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Clear Channel gags an antiwar conservative
January 11, 2004 1:30 AM   Subscribe

How to Lose Your Job in Talk Radio Why did this happen? Why only a couple of months after my company picked up the option on my contract for another year in the fifth-largest city in the United States, did it suddenly decide to relegate me to radio Outer Darkness? The answer lies hidden in the oil-and-water incompatibility of these two seemingly disconnected phrases: “Criticizing Bush” and “Clear Channel.”
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly (61 comments total)

 
Interesting link.

Anyone local to this controversy?

To me, the guy sounds like a principled conservative opponent to the concept of preemptive war.
posted by dglynn at 1:58 AM on January 11, 2004


Fear Channel.
posted by quonsar at 2:07 AM on January 11, 2004


No, it's just another anecdote from the paleoconservative vs. neoconservative battle. You'll note that the American Conservative is run by none other than Patrick J. Buchanan. Not really symptomatic of anything, other than declining ratings (ratings are never addressed in the article), as conservatives (and all people, really) like to hear their opinions validated, and Clear Channel is in a business of making money, not providing a public forum.

Yes, I know. Clear Channel Apologist.
posted by calwatch at 2:11 AM on January 11, 2004


Clear Channel is in a business of making money

ah, yes, the standard excuse for all manner of atrocious behavior, dear to the hearts of all true american patriots.
posted by quonsar at 2:17 AM on January 11, 2004


Or maybe it was just that Mr. Goyette was out of step with this listening audience?

Last time I checked, Clear Channel, like all companies, is in business to make money... so when listeners turn the channel because they don't like what they hear, Clear Channel loses money.

While some here will argue the overall public's support for the war, there can be very little argument about the amount of support for the war by the slice of demographics that listens to conservative talk-radio.

On Preview: Yeah, what calwatch said about Buchanan & Co. as well.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 2:22 AM on January 11, 2004


So, none of you guys are local to this controversy?

Just checking. Because I can drive three hours and see poo flung by actual monkeys at the St. Louis Zoo, and there might be at least a chance that the maintenance guy had read the link.

New contract. 2003 radio personality of the year from some local rag.

Anyone PHX to fill us in on this, and maybe spare us from the usual? Local rag hippie infested? Contract just standard boilerplate? Radio guy a known whiner, or local accidental truth tool?

Calling Phoenix....
posted by dglynn at 2:35 AM on January 11, 2004


Clear Channel, like all companies, is in business to make money...

and we're two for two! next!
posted by quonsar at 2:35 AM on January 11, 2004


IBM, like all companies, is in business to make money.

Enron, like all companies, is in business to make money.

Halliburton, like all companies, is in business to make money.

The American government, like all companies, is in business to make money.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:45 AM on January 11, 2004


Sorry, that was a bit ploddingly doctrinaire.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:57 AM on January 11, 2004


I know that recently, when Thom Yorke (of Radiohead) featured as a guest editor of the Today programme on BBC Radio4 (the BBC's flagship political radio programme) he wanted to do an item on Clear Channel and its impact on radio culture in the US (and increasingly here in the UK).

Due to Clear Channel's notoriously aggressive and litigation-happy demeanor, the BBC decided to play it safe, and the item wasn't comissioned.
posted by Blue Stone at 4:35 AM on January 11, 2004


i see no difference between this incident and what happened to savage on msnbc. while i don't agree with the decision on this one, i have to agree with steveat and calwatch... considering the target audience, the guy wasn't telling them what they wanted to hear and clear channel pulled the plug on him to save money. wrong? yes. then again, this is business and the battle between ethics vs. profit continues. unlike such well-known stories like the ones linked above (haliburton, enron, etc.), i don't think this particular incident crosses the line of corruption.

and we're three for three! next!

posted by poopy at 4:36 AM on January 11, 2004


Clear Channel is in a business of making money

Cotton farmers in the South pre-American Civil War were in the business of making money...

Textile factories in the early 1900s were in the business of making money, not safe working conditions.

Factories during WWII were in the business of making money, not aiding in the women's rights movements.

Diners marked "whites only" were in the business of making money, not making political statements.

It's an American Tradition to be in the business of making money, opinions or people be damned.
posted by benjh at 4:51 AM on January 11, 2004


Cotton farmers in the South pre-American Civil War were in the business of making money...
I don't really see Clear Channel violating anyone's fundamental human rights here.

