And Now We Descend Into Farce

Arizona Sheriff Blasts Rush Limbaugh for Spewing ‘Irresponsible’ Vitriol

“The kind of rhetoric that flows from people like Rush Limbaugh, in my judgment he is irresponsible, uses partial information, sometimes wrong information,” Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said today. “[Limbaugh] attacks people, angers them against government, angers them against elected officials and that kind of behavior in my opinion is not without consequences.”

I am beginning to feel unclean, having to come to the defense of Palin and now Limbaugh. I do not admire either one.

Limbaugh, “vitriolic,” really? I listened to him daily in his heyday. I almost wound up working for him, for god’s sake (something I’ve never revealed until now). You can call Limbaugh many things — disingenuous, blindly partisan, a con artist, a coward, a liar, a drug addict, even unfair — but “vitriolic” is just off-base, period.

Limbaugh and his ilk are the direct result of abolishling the Fairness Doctrine. Even Bob Grant has admitted more than once that until the Fairness Doctrine was gone, he couldn’t do the kind of all-politics all-the-time programs that he did.

Talk radio, even with Grant screaming “I’ll punch your nose right down your throat!”, was very tame in the 1970s, when it began to mature as a medium. Most hosts had daily variety in their shows. They’d interview entertainers, writers, reporters, and sometimes politicians. It was mainly a news and entertainment medium.

Political talk was primarily done by someone like Bob Grant — and he was constrained by the Fairness Doctrine in what he could say. This was not restraint of speech, it was a public policy decision. The government back then still believed that the airwaves belonged to the public and licensees held a public trust. It was in the public interest that a variety of viewpoints got an airing. I also have to think that the adults who formulated that policy knew that given free reign, the power of money would dominate in broadcasting opinions. The Fairness Doctrine held that impulse in check.

So if Dupnik has a problem with what’s being said on the public airwaves, let’s see him agitate at the Federal Communications Commission, which has allowed money — and not variety — to dominate the air.

Previously here:

Low Politicians Need To Meet High Ground
If YOU Do Something, Only YOU Are Responsible

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