There was an interesting debate on Fox News Sunday over the fairness doctrine (the FCC regulation that required broadcasters to give equal time to opposing views and that met its demise 20 years ago). Mike Gallagher, a conservative radio talk show host, offered one possible explanation for renewed interest on the left for reviving the doctrine:
"It's an antiquated, 1949 dinosaur that would basically make radio stations try to keep up with conservative views vs. liberal views, and frankly it's just a transparent effort by, sort of, whiny liberals to silence the opposition. They don't like the heat that they've gotten from talk radio, particularly over the illegal immigration debate. Talk radio has widely been credited with sort of galvanizing the American public, and so liberals who don't like what we've accomplished in talk radio want to have the government mandate speech. It's unconstitutional, and it's un-American."
Mark Green, the head of Air America (the liberal talk network that declared bankruptcy near the end of 2006) made his case for the return of government regulation:
"My goal, and the goal of that Center for American Progress story, is that, gee, if we're going to give this [radio spectrum] away for free, at least broadcasters fulfill your promise to hear both sides and have local hearings for license renewals. Right now, three companies for example, Cumulus, Salem, and Citadel, have 1,000 hours of conservative talk and zero of progressive. â€¦ 1,000 to zero isn't fair and balanced."
Of course, the real point here is that liberal talk radio is not a viable business model, failing everywhere it goes. As Rich Lowry pointed out in his column earlier this week,
The report of the Center for American Progress on 'The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio' marks the latest phase in liberaldom's grappling with conservative talk radio. First came the attempts to create a liberal Limbaugh--Mario Cuomo, Jim Hightower, et al.--that fell flat. Then an entire left-wing network, Air America, was founded, and foundered. So there's only one option left--if you can't beat them, and you won't join them, you can agitate for government to regulate them.
On http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19508551/ target=_blank>Meet the Press, Chuck Todd summed up the political ramifications of the collapse of George W. Bush's comprehensive immigration package:
"If you look at California 1994, all right? They used the Prop 187 at the time, that targeted immigrants, targeted Hispanics, and Pete Wilson won it, won his re-election, and the Republican Party paid a heavy price in California. Now, the Bush brand was always able to sort of elevate, inflate Hispanic numbers for Republicans. No Bushes are going to be on the ballot in 2008. That's probably going to flip New Mexico back to the Democrats, and then you've got Florida. And if--and that's where this thing could really, really hurt the Republicans. Because if they lose Florida, there is no path, there is no electoral college path to win the White House."
Another, more positive result of the Bush years is the makeup of the nation's highest court. Over at This Week, Bay Buchanan talked about that, noting
"The courts are George Bush's legacy; when I meet across this country with conservatives, there's no question that they're disappointed about George Bush on this issue or that issue, but then you always say the courts, the judges, and they say â€˜yes, we did the right thing to elect him.' And that will energize our base next year."