Of course this is only his side of the story. For all we know he was a complete ass in the office who no one could work with.
posted by PenDevil at 5:05 AM on January 11, 2004


...so when listeners turn the channel because they don't like what they hear, Clear Channel loses money.

WTF? How does that logically follow? Clear Channel has a 50/50 chance of owning that 'other' channel the poor radio listener changed to.

Interesting link, though. thanks!

and Poopy, there's a battle going on between ethics and profit? you might want to check the pulse of ethics, it's turning color...
posted by Busithoth at 5:56 AM on January 11, 2004


Radio guy a known whiner, or local accidental truth tool?

And Pilate asked, "What is truth?"

Not back at ya or at anyone in particular, really; it's just that opinion and carefully selected facts are often upheld as "truth" when "truth" is usually arbitrary and messy. As one of my math professors wisely quipped, the pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.
posted by alumshubby at 6:55 AM on January 11, 2004


"Posted on Mon, Jul. 07, 2003
MSNBC fires Savage on anti-gay remarks
DAVID BAUDER
Associated Press


NEW YORK - MSNBC on Monday fired Michael Savage for anti-gay comments.
The popular radio talk show host who did a weekend TV show for the cable channel referred to an unidentified caller to his show Saturday as a "sodomite" and said he should "get AIDS and die."

Poopy - is this what you were referring to? ( "i see no difference between this incident and what happened to savage on msnbc." )

I see a considerable difference, specifically - the difference between making a rational argument, that the Bush Adm. lied in an absurd number of different ways in advancing it's case for an invasion of Iraq and, in the case of M. Savage, a rather nasty personal attack against a specific talk show listener.
posted by troutfishing at 7:56 AM on January 11, 2004


sorry troutfishing, i should've been more clear. i'm not in any way comparing the 'sane' comments of goyette and the openly cruel ones of savage. i'm just saying that msnbc fired savage for the same reasons that goyette got the shaft: money. at least, that's how i see it.
posted by poopy at 8:27 AM on January 11, 2004


poopy - Aha. I guess I'm too ready to pounce. You know, if you are ever mountain biking in the mountains of Santa Clara, wear a hat with fake eyes on it which face backwards. It will deter the cougars, which always pounce on their victim's back. When they see the fake eyes on your hat, they will be tricked into thinking that you can see them and so will leave you alone.


Meanwhile, I wonder about that. The involvement of Clear Channel in encouraging pro-war rallies makes me suspect your point, to an extent, but we need more information on this : what was is missing from the article is an actual discussion about ratings. Did Goyette's listener base seem to be falling during the period in question, when he was making his anti-invasion case? That is the key information we need to judge your assertion.

I disagree with your claim on one level and agree with it on another. I don't believe that Goyette's demotion was all about money, directly. But I do think it was all about politics which, ultimately, has a lot to do with money.

I don't accept the claim that the Clear Channel - a corporation which encouraged pro-war rallies in the build-up to the invasion of Iraq - does not have a political agenda which is distinct from bottom line financial imperatives. Clear Channel's owner was a key figure who helped George W. Bush establish his personal fortune. I find this significant, and it seems to be of a piece with Clear Channel's apparent political loyalties.
posted by troutfishing at 9:04 AM on January 11, 2004


So who has the cojones to bust up the big media conglomerates? For decades it's been painfully obvious that the oligopolies *define* anti-competitive behavior.

Early on, Howard Dean mumbled something about that, but there was no follow-up. The republicans are a lost cause for the time being, Powell the Younger being a CATO-institute true believer ("There is no such thing as a monopoly in a free market").

And while this guy may be a traditional Pat Buchanan-type isolationist (those guys go *way* back), he is just a tiny event in a huge problem.

Don't forget what *else* the oligopoly denies *you*: niche book publishing, non-mainstream magazines, non-AP news in newspapers, any alternative radio, free-market radio and TV advertisements, local disc jockeys, even free streaming of copyrighted content on the Internet. No non-party mainstream candidates, and even fair and open political primaries and general elections.

You all are being hurt here, and nobody is standing up to them.
posted by kablam at 9:10 AM on January 11, 2004


Anyone local to this controversy?

Oh! Me! Except I haven't heard anything about this. I abhor talk (and corporate) radio, and listen almost exclusively to NPR to and from work. I don't watch TV news. I don't read the paper anymore. I get most of my news from NPR and online.

