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FCC and Right-Wing Radio Helping U.S. Press Freedom Slip Away (Molly Ivins Alert)
Creators Syndicate via sltrib.com ^ | 02/03/2003 | Molly Ivins

Posted on 02/03/2003 11:51:40 AM PST by GeneD

Now here's a dandy example of the kind of thing that never makes it to the front page or the top of the news broadcast, but that affects absolutely everyone. The Federal Communications Commission, led by Michael ("my religion is the market") Powell, is fixing to remove the last remaining barriers against concentration of media.

This means one company can own all the radio stations, television stations, newspapers and cable systems in any given area. Presently, 10 companies own over 90 percent of the media outlets. Bill Kovach of the Committee of Concerned Journalists and Tom Rosenstiel of the Project for Excellence in Journalism say these are the most sweeping changes in the rules that govern ownership of American media since the 1940s. The ownership rules were put in place after we had seen how totalitarian governments use domination of the media to goad their countries into war.

We already know what happens when the free market zealots remove restrictions on ownership. In 1996, the FCC eliminated its rules on radio ownership. Conglomerates now own hundreds of stations around the country. One company, Clear Channel, owns more than 1,200 stations, and there are 30 percent fewer station owners than there were before 1996. The result is less local news and local programming, since the formats are programmed at headquarters. Clear Channel owns as many as six or seven stations in a market, broadcasting generic country, generic pop, generic oldies, etc.

The fearless investigative television journalism we have all come to expect (an hourlong special on Michael Jackson's face in the works) will not be improved by this move. The FCC is doing this in an almost covert way. FCC Commissioner Michael Copps reports that only under pressure did the commission agree to hold one lone public hearing on it, in Richmond, Va.

A coalition of consumer and media advocacy groups presented a 140-page filing that shows joint ownership of newspaper and broadcast outlets fails to meet the constitutional requirement, set out by the Supreme Court in 1945, that "the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the people."

In 1987, FCC commissioners appointed by Ronald Reagan repealed the Fairness Doctrine, and that has already had a stunning effect on political debate in this country. That same year, Congress put the Fairness Doctrine into law, but Reagan vetoed it with this memorable rationalization, "The Fairness Doctrine is inconsistent with the tradition of independent journalism." The Fairness Doctrine had been upheld by the Supreme Court in a 1969 decision that viewed the airwaves as a "public trust" and said fairness required the public trust to accurately reflect opposing views. In a 1986 decision, the D.C. Federal Court of Appeals in a 2-to-1 decision upheld a new FCC rule refusing to apply the Fairness Doctrine to television text. The two prevailing judges were Antonin Scalia and Robert Bork.

Edward Monks, a lawyer in Eugene, Ore., did a report for the newspaper there last year on the prevalence of right-wing hosts on radio talk shows. "The spectrum of opinion on national political commercial talk radio shows ranges from extreme right wing to very extreme right wing -- there is virtually nothing else." Monks notes the irony that many of these right-wing hosts spend much of their time complaining about "the liberal media."

On the two Eugene talk stations, Monks found: "There are 80 hours per week, more than 4,000 hours per year, programmed for Republican and conservative talk shows, without a single second programmed for a Democratic or liberal perspective. . . . Political opinions expressed on talk radio are approaching the level of uniformity that would normally be achieved only in a totalitarian society. There is nothing fair, balanced or democratic about it."

To point out the obvious, broadcasters and their national advertisers have a clear stake in promoting the views of those who advocate lower taxes on the rich and on big corporations. What is so perfectly loony about the FCC's proposal to unleash yet another round of media concentration is that it is being done in the name of "the free market."

Is the free market not supposed to encourage competition rather than lead to its disappearance? The U.S. now ranks 17th, below Costa Rica and Slovenia, on the worldwide index of press freedom established by the Reporters Without Borders.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: antoninscalia; clearchannel; fcc; michaelcopps; michaelpowell; robertbork; vrwc; waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
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1 posted on 02/03/2003 11:51:40 AM PST by GeneD
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To: GeneD
Molly Ivans once won a blue ribbon in the
hay eating category at the Texas Fair.
2 posted on 02/03/2003 11:54:43 AM PST by cactusSharp
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To: GeneD
She's absolutely right.
3 posted on 02/03/2003 11:56:07 AM PST by mg39
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To: GeneD; dighton; Poohbah; aculeus; general_re
"The U.S. now ranks 17th, below Costa Rica and Slovenia, on the worldwide index of press freedom established by the Reporters Without Borders."

Now, there's an unbiased group to make the judgment.
(sarcasm ... off)

In other words, unless your reporting is done in such a manner that no one can tell within which border you're writing your articles or expounding on your radio program, it's slanted and unfair.

