He's reviled by the left for carrying the water in the U.S. Senate for those who are skeptical of manmade global warming - and that may have been enough to put him over the top for MSNBC's Keith Olbermann's "Worst Person in the World" award.
On the Jan. 14 broadcast of MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann," Olbermann cited an appearance by Inhofe on Fox News' Jan. 14 "America's Newsroom" with host Megyn Kelly to discuss the appointment of Carol Browner to be President-elect Barack Obama's new climate czar.
"But our winner, climate change denier Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, desperate to capsize the incoming energy and climate adviser, Carol Browner, branding her a secret socialist," Olbermann said. "Sounds like a Christmas thing - secret socialist."
Only problem is, it isn't a "Christmas thing" - it's real. Browner was a member of the Socialist group Commission for a Sustainable World Society, a part of the group Socialist International - a "worldwide organisation of social democratic, socialist and labour parties" that "brings together 170 political parties and organisations from all continents," according to its Web site.
Inhofe also linked Browner to the Center for American Progress (CAP) - a group that has actively supported bringing back the Fairness Doctrine in some form. According to CAP's Web site, Browner served on its board.
Olbermann continued: "And saying, ‘There is another organization that a lot of people don't realize - it's called the Center for American Progress. This report that came out, this is the group that is trying for the Fairness Doctrine, trying to, I think, dramatically upend the First Amendment. She, Carol Browner, was a member of that group.'"
Inhofe, along with Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) came forward last week to introduce legislation to that opposes the Fairness Doctrine. And as Olbermann pointed out - Inhofe cited a CAP report
"As he fulminated, Sen. Inhofe even held up a copy of a Center for American Progress report called ‘The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio,'" Olbermann said. "Only one problem, in that report, the Center for American Progress specifically concludes, quote, ‘There is no need to return to the Fairness Doctrine. Increasing ownership diversity will lead to more diverse programming.'"
But the report doesn't conclude just that.Among other things, it recommends regulations that would clamp down on conservative talk radio, giving the left an advantage in changing the status quo. They include:
- Restore local and national caps on the ownership of commercial radio stations.
- Ensure greater local accountability over radio licensing.
- Provide a license to radio broadcasters for a term no longer than three years.
- Require radio broadcast licensees to regularly show that they are operating on behalf of the public interest and provide public documentation and viewing of how they are meeting these obligations.
- Demand that the radio broadcast licensee announce when its license is about to expire and demonstrate how the public can participate in the process to determine whether the license should be extended. In addition, the FCC should be required to maintain a website to conduct on-line discussions and facilitate interaction with the public about licensee conduct.
- Require commercial owners who fail to abide by enforceable public interest obligations to pay a fee to support public broadcasting.
According to the CAP report, such a fee would net between $100 million and $250 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the parent company of a direct competitor of conservative talk radio - National Public Radio.
As Inhofe pointed out in a Jan. 7 press conference, if those suggestions governing talk radio were implemented, they could be used to intimidate station owners.
"Now that's enough to put the fear of God into anyone who's out there in this business," Inhofe said. "And I look at this really as intimidation, not as what is going to happen. But people are going to start being afraid of what kind of content is out there. So, this document pretty well formalizes that a year and a half ago they said, this is something we're going to try to do and we now have a Democrat administration coming in. So I think it's very important right now and I agree with my colleagues as how critical this issue is."
Many warn that if some form of the Fairness Doctrine were reinstated, it wouldn't be called "the Fairness Doctrine." And the CAP report advises against reinstituting the Fairness Doctrine, as it was understood before 1987, when the FCC determined that the Fairness Doctrine was no longer necessary due to the emergence of a "multiplicity of voices in the marketplace." However, it does make some very distinct recommendations that would influence a station's content.
Nonetheless, Olbermann suggested that Inhofe "read the damn thing first" without realizing the Oklahoma senator had in fact done an in-depth analysis of the report.
"So Senator, thanks for pointing out that Carol Browner belongs to a group that specifically opposes reinstating the Fairness Doctrine you're so scared of. Sen. James ‘maybe next time I'll remember to read the damn thing first' Inhofe - today's worst person in the world."