So I have nothing to add. But I assume that this isn't a big deal out here... unfortunately.
posted by crawl at 9:12 AM on January 11, 2004


well, i live in phoenix, and i can tell you that i had not heard anything about this!

now i have.
posted by jimmy at 9:22 AM on January 11, 2004


Clear Channel, like all companies, is in business to make money...

It would be nice if Clear Channel were in the business of making radio.
posted by hob at 9:50 AM on January 11, 2004


So, a company that owns a radio station, censors an employee that holds a view that does not agree with station management. What's the problem here?

They pay his salary. Regardless of what the view in question is about, Clear Channel owns the station and can therefore regulate the content of said station.

Just because its a radio station does not mean that any coverage of issues has to be "fair", "balanced", or frankly, even "accurate". They're in business to make money, and therefore will show whatever viewpoints on issues are likely to get them (and therefore, their advertisers) the most listeners.

(disclaimer: I worked for a Clear Channel country radio station for four years in the early 90s...)
posted by mrbill at 9:59 AM on January 11, 2004


They're in business to make money

what does that make, 4? I've lost count.
posted by mcsweetie at 10:16 AM on January 11, 2004


Just because its a radio station does not mean that any coverage of issues has to be "fair", "balanced", or frankly, even "accurate".

It used to be that way. It was called "The Fairness Doctrine." This guy's problem is that Clear Channel's superiority over both the Fairness Doctrine and Restrictions waived by Clinton-era FCC Telecommunications Acts prevents him from being able to just go to the competition... odds are there isn't one.

Clear Channel's growing establishment as the monopoly on radio media obligates them to serve the whole of the public. If they don't and at the same time refuse to allow countering competition then voices are being stifled by force, not by free market.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:18 AM on January 11, 2004


I'm sure if the guy is good enough to be called Mr. Conservative of the Year and Radio Guy of 2003, a competing station will pick him up for drive time (unless all the stations in PHX are owned by CC, which may be possible).

I'm surprised CC didn't spin it as "the controversial guy" as I've heard many times that listeners that disagree with a host listen much longer than those that agree, on average. He doesn't sound like a leftist (he thinks Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater are the greatest americans ever) except for his stance on the war, so I'd expect many of the stations listeners would agree with most of positions and get a rise out of hating him for his war stance. Also, I thought radio stations loved controversy like getting Free Republic members frothing. That just means more listeners.
posted by mathowie at 10:41 AM on January 11, 2004


troutfishing, the ideologies of clear channel are quite clear, but ultimately i still stand behind my argument that this is essentially about money and that's part of the reason why i used msnbc as an example: they hired savage purely for his controversial viewpoints to draw certain viewers in but when he crossed that hazy line, they decided it wasn't worth the risk of alienating their viewers. while msnbc's audience is more varied, clear channel is different in that it doesn't allow any controversial ideology because it is targeting a particular type of audience, namely the conservative crowd (they already KNOW who their audience is), and they're quite aware of the reactions of their viewers if one of their employees preaches otherwise. you could most definitely make the argument that this is about political ideology, but in the end i think it all comes down to the dollar.

side note: i work for a conservative web development company and they're mostly open-minded about their employees expressing our political views, however contrary. otoh, if i walked into work and began praising our competitor's efficiency and quality of work, i would expect... well, you know :)
posted by poopy at 10:55 AM on January 11, 2004


i work for a conservative web development company

conservative web development? how does that work? like do you only use web compliance standards from the 50s?
posted by mcsweetie at 11:11 AM on January 11, 2004


It used to be that way. It was called "The Fairness Doctrine."

Ah, yes, the good old Fairness Doctrine.

Funny, when that was in effect you NEVER heard conservative viewpoints on the air (unless is was a criticism of Reagan or something similar).

I can see why some would harken back to those wonderful days.
posted by hadashi at 11:21 AM on January 11, 2004


poopy - sometimes, as a thought exercise, I try to reduce things to their most basic logical terms.

Your argument boils down to this : Clear Channel demoted Goyette because Clear Channel knew that his opinions would drive away listeners - and this would reduce ad revenue." But that assertion is just that. Neither of us knows, at the moment, the truth of that claim.
posted by troutfishing at 11:23 AM on January 11, 2004


hadashi - and that, too, is an unproven assertion. It might be true, but I'd be more inclined to believe you if you cited credible evidence.
posted by troutfishing at 11:25 AM on January 11, 2004


like do you only use web compliance standards from the 50s?

no silly, we're only allowed to use the bathroom once a day (at 1:00 pm precisely) and if we have to do the number 2, then 3 squares maximum. our motto is: we're smelly but efficient! or: we're efficiently smelly!

