|February 24, 2006|
The Republican Talk Radio "Big Lie"
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
It has always been known that more people will believe a lie, the bigger the lie is and the more often the lie is repeated. Talk radio as defined by the Republican Right mindset is completely based on lies. The entire way Republican Right talk show hosts present political events and issues are based on lies designed to deceive their listeners instead of educating them.
The Republican Right dominates talk radio entirely by using business pressure to keep Democrats, environmentalists, labor leaders, progressives and independent thinkers off the air. Arnie Arnesen in New Hampshire and Guy James in Florida are two of the most recent examples of Republican using business pressure to censor Democratic talk show programs. This writer will write more columns soon giving details on Arnie Arnesen and Guy James among other talkers forced off the air by what should be illegal actions by Republican businesses.
Republican business leaders routinely organize advertiser boycotts to pressure the few independent radio station owners to remove local Democratic friendly talk shows off the air. Examples are everywhere for the past few decades. When the FCC removed the Equal Time Provisions and Fairness Doctrines from broadcasting (starting under Ronald Reagan), Republican Right fanatics, with huge amounts of money, targeted radio. The removed broadcasting restrictions should immediately be returned to American broadcasting law. Station owners are using, free of charge, the public airwaves for private profit. They should be required to serve the public interest by promoting fairness and balance in terms of political programming.
Talk radio was seen as a way to advance their political agenda while avoiding campaign finance laws and lobbying restrictions. Corporations and Republican Right local business leaders started using their advertising budgets to achieve political goals like stopping consumers from suing them, weakening labor law enforcement, fighting increases in the minimum wage, fighting environmental protection regulations, etc.
By gutting the monopoly ownership provisions, fewer and fewer business concerns began to own the stations and control broadcasting. The Republican Right "Big Lie" is that Democratic shows cannot gain large listening audiences. The second supporting lie is that advertisers will buy time on shows that gain large listening audiences regardless of their political content.
The Republican Right business community has used their political agenda funded by advertising dollars to change laws in order to make huge profits. They shifted the tax burden once carried by large corporations to individual middle class taxpayers. They advanced the "free trade" nonsense relentlessly until most Americans falsely believe that sending good paying jobs out of country and globalization is inevitable and not the result of deliberate policy choices by governments and large corporations acting together.
They have undermined traditional American political values. They have made money the dominant force in American politics instead of the average voters. They have lowered voter turn-out by making political discussions nasty and vicious. They created a climate that tolerates corruption, "no-bid" contracts and vote rigging.
The Republican Right talk radio shows have convinced many weak-minded voters that Bush is essentially above the law. They convinced many that any criticism of Republican policies or Republican politicians is somehow un-Patriotic. Shockingly, they have promoted a hatred of the Poor even to some Christian listeners. They have sold government abuses as "common sense," even when those very same abuses caused our Founding Fathers to revolt against the oppressive government of King George during the American Revolution.
Radio station owners should have their broadcasting licenses revoked when they fail to promote diversity in political programming. They should be required by law to publicly report all politically motivated advertiser boycotts or threats. Listeners should be able to know about these attempts so they can boycott those businesses for their attempts at political censorship.
Our American freedom requires a free exchange of ideas. Those using our publicly-owned airwaves should be required by law to advance that free exchange of ideas. They owe us that information in exchange for their huge private profits made from use of our airwaves. They should not be using our assets to manipulate us politically!
I urge everyone to send this commentary to your local newspaper, radio station, Chamber of Commerce and legislators. It is time for Democrats and independents to gain a voice on local radio. Anyone is welcome to publish this article in full anywhere.
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
Written by Stephen Crockett, co-host of Democratic Talk Radio.
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