Piffle. Molly would only look good with an apple in her mouth, surrounded by potatoes, on top of coals in a hole in the ground. Her inate intelligence is about on par with that level of organism as well.

4 posted on 02/03/2003 12:02:20 PM PST by BlueLancer (Der Elite Møøsenspåånkængruppen ØberKømmååndø (EMØØK))
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To: GeneD
I am sure the Molly Ivans would fix that by prohibiting non-politically correct speech from being uttered.
5 posted on 02/03/2003 12:03:33 PM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Even if the government took all your earnings, you wouldn’t be, in its eyes, a slave)
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To: GeneD; dighton; general_re; Poohbah
"The spectrum of opinion on national political commercial talk radio shows ranges from extreme right wing to very extreme right wing -- there is virtually nothing else."

I wonder where my favorite stations belonging to the "Attila the Hun Broadcasting Network" fall into that range.

6 posted on 02/03/2003 12:04:25 PM PST by BlueLancer (Der Elite Møøsenspåånkængruppen ØberKømmååndø (EMØØK))
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To: cactusSharp
Has anyone ever seen Molly Ivans and Helen Thomas at the same time?
7 posted on 02/03/2003 12:05:40 PM PST by ken5050
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To: BlueLancer
Ms. Ivins, why the fuss? We the people have alternate sources for news besides radio, TV and newspapers. It's called the Internet and specifically sites such as Free Republic.
8 posted on 02/03/2003 12:06:28 PM PST by calvin sun
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To: GeneD
"less local news and local programming"

Not true!! But then since when did Molly ever tell the truth about anything.

I sent her an e-mail once complaining about something she said. Instead of explaining her point - she personally attacked me with the most viscious and mean-spirited statements. I was stunned when I read it.

Since then, I don't even pay attention to her.
9 posted on 02/03/2003 12:08:07 PM PST by CyberAnt ( Yo! Syracuse)
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To: BlueLancer
Rush IS equal time!
10 posted on 02/03/2003 12:10:43 PM PST by philosofy123
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To: GeneD
Simplistic left wing drivel. Liberals no longer have a monopoly on content, so now it's time cry "foul". Plus, many of us use the internet to find things out. Again, the left cries "foul".
No left wing radio??? It's been tried by Jim Hightower and, as I was reminded by a smart FReeper, Mario Cuomoalso tried his voice at the microphone. Both shows stunk. Both shows were cancelled. If listeners want hours of whining and comnplaining they can go to a nursery school.

11 posted on 02/03/2003 12:10:55 PM PST by JeeperFreeper
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To: GeneD
In 1987, FCC commissioners appointed by Ronald Reagan repealed the Fairness Doctrine, and that has already had a stunning effect on political debate in this country.

In other words, Molly is upset that the conservative point of view is getting out and causing the liberals to lose elections.

12 posted on 02/03/2003 12:13:00 PM PST by Phantom Lord (No Remorse)
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To: GeneD
You gotta remember one thing Molly Ivans and commies like her consider ABCCNNCBSNBC conservative and the NY Slimes/Washington Postal "Middle of the road".
13 posted on 02/03/2003 12:14:42 PM PST by Dan from Michigan (I feel the need...for speed!!!!)
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To: GeneD
"less local news and local programming"

A large portion of the AM radio chanells that carry Rush are almost totally dedicated to "local" news and issues. In the 3 cities i have lived in the past 15 years, Rush was carried on the LOCAL news station. And outside of Rush and a couple other syndicated shows the rest of the programming was local.

14 posted on 02/03/2003 12:14:55 PM PST by Phantom Lord (No Remorse)
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To: GeneD
"less local news and local programming"

Further on this issue, wasn't one of the biggest obstacles facing Rush when he started his journey to national greatness that he had to overcome program managers objections to his "national" focus? They all said he would fail because AM radio listeners wanted "local" programming and information.

15 posted on 02/03/2003 12:16:12 PM PST by Phantom Lord (No Remorse)
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To: Phantom Lord
Wonder who wrote this for dear Molly ?
16 posted on 02/03/2003 12:18:55 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: ken5050
Molly Ivans and Helen Thomas cannot be one the same acre...takes an acre a cow just to feed em
17 posted on 02/03/2003 12:20:03 PM PST by cactusSharp
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To: GeneD
Molly Ivins = Verbal Stench
18 posted on 02/03/2003 12:33:00 PM PST by RAT Patrol
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To: GeneD
"the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the people."