Neither of us knows, at the moment, the truth of that claim.

agreed.
posted by poopy at 11:26 AM on January 11, 2004


So, a company that owns a radio station, censors an employee that holds a view that does not agree with station management. What's the problem here?

They pay his salary. Regardless of what the view in question is about, Clear Channel owns the station and can therefore regulate the content of said station.


Every frequency that Clear Channel operates on is owned by you and me. They are licensed to broadcast by the FCC because they ostensibly provide some public benefit.

Does that mean that they have to be stringently objective? No, but it does indicate that their job is not only to make money. They do have, at least on paper, a responsibility to justify their existence. Otherwise someone else gets their bandwidth.

Also, you know as well as I do that whether or not the person on the radio is agreeing with them has little to do with whether or not people listen to him. As the shock jock phenomenon proves, people like to be engaged, first of all, and there are many ways to do that, including saying things that they hate. People that anger their listeners get the highest ratings.

And I imagine you also know that ratings probably had nothing to do with Goyette's punishment. It was a political decision, the result of a corporate policy against criticizing the war. This is almost certainly legal, but then so are a lot of things that deserve to be depised.

At least everyone should admit that this was not an issue of "making money". There's no evidence in the article to support it, so I don't see how people are jumping to that conclusion unless they've prepared a defense beforehand.
posted by Hildago at 11:34 AM on January 11, 2004


It was a political decision, the result of a corporate policy against criticizing the war... At least everyone should admit that this was not an issue of "making money".

There are a lot of major corporations in the US today for whom the re-election of George W. Bush is absolutely vital to their future profitability. And one of them is Clear Channel.
posted by wendell at 11:48 AM on January 11, 2004


wendell, please explain how Bush being re-elected is absolutely vital to Clear Channel's profitability.
posted by substrate at 12:11 PM on January 11, 2004


Also, businesses can fire whoever they want and the reasons can be pretty tenuous. It might be about making money, if so fine. It might be just because they didn't feel that his speech fit into the myopic worldview of Clear Channel. That's fine too.
posted by substrate at 12:20 PM on January 11, 2004


substrate: The President appoints members of the FCC panel, which, for example, this year voted for easing restrictions that would allow Clear Channel to own multiple stations within single markets. I have a slight feeling this is more favored by Clear Channel than the current Democratic frontrunner who recently made a speech about his interest in breaking up monopolistic corporations.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:27 PM on January 11, 2004


wendell, please explain how Bush being re-elected is absolutely vital to Clear Channel's profitability.

I'm not wendell, but I'll take a shot. First, Clear Channel donates heavilly to Bush's campaign, and has since his first gubernatorial run in Texas. Second, they are allowed to flaunt violation of existing media market caps (and I don't mean just the pre-deregulationn caps) only because Michael Powell heads the FCC. Any other president would appoint someone else, at which point there is some chance that laws would actually be enforced. It's like the timber companies that depend on Bush stocking the EPA and Interior with former industry lobbyists. There is a difference between a corporation and a corporatist, and the corporatists need a corporatist environment, or the free market and the rule of law will do away with them.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 12:29 PM on January 11, 2004


I can see why some would harken back to those wonderful days.

Rush Limbaugh in the 1970s: "Take that bone out of your nose and call me back" to an African-American caller.

Charles E. Coughlin: "Modern talk radio as a major force in America started in 1926, when Catholic priest Father Charles E. Coughlin took to the airwaves. By the mid-1930s, as many as a full third of the entire nation - an estimated 45 million people - listened to his weekly broadcasts. His downfall, and the end of the 15-year era of talk radio he'd both created and dominated, came in the early 1940s when the nation was at war and Hitler was shipping millions of Jews to the death camps. For reasons still unknown (Alzheimer's is suspected), Coughlin launched into hard-right anti-Semitic tirades in his broadcasts, blaming an international Jewish conspiracy for communism, the Great Depression, World War II, and most of the world's other ills. His sudden shift to the radical right disgusted his listeners, and led his superiors in the Catholic Church to demand he retire from radio and return to his parish duties where he died in relative obscurity. Many say the Fairness Doctrine came about in part because of Coughlin."

