When television first came on the scene in the late 1940s, the government imposed a Fairness Doctrine because lawmakers realized that a very powerful tool, TV, could be controlled by a very few people. So Congress wanted to blunt that power by mandating opposing points of view be presented.
Eventually, the Doctrine waned. It was reintroduced in 1987, but President Reagan vetoed it, and again, the Fairness Doctrine went dormant.
Now with the Democrats controlling Congress, the issue is back. Stripping away all the bull, some liberal politicians hate conservative talk radio and want to lessen its impact. And even though President-elect Obama says he is not interested in imposing a Fairness Doctrine, Senators Bingaman, Feinstein, Kerry and Durbin are trying hard to get it back, as is Speaker Pelosi. So we sent producer Griff Jenkins to Capitol Hill to sample opinion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFF JENKINS, FOX NEWS PRODUCER: Madam Speaker, do you still support reinstating the Fairness Doctrine?
HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF.: I always have.
JENKINS: The implication was that it would impose or infringe on the free speech rights of broadcasters. Do you not see that the Fairness Doctrine would do that?
SEN. JEFF BINGAMAN, D-N.M.: No, I don't. I think the airwaves are owned by the public, and the public has a right to insist that all points of view be expressed.
JENKINS: Good morning. Griff Jenkins.
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, D-N.Y.: What do you want to ask me about?
JENKINS: A quick question about your position on the Fairness Doctrine. A clarification. Sir?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Now, I talked with Senator Schumer after that. He says he doesn't care about the issue, nor should he.
This is a complete ruse. A good case can be made there are more liberal voices in the media than conservative voices. The newspaper industry is certainly left. So is the Internet. NBC News almost completely liberal. So is PBS. So is NPR.
But Speaker Pelosi and others want total control. So they push this Fairness Doctrine nonsense hoping to inhibit right-wing radio.
"Talking Points" points to the bankrupt Air America Network. Al Franken and his merry band of haters had their shot. Nobody listened because they were awful. If Mrs. Pelosi wants to bankroll a liberal talk radio network, she should do that. I'm sure her presentation would be fair and balanced.
Now, the good news is the Fairness Doctrine will never happen. The powerful media companies in the USA and even most liberal media people realize the whole thing's a charade. If Congress really wants to help the folks, it will pass the "Honesty Doctrine."
And that's "The Memo."
Pinheads & Patriots
Even though the most intense battles to retain America's Christmas traditions have been won, there are still a few skirmishes to be fought against folks who want the word Christmas banned. Watching the landscape this season is the Focus on the Family group.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And now a special message for retailers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you're going to be making money off our holiday, we'd seriously love it if you'd just celebrate it with us. And if you can't do that, at least show a little respect. Call it what it is.
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Christmas!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
And a merry one. For providing oversight, the Focus folks are patriots.
On the pinhead front, you're going to have to make the call on this one. Writing on her Web site, Pamela Anderson says: "I think we should legalize marijuana. This would make our borders less corrupt, and then I think eventually this will be a more secure option and save children in the long run."
Now, Ms. Anderson does not explain the saving the children part, and we are perplexed.
Then she goes on to write: "Government must castrate every child molester or potential molester — error (sic) on the safe side."
Wow. Pinhead? You make the call.
— You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Pinheads & Patriots" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill O'Reilly currently serves as the host of FOX News Channel's (FNC) The O'Reilly Factor (weekdays 8PM/ET), the most watched cable news show for the past 13 years. He joined the network in 1996 and is based in New York. Click here for more information on Bill O'Reilly.