And this can only happen, as has been proven time and time again, with the free market. What Ms Ivins is advocating of course, is more government control of both content and entry into the market. No single entity could control the "dissemination of information" in a free market because it would be consumer driven. Even if you owned them all, you'd still have to give people what they want.

I would prefer a single, powerful corporate entity any day to a single, powerful government one.

19 posted on 02/03/2003 12:33:59 PM PST by wayoverontheright
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To: ken5050
Has anyone ever seen Molly Ivans and Helen Thomas at the same time?

That scenario gave me pause.

20 posted on 02/03/2003 12:35:35 PM PST by Semper Paratus
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To: GeneD
To point out the obvious, broadcasters and their national advertisers have a clear stake in promoting the views of those who advocate lower taxes on the rich and on big corporations.

That's a great example of what the left fears, but wouldn't come to pass because the retailing of information would be consumer driven. If you don't give the people what they want, they will turn it off. Once again, the left OVERESTIMATES the power of business in a competitive arena.

21 posted on 02/03/2003 12:39:20 PM PST by wayoverontheright
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To: GeneD
Its has been put to the free market, and the free market has decided that no one wants to listen to liberal talk show hosts.

I think that this is because if youre liberal you will eventually have to come out against the U.S. and people just dont want to listen to that kind of crap.
22 posted on 02/03/2003 12:39:42 PM PST by Sabretooth (My handle is SabREtooth not SabERtooth.)
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To: ken5050
"Has anyone ever seen Molly Ivans and Helen Thomas at the same time?"

No one could stand it.
23 posted on 02/03/2003 12:44:50 PM PST by sticker
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To: GeneD
Now why do you think NPR (tax-payer funded) was not mentioned in that article, or for that matter whenever the "Fairness" Docterine is brought up?
24 posted on 02/03/2003 12:46:04 PM PST by YankeeReb
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To: cactusSharp; BlueLancer
Molly Ivins once won a blue ribbon in the hay eating category at the Texas Fair. / Molly would only look good with an apple in her mouth, surrounded by potatoes, on top of coals in a hole in the ground.

Mmmmmmmmm, roast suckling donkey.

25 posted on 02/03/2003 12:50:01 PM PST by dighton
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To: mg39
"She's absolutely right."

Yes, she is. But you're going to get flamed anyway!

Carolyn

26 posted on 02/03/2003 12:53:06 PM PST by CDHart
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To: CDHart
But you're going to get flamed anyway! I know. ;) Thanks for the support. Yes, Ms. Ivins is liberal, but I think we all need to remember that no side has a monopoly on the truth.
27 posted on 02/03/2003 12:54:45 PM PST by mg39
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To: GeneD
Molly Ivins seems to grieve the fact that talk radio is predominantly conservative, but neglects to mention that the TV networks (except Fox) and the print media are lopsidely liberal. Of course, if she approvingly cites a source that would describe talk shows like Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity as "far extreme right," (what would she think of Michael Savage or Gordon Liddy, much less libertarians or conspiracy theory advocates!) she would probably view NPR as middle of the road and Jennings, Rather, Brokaw, et. al., as moderately conservative. Her use of "conservative" and "liberal" labels seems to derive from a different planet from the usage of reasonable people.

That said, Ms. Ivins may have a point with respect to business concentrations potentially squeezing out other viewpoints. The rationale for government regulation was to facilitate a diversity of opinions. However, in real life, regulation becomes a tool of those in power. Remember that the "Fairness Doctrine" was used by the Johnson Administration as a club against its conservative opposition, such as H. L. Hunt's subsidized radio shows and the ministry of Rev. Carl McIntyre, a 1960s precursor of the "Christian Right." The "Fairness Doctrine" was not used on the "Big Three" netowrks, as they did not run commentaries, but routinely reported the news from a slanted liberal perspective. From the mid-1960s to the late 1980s, there was essentially a state-sanctioned news cartel with ABC, CBS, and NBC (and, later CNN) disseminating radio and TV news and opinion from a relentlessly liberal standpoint. Opinion shows, such as "Meet the Press," were usually stacked against conservative politicians and commentators. Of course, there was also PBS, to the left of the cartel politically, but state-subsidized. Conservatives were stuck with small circulation magazines and the talents of the Great Communicator, Ronald Reagan, during this 20-plus year period.

Talk radio helped get conservative ideas discussed in places other than small circulation magazines, dinner tables, and (sometimes) the pulpits of evangelical Christian churches. Rest assured the left would like to shut it down, and clamp down on the Internet as well.

28 posted on 02/03/2003 12:56:11 PM PST by Wallace T.
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To: GeneD
actually, I'd personally be happy to trade them CBS for a radio station :) Sounds fair...

