stupid people. My position was they they are so woefully deceived by their preferred media, they simply don’t understand what’s going on around them. But when push comes to shove, these people are failing at basic cause and effect. At best, adults who can’t understand basic cause and effect are not displaying brilliance.

Personally, I didn’t need 198 mass shootings to understand that taking mental health care away from the masses while making it easier for an increasingly angry people to get assault weapons designed to kill humans was a perfect recipe for disaster. In fact, I’d label it SO predictable, it seems it might well be someone’s intention – keep ’em scared, keep ’em angry, give ’em guns. What could go wrong?

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“The following is a rebuttal to a KRUD editorial denouncing the legalization of marijuana. Speaking FOR the legalization of marijuana, is Ashley Roachclip, President of United Heads for Hemp.” If you know Cheech and Chong, you likely know that bit. It’s a send up of editorial rebuttals that tended to show up in public broadcasts when some station issued an editorial opinion. They were a regular occurrence through my teens. Then?

I guess I should start at the start. Back in 1949, the FCC introduced a rule, called the ‘Fairness Doctrine’ that dictated broadcast license holders offering editorial opinions had to provide equal time to responsible opposing opinions. They usually DID start off exactly the way the Cheech and Chong bit did: “The following is a rebuttal to…” Then, as one of his many assaults on the United States and “the American way,” the Reagan administration eliminated the Fairness Doctrine in 1987.

I sure miss the Fairness Doctrine. We really need it. All those mass shootings so many Americans don’t understand? That’s because we don’t have the Fairness Doctrine anymore. (Perhaps a bit simplistic but stay with me, here.)

To my mind, there’s just too much evidence that the destruction of the United States was an intentional and well-planned act. The planning began in the 1970’s and was implemented by Ronald Reagan beginning in 1980. It was clear to those who prefer Fascism that the Fairness Doctrine was causing problems for them, so it had to go.

Yesterday, I had a conversation with a person who asked me if I thought all of the legal rulings going against the trumpery might have tarnished his image with his worshipers, even a little bit. I said no, I don’t think so. Not because they wouldn’t be outraged if they knew but, worse, they don’t know. If their preferred outlet doesn’t tell them, they just don’t know it happened.

I mention that to say this. When the Fairness Doctrine was eliminated, the argument in favor was that there were SO MANY outlets out there, people could simply tune in elsewhere to hear opposing views so it wasn’t necessary to force broadcasters to provide opposing opinions. These days, I call such arguments “philosophical” arguments. They SEEM correct but they have no practical application. (The position seemed stronger at the time because Fox Not-News had not yet weaponized the First Amendment.)

Yes, it’s true, people could switch from station to station to gather opinions. But you know what? They don’t. Fox Not-News viewers are not tuning in to, say, CNN to get both sides of the story. They stick to Fox. Period. (CNN viewers DO, sometimes, tune in to Fox from time to time, sometimes on a lark but always a mistake, just to see what the crazies are saying but it’s not common.)

Worse, the conservative bubble tells it’s consumers NOT to check other sources. They control their followers the exact same way fundamental churches control their adherents. “Don’t listen to outsiders. They only want to pollute your mind and disrupt your “walk.” See? It’s disloyal to Jesus if you listen to someone ask a question. In the same way, it’s disloyal to conservatism if you consider some other point of view on any topic at any time. (I’m one of those people who used to tune in to conservative broadcasts for short bursts of b.s. I once heard, with my own ears, Rush Limbaugh tell his audience they didn’t need to think. That’s what they had him for. HE would read the news and tell them what to think.)

That’s why we need a return of the Fairness Doctrine. Fox Not News runs nearly all editorials all day long and, from what I hear, it’s an on-going diatribe of fear-mongering and hate that keeps conservatives terrified and angry. They NEVER hear anything Fox doesn’t want them to hear and if someone does share a fact here and there, they react badly and reject the input. Can’t disrupt the “walk.”

There used to be a radio station around here, KGO News talk. Conservatives killed it. It was pretty much all opinion, too AND it operated under the watchful eye of the Fairness Doctrine. How? Well, they put on a liberal host in the morning and followed him with a conservative host. Then a liberal, then a conservative, etc. In broadcasting both sides, they were in compliance with the doctrine and the listeners got to hear competing opinions just by never touching the dial. Fox could do the same thing but I’d bet you three quarters of a billion dollars they never, ever will – not without being forced.

I’ll tell you this: We need a return of the Fairness Doctrine. Thanks to Citizens United, we’ll never get that done but after the revolution? Keep it mind. Accurate information is the life blood of democracy…

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