Wallace, Gallagher Bust Mark Green on His Fairness Doctrine Double-Talk
Green, who with his brother Stephen have brought Air America out of bankruptcy, was in to debate the issue against conservative talk-show host Gallagher. But when Wallace put it to Green that liberals have plenty of outlets for their views "without having the government mandate that they appear on radio," Green's answer was astounding.
AIR AMERICA'S MARK GREEN: I don't want the government to mandate that.Really? Expanding on his answer, Green said he doesn't favor the Fairness Doctrine, but wants broadcasters to "have diverse views for diverse communities" and "have local hearings for license renewals."
When Gallagher observed that "it's preposterous to propose that the government mandate speech," Green retorted snidely.
GREEN: Mike, I don't blame you for pretending that you didn't listen to me. I don't want the government to mandate speech.When Green repeated his claim that he didn't support the Fairness Doctrine, Wallace interjected.
FOX NEWS SUNDAY HOST CHRIS WALLACE: Wait a second, Mr. Green, let me ask you about that. First of all, I believe you told our people that you did support the Fairness Doctrine. But if you weren't going to do the Fairness Doctrine, what's the point of all this? If some station has completely conservative talk and doesn't want to put on a liberal, what's going to happen? Are they going to lose their license?"
MARK GREEN: No . . . you have to go to the community for a license renewal proceeding . . . "The Fox News host and the talk-radio host began to tighten the screws on Green.
WALLACE: Whether it's the Fairness Doctrine or government licensing, what you're basically saying is the government would force stations to have opposing points of view.Rather than giving a straight answer, Green of all things invoked "white baseball owners in the 1940s [who] wouldn't hire black players even though it was in their interest."
Gallagher had had enough, responding with a derivise laugh.
TALK RADIO HOST MIKE GALLAGHER: Black baseball players? Come on. With all due respect, you're doing what Air America does on a regular basis: you're talking out of both sides of your mouth . . . You're denying that you want the government to mandate speech on the radio airwaves, and then you turn around and you say you want to have government renewing licenses or not renewing licenses . . . you want the government to step in and not renew a license because you don't have enough liberal views on wildly successful talk radio networks like the Salem Radio Network, the one I work for. You can't have it both ways, Mr. Green. You either want the government to step in or your don't.
So what happened here? My guess is this: Wallace wanted to set up a debate between a supporter and an opponent of the Fairness Doctrine. When Wallace's staff approached Green, the Air America host, eager for air time, claimed he did support the Fairness Doctrine. He was either not telling the truth then, or when on the show he claimed not to support the doctrine. My guess is he'd be happy to see the Fairness Doctrine adopted, but somehow figured that achieving the same goal via the local-licensing ruse sounded more palatable for today's purposes.
In any case shame on Green for his intellectual dishonesty and kudos to Wallace and Gallagher for exposing it.
Contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org