A Big Wet Kiss-Off For The Fairness Doctrine

In anticipation of Al Gore’s July 7th Live Earth concerts, Brent Bozell, president of the right-wing Media Research Center, issued a statement chastising NBC for televising the event

“This isn’t just a big wet kiss to Al Gore and his left-wing agenda, it’s a shameless acknowledgement of NBC’s bias… They might as well re-name it ‘Gorestock 2007.’ It’s tough to deny what comes from the horse’s mouth. NBC is a self-proclaimed liberal cheerleader.”

If one didn’t know better, one might think Bozell was calling for the revival of the Fairness Doctrine, which the FCC has not enforced since the 1980s, requiring equal broadcast time on television and radio for differing sides of political issues to ensure that the issue receives fair and balanced treatment.

But that can’t be the case since many right-wing groups, including Bozell’s Media Research Center see it as a way to silence right-wing radio. In an earlier press release commenting on the Fairness Doctrine, Bozell defends the partisan and ideologically driven nature of right-wing radio by citing the market for right-wing speech and subsequently condemns those that supposedly want to shut it down:

“The liberals cannot sell their product—liberal talk radio—in the marketplace, so they are planning to use the power of government to stop conservatives from selling their product, conservative talk radio. Liberals don’t believe in free exchange, tolerance, or the marketplace of ideas. They believe in the iron boot of liberalism stamping out any view that upsets the liberal apple cart.”

So what’s the problem with NBC serving as a medium for Gore’s concerts? Given the big-name musical acts performing for Live Earth, the audience and market are certainly there. Somehow, the airwaves carrying partisan right-wing radio are contributing to “free exchange” and a more fruitful “marketplace of ideas” while the airwaves carrying Live Earth are shamelessly pushing the “left-wing agenda.”

Opinions regarding global warming and Al Gore aside, to call out and criticize NBC for carrying his message is simply hypocritical, considering that right-wing radio has given out a few big wet kisses in its day.