Congressman Stardust

Who said?

I am running for President of the United States to enable the Goddess of Peace to encircle within her arms all the children of this country and all the children of the world.


The energy of the stars becomes us. We become the energy of the stars. Stardust and spirit unite and we begin: one with the universe, whole and holy. From one source, endless creative energy, bursting forth, kinetic, elemental; we, the earth, air, water and fire-source of nearly fifteen billion years of cosmic spiraling.

That would be Congressman Dennis Kucinich. Yes, he has spent time in California. He is is about to become chair of a new House committee – the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. A mundane name – he probably would have named it the Cosmic Goddess of Newspeak Collective Consciousness, or if he was being whimsical, Sister Mary Elephant’s Ruler.

At the Free Press National Conference on Media Reform in Memphis, Tennessee, Kucinich announced that he has been named chair of the newly-formed Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, drawing cheers from the crowd. The subcommittee will have jurisdiction over all domestic agencies of the federal government, including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

… Kucinich also pledged to hold hearings on restoring the Fairness Doctrine.

The “Fairness” Doctrine was abandoned by the FCC in 1987. Kucinich wants to revive it; involving the Federal government in deciding what speech you should hear. This is as bad an idea as we’ve heard since Campaign Finance Reform.

Market forces, of course, are not sufficient for determining what you listen to; if Rush Limbaugh has better ratings than Al Franken, there must be something wrong with your hearing. If Air America flops, the solution is to give equal time to Franken on a show somebody listens to, for however long that audience may endure. Kucinich doesn’t understand that the left-statist media market is already overserviced by PBS, NPR, CNN, MSNBC and the broadcast media in general.

The Fairness Doctrine purports to regulate the market based on the idea that the First Amendment says, “Congress shall pass no law … abridging the freedom of the FCC to decide what you must hear.”

You must be given the “right” to listen to what the FCC determines is fair. That you are incapable of deciding that for yourself is evidenced by the fact that Al Franken has fewer listeners than… well, anybody.

When the Supreme Court upheld the Fairness Doctrine in Red Lion Broadcasting Co.v. FCC, they affirmed the FCC’s ability to determine what you could hear had primacy over what you could say:

There is nothing in the First Amendment which prevents the Government from requiring a licensee to share his frequency with others…. It is the right of the viewers and listeners, not the right of the broadcasters, which is paramount.

SCOTUS decided that the First Amendment favors the listener over the speaker. Most of us read the First Amendment the other way around. I have the right to speak my opinions, but nobody should be forced to listen to them, and nobody should be forced to broadcast them. The Court decided that the FCC was a better judge of what I prefer to listen to than I am. Dennis Kucinich likes that idea, and he’d like to extend it to newspapers, though his target is passing strange:

“We know The New York Times played an unfortunate role” in the lead-up to the war in Iraq, Kucinich said. “The media reform movement is opening up holding the media to a higher standard of accountability.”

He’s not talking about Jayson Blair.

You can find more commentary on the Fairness Doctrine here, here and here.

It was a bad idea then. It’s a worse idea now.