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by Steve Young

Steve Young columns

The Right is back to their old tricks, as if they ever left them.

Now it's not the Fairness Doctrine. It's the "Censorship Doctrine." Instead of giving both sides fair access to the airwaves, it's taking it away from the Right.

No one need to look further than my debate with Sean Hannity and Brent Bozell of the Media Research Centers on Hannity's syndicated radio show last Tuesday where both Hannity and Bozell quickly re-labeled the Fairness Doctrine as the Censorship Doctrine, which in all honesty was Sean's invention which Bozell happily hopped on.

For the record, the Fairness Doctrine was a U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) policy that required the holders of broadcast licenses to present issues in a manner that was honest, equitable, and balanced. Not just say you're balanced. Actually be balanced.

Calling the Fairness Doctrine "censorship" is as much a misnomer as calling Pro-choice groups "Pro-abortion." It's simply an attempt to demonize the opposition without the need for accuracy. The Fairness Doctrine doesn't tell a talker what he can say nor even mandates the need to tell the truth.. As with most of this self-serving branding it uses an Orwellian contortion to portray the issue as the opposite of the truth. If there is any voice that is being excluded, it is that of the Left. In some major cities, no major talk station uses a so-called liberal talk show host in their weekday lineup.

The Right has always been artists for their capacity to frame the debate in terms that romanticizes their argument while demonizing the opposition's. Bill O'Reilly who has made a living out of deeming anyone who doesn't think as he does as "secular progressive" or SPs. "Secular" to read "atheist" of "agnostic," and "progressive" to mean "not as our founding fathers would have wanted." On the other hand, O'Reilly's assesses his own views as God-reverent and traditional (a further delineation that O'Reilly considers "all that is good).

To think that this style is anything less that tagging your adversary as the bad guys, would, in effect, make you a secular progressive. O'Reilly's defense that he isn't saying that all those on the left are God-rejecters falls flat when you discover that his hit-list of SP Democrats who practice "traditional" religions that tend to believe in God.

On the Glenn Beck show this past Friday, syndicated son of Lucianne Goldberg, Jonah, while promoting his book, "Liberal Fascism," said "when you're fighting liberalism, you make it about protecting free speech." Pleasant tactic, aye? In fact, misleading the public is free speech, but so is telling the truth. The Left just wants its opportunity to choose which they want to broadcast and then have the opportunity to give it to the public. And truth be know, the airwaves are owned by the public. The stations only license its use. If the stations, as they are presently, only choose to serve half the public, is the public actually being served?

Today, all's fair in love and war...just not in talk radio. Since "fairness" doesn't cut it with the Right, perhaps the Left needs to frame their own argument better. Instead of being placed on the defensive, which is exactly talk radio's attack style, utilize the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" strategy.

"Yes, Mr and Mrs Broadcast Lord of Loud. It is about censorship. Which is what talk radio is doing more than half the public."

Award-winning TV writer and author of Great Failures of the Extremely Successful, Steve Young was an original talk show host at L.A.'s KTLK and blogs at

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Albion Monitor   November 19, 2008   (

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