Joe Pyne, from Gini Graham Scott's Can We Talk?: The Power and Influence of TV Shows: "The 1960s was also a time when the insult talk show, so popular today, originated -- another reflection of the "anything goes" attitude of the 1960s. One of the masters of this approach was Joe Pyne, whose show on KLAC in Los Angeles was eventually syndicated to about 165 stations around the country. His popular format involved inviting an unusual guest to appear; then he would zero in on the attack and his listeners loved his aggressive, offensive approach. When he subsequently moved his show to TV in 1966-1969, he invited members of the audience to add their own insults -- a precursor to the Howard Sterns, Morton Downeys, and other shock jocks of today." (44)

All this with the Fairness Doctrine in place. You were saying?
posted by ed at 12:51 PM on January 11, 2004


I was listening to NPR and they had someone from Adbusters talking about how their ads were rejected by the networks because they were obviously anti-commercial and how there's an effort to force networks to allow 2 minutes per hour for "alternative" or more precisely more free and public viewpoints.

Also, I don't know if it's been linked here, but Loveline got canned recently because Adam was being a jerk.
Adam Carolla: Here's the problem with weather in Hawai'i. There's a bunch of big words.

Dr. Drew: Yeah.

Adam Carolla: And they can't handle big words over there, because they're the world's dumbest people.

Dr. Drew: Well, they can't (sic) handle big words, but they must have three letters.

Adam Carolla: Yeah, they handle big words, but it's got to be the name of a fat chick or some drink. They don't do science. Close your eyes and picture all the great Hawaiian scientists over the years. (Laughs) They're retarded people. They stay on the island. They're in-bred, obviously. They're the dumbest people we have.

Dr. Drew: I have met some smart South Pacific people. Not who lived there.

Adam Carolla: People are smart enough to move. Everyone close your eyes and think of all the amazing contributions the Hawaiian scientific community has made over the years. (Long pause) Uh ... They're stupid people.

Dr. Drew: All right. Let's hear from them. Let's hear what they have to say. It'd be interesting to hear what they have to say.

Adam Carolla: What, the Hawaiians? First off, they don't know how to dial the phone. They can't call. They don't know what they're doing. They have big calves. That's all. They're stupid people. We really should start bringing some of them in 'cause they're strong. They're a strong, sturdy breed.
posted by john at 1:23 PM on January 11, 2004



Last time I checked, Clear Channel, like all companies, is in business to make money


I don't know about Clear Channel, but it's absolutely false that all companies are in business to make money. Many companies are in business to provide products or services. Some companies are in business to provide (gasp!) a nice working environment for their employees. Very few businesses (to my knowledge) are founded just for the sake of making money. Many businesses end up being taken over by people who just want to make money, but that's not why they existed to begin with.
posted by electro at 1:35 PM on January 11, 2004


Also, businesses can fire whoever they want and the reasons can be pretty tenuous

As it says in the article, he wasn't fired, because he had just renogiated a contract that made firing him "difficult".

What happened, as it says in the article, was he was moved to a damning time slot, essentially banished. Also, as it says in the article, he was publically ridiculed and ostracized by members of his own radio station, not as someone who was bad for business, but as a "leftist".
posted by Hildago at 2:08 PM on January 11, 2004


Also, as it says in the article, he was publically ridiculed and ostracized by members of his own radio station, not as someone who was bad for business, but as a "leftist".

Time slot move aside, are you suggesting that the other staff should not have the free speech to make whatever comments they liked? Are you suggesting that this ridicule was instructed/guided/demanded by Clear Channel execs?
posted by billsaysthis at 2:34 PM on January 11, 2004


Submitting a former employee to ridicule is lawsuit-friendly, regardless of First Amendment issues involved. And it's damned tacky and unethical besides.
posted by raysmj at 2:38 PM on January 11, 2004


MetaFilter: We're in business to make money.
posted by Foosnark at 2:38 PM on January 11, 2004


Metafilter: Your in the business of being fucked by us now.
posted by Keyser Soze at 2:53 PM on January 11, 2004


>It used to be that way. It was called "The Fairness Doctrine."

Are any of the presidential candidates bringing this up, or are they afraid of "losing access" from the media monopolies? Talk about power.
posted by skallas at 7:51 PM on January 11, 2004


I, for one, welcome our fascist media monopoly overlords.
posted by FormlessOne at 8:07 PM on January 11, 2004


I love how he belts out his credentials in this article. He's actually surprised that conservatives would go after one of their own and that conservatives in general take a backseat to necons and Bush-cheerleaders.

