Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Oklahoma Democrats have long maintained they were more conservative than the national party. But that is not true, as evidenced by the platform resolutions adopted at the 2007 Oklahoma Democratic Party state convention. One of the resolutions adopted deal with the broadcast “Fairness Doctrine.”

The resolution reads,
“The Oklahoma Democratic Party believes that democracy can not succeed without an informed citizenry or the active participation of informed voters. Most citizens rely on print and broadcast media for the information they require to make their decisions, and they deserve to have full access to accurate reporting along with genuine discussion of issues that clearly presents the diverse points of view. The media has been subverted from its true purpose of information with clarity, accuracy and fairness by the effects of deregulation and by the destruction of the Fairness Doctrine. Therefore, in order to fairly educate the public, to win support of the party’s positions and elect candidates the Democratic Party must:
(1) Work to reinstate protection of fairness in the media through federal regulations such as those known as the Fairness Doctrine, which was adopted in 1949 by the FCC but removed in 1989. Such regulations would, for example insure that equal time be provided to all candidates running for office and attenuate the controlling power of wealth.
(2) Urge that the restrictions on the number of media outlets owned by a single individual, corporation, or entity be reinstated so that credibility, fairness, and relevance are not stifled by the power of wealth to control the public right to know.
(3) Congress and the FCC should prevent the federal administration and other public entities form using public funds to pay for editorial comments or advertising to promotion partisan political agendas.”
The policy of the FCC that became known, as the "Fairness Doctrine" was an attempt to ensure that all coverage of controversial issues by broadcast media be balanced and fair. The FCC took the view, in 1949, that station licensees were "public trustees," and as such had an obligation to afford reasonable opportunity for discussion of contrasting points of view. In 1985, the FCC issued the Fairness Report, finding that the fairness doctrine reduced the quality and quantity of public affairs programming, did not serve the public interest, and probably offended the First Amendment. Nevertheless, the FCC refused to repeal the fairness doctrine. Instead, the Commission took the politically prudent path of suggesting that Congress do something. Congress did nothing, but eventually after losing several court cases, the Doctrine was repealed by the FCC in 1987.
The broadcasting market reacted immediately to the death of the fairness doctrine in 1987. The volume of public affairs programming began growing quickly. Much of this growth was in talk radio, and the most popular of the talk radio shows — particularly the Rush Limbaugh show — were conservative. This new style of conservative talk radio was not genteel and balanced. It was loud, opinionated, and highly rated. It was market driven. People listened to it for not only information, but also entertainment. Democrats had no one to compete with conservatives on air so they attempted to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine. a number of time the past twenty years, but have failed. Liberals still like to talk about how to stop conservative broadcasting. Take for example this conversation Senator Inhofe had with a couple of colleagues.
On Thursday June 21, 2007, US Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) appeared on the John Ziegler evening show on KFI 640 AM in Los Angeles. Inhofe discussed with Ziegler a conversation he overheard, and then joined, with Senators Hillary Clinton and Barbara Boxer where they discussed the need for a "legislative fix" to "have balance" in talk radio, after complaining about talk radio being "nothing but far-right-wing extremists." Their solution was a reinstatement of the “Fairness Doctrine.”

Oklahoma Democrats are right there with Hillary and Boxer. They want the taxpayers or private enterprise to give them the broadcast time that Republicans are paying for. For five years, Georgia Williams and I hosted a weekly two-hour political talk show called The Grapevine. It was broadcast live on Saturday mornings throughout SW Okla. We purchased a two-hour block of time and sold advertising to pay the cost. We never asked the station owner to give us the block of time. We didn’t lobby our Congressman for a grant to pay for the time. Our mission statement was “if there is no market for our dibble, then the advertisers will quit and we will go off the air.” When we voluntarily gave up the show in 2005, it was because it was so time consuming.
With this resolution, Oklahoma Democrats are attacking the free market system and free speech. They are expecting private enterprise and government to pay the bill so they can get their message out. That’s not the pioneering spirit that built Oklahoma. This resolution reveals the Oklahoma Democratic party has turned blue and has all the liberal leanings of the national party.

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