January 26, 2009

First salvo in Fairness Doctrine fight

January 23rd - mark it down. President Obama referenced Rush Limbaugh in a debate with Congressional Republicans about the $1 trillion economic stinkulus package. While it's not directly related to the Fairness Doctrine and more concerned about the debate at hand, specifically the Republican approach to the stinkulus package. But there is subtext with the specific reference that cannot be ignored.

The president responded with a clear signal that he is prepared to ram the bill through without the bipartisan consensus he promised to construct, telling Republican leaders from the House of Representatives: "I won. I'm the president."

He then told them to break free of the confrontational mindset epitomised by Mr Limbaugh, the highest paid talk show host in America. "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," Mr Obama said.

His comments followed a blunt attack on him by Mr Limbaugh, who declared on air that he hoped Mr Obama would fail as president because otherwise it will usher in

The first part of the subtext is that there is either Obama's way or the highway. Clearly the bi-partisan facade is already starting to drop. If that continues, there will be some public waning in his approval numbers, which for conservatives is a positive though not as much as being in the minority is a powerful negative.

More importantly though, is that while it has in the past appeared as if President Obama might be resistant to a Democratic Congressional push to re-instate the unfair Fairness Doctrine, it might represent a turning point in either his thinking or his centrist facade. In the battle over the Fairness Doctrine , Rush Limbaugh is front and center with respect to the potential impact.

Tying the two points together it's easy to see the temptation for President Obama to change his stance - don't listen to Rush, I won so we do it my way, and silencing Rush because he's an obstacle to bi-partisanship. Hmmm, maybe the Fairness Doctrine makes some sense to him now.

Rush thankfully, doesn't take things lying down.

Implicit in the the Fairness Doctrine argument is that it promotes bi-partisanship, something that has been sorely lacking in America and is strictly the fault of conservatives. And now, given the sudden need for long overdue bi-partisanship (i.e. getting conservatives to shut up and knuckle under to Democrats because they have all the power and want to remove every speed bump possible), the Fairness Doctrine can only help America, right?

It's enough to make your ears bleed listening to the arrogance, and hypocrisy so blatantly on display, and yet so under-reported because the supposed fairness in media is so firmly rooted in backing the Democrat agenda.

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