Friday, October 31, 2008

Obama Does Not Support The Fairness Doctrine

Charles Krauthammer, whose reputation as a knee-jerk dolt would be unrivaled were it not for the continued vitality of Robert Kagan, furnishes all good Americans with another characteristically over the top screed titled "Further Left than LBJ", in which he asserts that Obama is, well, further left than LBJ. Of course, they said the same thing about Clinton. And Dukakis. In fact, they used to say the same thing about McCain (and after hearing his mortgage proposal, I think they may have a point). I wonder why McGovern gets so little respect? Used to be he was the high water mark for Democratic Leftiness.

Anyway, I'm just not really in the mood to do a Full Fathom Five Fisking of Krauthammer's many unfounded claims and exaggerations. But one did leap out at me - the notion that the election of Barack Obama will mean a return to the "Fairness Doctrine". Now, the so-called Fairness Doctrine truly is an odious concept, and I would be very disappointed to see any former lecturer in Constitutional Law support it. So does Obama? In a word, no.

Sen. Obama does not support reimposing the Fairness Doctrine on broadcasters," press secretary Michael Ortiz said in an e-mail to B&C late Wednesday.

"He considers this debate to be a distraction from the conversation we should be having about opening up the airwaves and modern communications to as many diverse viewpoints as possible," Ortiz added. "That is why Sen. Obama supports media-ownership caps, network neutrality, public broadcasting, as well as increasing minority ownership of broadcasting and print outlets."

Thus Obama supports many other measures, all of which are debatable on their own merits. However, they lack a certain soundbite quality. Nonetheless Krauthammer, never one to feel overly hemmed in by the facts, simply makes up a policy position and ascribes it to Obama. Hey, it's worth a try.

Krauthammer. A delightful name for a delightful man. Sounds rather like a guest at one of Jay Gatsby's parties, doesn't it?

P.S. Jesse Walker has a pretty even-handed treatment of this topic.

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