What I don't understand is why folks haven't realized that the GROWTH of conservative radio was BECAUSE of the liberal stranglehold on mainstream media. Like the Kurds, we were simply fleeing the poison gas...
29 posted on 02/03/2003 12:58:15 PM PST by Tamzee
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To: GeneD
It's funny.....when dereg was proposed and the fairness doctrine was diminished and eliminated, it was conservatives and religious folks who were up in arms over over loosing it. Funny how things change.
30 posted on 02/03/2003 1:03:24 PM PST by joesbucks
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To: GeneD
Is the free market not supposed to encourage competition rather than lead to its disappearance

The free market is meant to reward those that provide a needed service to the public. Part of its function is to eliminate those suppliers whose products or services are not required by the public e.g. the radio shows of Mario Cuomo and Jim Hightower. It is not the function of the free market to subsidise a section of the market which is not viable.

The government has taken upon itself the (unconstitutional)duty to subsidise those views which would not otherwise be commercially viable viz PBS,NPR etc.

Get a Lone Star Molly and go back in your kennel.

31 posted on 02/03/2003 1:15:32 PM PST by Timocrat
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To: GeneD
Actually, I do worry about the media being owned by too few companies.

All it takes is for one Ted Turner to buy up all the media and decide to program the useful idiots out there to follow him to the commune.

Competition is good.

32 posted on 02/03/2003 1:17:24 PM PST by narby
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To: wayoverontheright
What Ms Ivins is advocating of course, is more government control of both content and entry into the market.

This is Ms Ivin's (and the left's) opening salvo in demanding the return of the Fairness Act.

It might be funny if Molly weren't so vicious.

So, a tip of the VRWC hat to Ms Ivins. And, although I abhor profanity, she can jam this column up her.....(sun don't shine?)

33 posted on 02/03/2003 1:18:26 PM PST by Ole Okie
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To: GeneD
can you spell c-o-w
34 posted on 02/03/2003 1:19:45 PM PST by The Wizard (Demonrats are enemies of America)
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To: CDHart; mg39
"She's absolutely right."--mg39

Yes, she is. But you're going to get flamed anyway!--CDHart

There IS, theoretically, some sense in partitioning the market for broadcast music--multiple stations which don't pretend to compete for the same listening tastes. And I take it that that is the point of ownership of multiple stations in a given market.

The real fallacy, of course, is the false distinction between New York Times / NPR style verbal "objective reporting" and "talk radio." Even were "objective reporting" always factual (Gore wins Florida, anyone?) there is no principled way of determining what is important; journalism finesses that problem somewhat by restricting its attention to what attention-grabbing (unusual and, typically, bad) thing happened recently. That the reporter knows of.

What is called "talk radio" is opinion, and pretends to nothing else--which is actually morally superior to journalism unless the journalist actually does know and choose to report the important--not merely the most exciting--information.

But if you think about it, history would be a lot less exciting if journalism actually told us what was important; who knows what all journalism was prattling about in the 1930s when the only really important thing was the opinion of Winston Churchill about Adolph Hitler and Josef Stalin.

35 posted on 02/03/2003 1:35:39 PM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion
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To: GeneD
The U.S. now ranks 17th, below Costa Rica and Slovenia, on the worldwide index of press freedom established by the Reporters Without Borders.

Wow. I bet they're just as unbiased as Medicins Sans Frontieres... (Doctors Without Borders)

36 posted on 02/03/2003 1:40:19 PM PST by HumanaeVitae (If the Constitution is a "Living Document", does anyone have his phone number? Address? Anyone?)
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To: Timocrat
The government has taken upon itself the (unconstitutional)duty to subsidise those views which would not otherwise be commercially viable viz PBS,NPR etc.
But then, the government created and controls all broadcasting via the FCC. Nothing the FCC does makes any constitutional sense if applied to print.

37 posted on 02/03/2003 1:43:55 PM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion
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To: HumanaeVitae
Maybe she should get with Katrina Vanden Huevel and see if anybody else gives a damn. The renewal of the fairness doctrine is a debate from the left seen coming 3000 miles away. Besides, the liberals say that talk radio is only for those who need somebody to lean on to form their views - the left is too intellectual for talk radio - so the bottom line is - WHO CARES?
38 posted on 02/03/2003 1:46:53 PM PST by StopThePress
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To: mg39
Ivans is a lieing sack of Helen Thomases.

Would you rather have Liberal Talk shows all over the radio. Present day Liberals (neo-commies) do not equal the truth.
39 posted on 02/03/2003 1:56:05 PM PST by ohioman
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To: GeneD
One company, Clear Channel, owns more than 1,200 stations

And they bought them up just as satellite-based digital radio was being perfected. Their mistake.


