The River

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

A funny thing happened on the way to the revolution

It never happened. No one remembered to start it.

I'm just gonna keep saying this, because we just don't seem to get it yet: This is a culture war. The media is AGAINST us. We have to stand up.

Bruce Miller, brother of NYU professor and media critic Mark Crispin Miller, has compiled in a book a collection right-winger quotes thoughtlessly disseminated through the media. Really, I think they know not what they do, the enablers of this shit. But it has got to stop.

Buzzflash interviewed Bruce Miller. Here's an excerpt:

BUZZFLASH: These people have such extreme thoughts and view the Clintons as diabolical. You could disagree with the Clintons, but this notion that the people who aren't white Republican right-wingers are doing something evil to America and to its culture, religion and society is something that needs to be taken seriously. They dismantle civilized discourse and behavior in the name of "upholding" civilization.

I mean, is this what civilization is supposed to look like: angry, bitter, hateful white people running around claiming that anyone who disagrees with them is working for Lucifer?

Bruce J. Miller: It's truly shocking, and there are a lot of things like that in the book. My own feeling is that it's a way of intimidating us all. That's why I take it seriously. Let me jump back to the Fairness Doctrine. You had the idea of fairness in broadcasting, which was set out in the Communications Act starting in the ‘30s. And the Fairness Doctrine, as such, didn't exist until later, but the elements were there. Even in 1939, there was a memo that the FCC published that enumerated certain things that were considered not in the public interest on radio. In other words, these things would be considered when they're trying to decide whether or not to renew somebody's license. I'm not saying they often pulled licenses, but they occasionally did. There were three things on this memo: One, defamation; two, racial or religious intolerance. And another thing that was in the list further down was "presentation of only one side of a controversial issue." We were governed by that for close to 50 years, until the Reagan Administration dumped this and allowed talk radio to mushroom.

I would argue that this kind of rhetoric has grown with talk radio. Talk radio kind of fed the others, and it emboldened them with the so-called Gingrich Republican Revolution of '94 on to today, to turn up the volume on their rhetoric and the nastiness.

What I started to say about it is it's a way of intimidating us -- the way they trash the public interest protection in broadcasting. They got rid of that, and now they're saying: "We will control the microphone, and we're going to make fun of you if you differ from us." We're going to say really nasty things, drag you from the political process. But you're certainly not going to try to grab the microphone back. And I think that all too often we've kind of given into that.

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