Tag Archives: Fairness Doctrine

The News Pauper: On Freedom of Speech in the Year 2010

By W.B. Dunne

As the News Pauper peruses the demise of sensible discourse since the end of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, he is forced to ask himself if the Founding Fathers expected anything like Fox News or Rush Limbaugh to exist. It seems to be common belief that the actions of these right-wing ‘Nattering Nabobs’ and those like them will somehow put the Constitution to a test…those archaic intellects can’t be safe in a world with Mass Media Mensas like Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes to contend with!

It seems to smack of panic-stricken recognition of the threat of irrelevance or defeat that drives the daily shrillness on Fox. Glenn Beck bounces the rhetorical superball down the crazy collider and Rush superconducts the energy generated into the mainstream conversation.

In the beginning, Rush carried the crazy relatively alone, but now, a generation later, the crazy is refracted and amplified. Like shards in the gutter from some smash and grab, there are so many knock-offs of Rush we may never be completely free of them.

The NP begs the reader to consider the environment in which our founding documents were spawned, and consider the possibility that the intent of the First Amendment was the following:

Hyperbole must exhaust itself eventually, so there is much to be gained by allowing that energy to dissipate itself than to waste energy fighting or censoring it. The Founders knew this and made it a priority for their timeless document.

Many see the Citizens United decision in the US Supreme Court as a challenge to the First Amendment’s ability to protect the rights of common citizens in this country, in favor of large corporations spending huge sums to affect the results of elections. The NP sees the wisdom of the Founders peeping through…having the benefit of being true visionaries rather than false Fox Prophets…they realized that it is human nature to react in the moment and to only play these things out to their extremes in retrospect, after the effect of the momentary reaction has taken place and the benefit of the insight is useless.

How lucky we are as a society to be the beneficiaries of such a system, which intentionally stems the knee from jerking when it is struck by something.

The way that this is set up, every dime that is spent attempting to undermine democracy is doomed to be lost by the ones doing the undermining…and absorbed into the democracy itself.

The NP has done his share of complaining about the state of the nation due to the rhetoric in the discourse, but has recently been shown the light by the Founders themselves. I’m convinced that the corner has been turned and the light of democracy will soon shine its warmth again. The desperate crowing of the right is the ‘tell’ for me, it is a degree of hyperbole that demonstrates the final throes, if you will, of an ill-planned and poorly executed attack on democracy by a cabal of evil and their laughable junior minions.

All the money in the world won’t remove the stain of guilt from Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, who brought us George Bush, the first selected President in American History.

Karl Rove is attempting a big comeback with his American Crossroads unit. Funded primarily by those with the most to lose in the restoration of the interests of the general welfare, it will be a pleasure to see them fade into history, under the circular file name “Frauds”.

Once these elements of our society are rendered obsolete, we can begin the task of bringing the greed to heel. I predict that, one day, conspicuous consumption, which is veiled with words like “exclusive” or “upscale,” will give way to conspicuous generosity.

Perhaps it will be the goal of the corporate person itself!

A child will one day say to herself,

“I wish to grow up to be a philanthropic trillionare CEO of Corporation X, so I could be credited with the relief of the suffering of generations of humans by conquering poverty and disease through the eradication of ignorance.”

It is quite enough for the NP to have a few read this and smile.

For now.

© W.B. Dunne. All Rights Reserved.