40 posted on 02/03/2003 2:19:57 PM PST by Nick Danger (Heave la France)
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To: ohioman
If you think that liberals = commies, and that conservatives own the truth, we have nothing to discuss. Fanaticism may be fun, but it's self-defeating in the end.

Just ask the Taliban.
41 posted on 02/03/2003 2:27:39 PM PST by mg39
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To: cactusSharp
...meet the constitutional requirement, set out by the Supreme Court in 1945.

Damn my public school education! I thought the constitution was older than that.

42 posted on 02/03/2003 2:48:28 PM PST by Grit (Tolerance for all but the intolerant.)
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To: CDHart; mg39
"She's absolutely right."
"Yes, she is. But you're going to get flamed anyway!

Alright I went back and read it again. What on Earth is she right about?

43 posted on 02/03/2003 3:01:00 PM PST by Grit (Tolerance for all but the intolerant...and those that tolerate intolerance)
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To: GeneD
Memo to Molly:

No matter who owns radio stations, for example, they usually own them to MAKE MONEY.

Stations MAKE MONEY when they play stuff that people want to hear, and thereby expose themselves to advertisers who PAY MONEY.

If there was a massive audience for one of these left-wing hosts, that host would have burst upon the national scene by now.

Sorry.
44 posted on 02/03/2003 3:02:07 PM PST by fightinJAG
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To: Phantom Lord
The fairness doctrine was created by the libs to suppress right wing radio decades ago..and it worked. Any station which had conservative content was attacked at license renewal time for being "biased". The result was ideological cleansing of the airwaves. The libs, meanwhile, controlled the tv airwaves (and somehow, the fairness doctrine was never used to rectify THAT bias).

In a nutshell, this witch wants to use the government to suppress ideas with which she disagrees.

45 posted on 02/03/2003 3:06:46 PM PST by quebecois
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To: Wallace T.
"In real life, regulation becomes a tool for those in power"

Exactly right. This woman would rather have the government mandate an ideological perspective on the radio waves similar to the one that exists on our college campuses.

46 posted on 02/03/2003 3:09:37 PM PST by quebecois
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To: Semper Paratus
Has anyone ever seen Molly Ivans and Helen Thomas at the same time?

That scenario gave me pause.

Do you think they could be .......lovers?

Try NOT thinking about that scenario!


47 posted on 02/03/2003 3:11:32 PM PST by tet68
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To: mg39
If you think that liberals = commies,

You're right, most prefer the PC and deceptive labels of democratic socialist and progressive.

and that conservatives own the truth, we have nothing to discuss.

Nobody owns the truth. It is there or not there. What we argue about are perceptions and perspectives.

48 posted on 02/03/2003 3:12:27 PM PST by amused
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To: GeneD
On the two Eugene talk stations, Monks found: "There are 80 hours per week, more than 4,000 hours per year, programmed for Republican and conservative talk shows, without a single second programmed for a Democratic or liberal perspective. . . . Political opinions expressed on talk radio are approaching the level of uniformity that would normally be achieved only in a totalitarian society. There is nothing fair, balanced or democratic about it."

That's because brainless morons, "aka", liberals, cannot think for themselves. Radio involves an intimate relationship with the discussion and arguments. It requires analytical computation and cognotive processing. Television, on the other hand, requires you to push buttons on a remote and nod your head in agreement when the "leftist" zealot mashes lies into your eardrum.

I can't foresee a liberal making it on talk radio. You can only say the same rhetoric, without exposing the facts and logical conclusions that stem from them, for so long. It's the "facts" and "logic" that make talk a radio such a hit. The intelligent underground of America is glued to their radio and has unplugged the cadre of newspeak. The liberals are flaming mad about it and I expect a full blown attack on radio in the upcoming years.

49 posted on 02/03/2003 3:14:48 PM PST by YoungKentuckyConservative
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To: mg39
Yes, Ms. Ivins is liberal, but I think we all need to remember that no side has a monopoly on the truth.

That Molly Ivins is a liberal is a factor considering this is the new Demo/liberal talking point.

If you mean concentration of media owenership is potentially dangerous and offers cookie cut-out radio, I can agree with you.

If you think such concentration is what Ivins thinks, that this is a plot to shove "right wing" (just count how many times that phrase is used in the article) ideology on some unsuspecting listeners without any diffferent choices, I suggest you find another site.

50 posted on 02/03/2003 3:21:30 PM PST by amused (Don't call them liberals, socialists or left wing statists is more truthful.)
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