This Time it's Bill Clinton Wanting to Bring Back the Fairness Doctrine

NewsBusters.org | Media Research Center
Free Speech and Free Markets?  Nah.
For the third time in eight days, a prominent liberal has called for a return of the Censorship Doctrine, otherwise mis-known as the "Fairness" Doctrine.  This time it's former President and current high-dollar global thug speechifier -- and husband of the Secretary of State -- Bill Clinton.

Kudos and our sympathy to Michael Calderone at the Politico, who has to listen to a lot of really bad radio to get these quotes. 

First it was Senators Debbie Stabenow and Tom Harkin, now Clinton.

Clinton was appearing on the liberal Mario Solis Marich (who? Exactly) radio show (audio here).  The censorship discussion went as follows:

MARIO SOLIS MARICH: I want to ask you just one last thing, based on, you know, obviously, your eight years of experience in the White House, which very few people on the planet get to have.  With the fact that shows like this, like the one you're on, is (sic), my show, is so outgunned on the right wing – compared to the right wing that has, like, nine out of ten shows, do you think that it's time – some members of congress are calling for hearings on the Fairness Doctrine – do you believe it's time for some type of enforced media accountability?

FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON
: Well you either ought to have the Fairness Doctrine, or we ought to have more balance on the other side.  Because, essentially, there's always been a lot of big money to support the right wing talk shows, and let's face it, Rush Limbaugh is fairly entertaining, even when he's saying things that I think are ridiculous.  

MARICH
: Right [laughing].

CLINTON
:  So, I think that the American people know now that we're in a very serious time, when we all need to be questioned. The President, I'm sure, would be the first to admit that none of us are right all the time, and everything should be debated.  

MARICH
: Yeah.

CLINTON
: But basically, with the future of the country hanging in the balance, we shouldn't be playing petty politics or just, you know, going for entertainment.  So what I think we need to do is, either have more balance in the programs, or have some opportunity for people to offer countervailing opinions.  And when the fairness doctrine was done away with, I was not in favor of doing away with it.  And at the time, frankly, most people thought that there were more liberal than conservative voices.  But, I never minded having someone be heard who disagreed with me.  But if you only have one side, like this blatant drumbeat against the stimulus program, this doesn't reflect the economic reality that we're facing.  

MARICH:
Right. 

CLINTON: And it's an example of why we need more debate, not less.  And if you only hear one side on the radio, that's pretty tough. 

MARICH: It is very tough, sir.

The former President lets the cat out the bag, albeit inadvertantly.  He first says "...there's always been a lot of big money to support the right wing talk shows."  Yes, El Presidente, they're called advertisers, and they give big money to support the right wing talk shows because they get a return on their investment.  The same can not be said for liberal shows like the one on which you were appearing yesterday. 

Clinton follows that up with "and let's face it, Rush Limbaugh is fairly entertaining."  Exactly.  Which leads he and his fellow entertaining Conservative cohorts to have listeners, which in turn leads to the big money they receive for plying their on-air wares. 

Liberal radio, having repeatedly failed to move the ratings needle, remains bereft of the listeners that lead to the big money Clinton at once bemoans and envies.  And of course he overlooks the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been sunk into liberal Air America, which has already filed for bankruptcy once, is on the verge of doing so again and may as well file for non-profit status at this point. 

But since when have liberals understood the free market, let alone free speech?

Seton Motley
Seton Motley
Founder and president of Less Government.