The best part is his ilk still can say "liberal media" with a straight face.

The greatest irony here is as a Reagan supporter he probably supported the removal of the fairness doctrine which encourages public debate and would have saved his job.
posted by skallas at 9:11 PM on January 11, 2004


First off, let me get this straight:

A radio talk show host getting fired due a claimed disagreement in programing (he claims CC didn't like his Anti-War views) is equivalent to:

  • The Holocaust
  • Slavery in the American South
  • Child Labor
  • Exploitation of Women Labor
  • Segregation


  • I have read some looney things on this website, but this goes damn near the top of the list.

    Second: It used to be that way. It was called "The Fairness Doctrine."

    Basically what hadashi said. For those of you who do not believe, take a look at the growth of talk radio after 1987 when the 'doctrine' went the way of the dodo.

    Third: [A] lot of major corporations in the US today for whom the re-election of George W. Bush is absolutely vital to their future profitability. And one of them is Clear Channel.

    If you really think about it, Clear Channel has a vested interest in Bush losing in 2004. Nothing whips up the conservative base more than a Democrat in the White House, and that means larger talk radio audiences. (Any remember the field day talk radio had with Clinton? Imagine the fodder Limbaugh & Co. would have with President Dean... They too are in the business to make money.)

    Fourth: Very few businesses (to my knowledge) are founded just for the sake of making money.

    Yes, these would be called "Non-Profits", all others are For-Profit.

    Fifth, to sum up:

    We don't even know that Clear Channel fired this man for the reason he claims. But even if, Clear Channel has done nothing wrong. Just as you have the right to tune in another radio station if you do not like what Mr. Goyette has to say, Clear Channel has the right to decide they don't want to put him on the air. If Mr. Goyette is such a reputable conservative, he should have no problem finding another job with a rival radio station, as Matt points out. (Clear Channel does not own them all.)

    By the way, I find it amusing how Goyette would most likely, more than disagree with the majority of this membership on 99.9% of all issues, but since he was against the war he is a "principled conservative". If he had lost his job on any other issue, most of you would be saying "serves him right".
    posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:39 PM on January 11, 2004


    Basically what hadashi said. For those of you who do not believe, take a look at the growth of talk radio after 1987 when the 'doctrine' went the way of the dodo.

    and since then, talk radio has been almost dominated by one side of "The Debate." which is what the fairness doctrine was supposed to prevent. oops! and don't even get me started on that mess clear channel.

    If he had lost his job on any other issue, most of you would be saying "serves him right".

    you need that to be true.
    posted by mcsweetie at 9:53 PM on January 11, 2004


    Ok, again, he has not been fired yet. Article.
    posted by Hildago at 10:55 PM on January 11, 2004


    What is this "radio" thing you speak of. Is it the interference I have to avoid when tuning my iTrip FM transmitter for my iPod?
    posted by krisjohn at 11:10 PM on January 11, 2004


    S@L: "serves him right".

    Hell, Steve, I'll say it: it serves him right. Anyone spending years on the radio being a conservative shill deserves to taste their own conservative pro-big-business apologist bile. A go-go Reaganite anti-consumer anti-worker rights propaganda mouth-piece like Goyette deserves this and a lot more. Surprise, surprise he doesn't like the taste of his own medicine.

    There are larger issues here of course, like monopolization, FCC bending over for big-business, freedom and range of speech in the media, public v. private media, fairness doctrine etc. We can and have discussed these at length, but when a con like Goyette gets what he advocates then we can just chalk this up to one of life's many lessons.

    This is very much like what is going on with another radio personality. Many anti-drug-war types would love to see Rush Limbaugh spend some time in jail. Why? Partly revenge for him feeding the unwashed masses pro-drug-war bullshit for years and secondly and most importantly - change happens after some catastrophic event. The anti-drug-war types know once we start putting wealthy and people of influence in jail under the same laws we put nobodies in jail under then we will see some change. Perhaps more firings like Goyette will wake some people up to how media really works.

    Goyette is a small egg in the 'media reform' omelete that's been cooking up for quite some time.
    posted by skallas at 11:58 PM on January 11, 2004


    Also: Poll: Alternative news outlets gaining influence.
    posted by skallas at 12:19 AM on January 12, 2004


    and since then, talk radio has been almost dominated by one side of "The Debate."

    And what, this is the big evil corporations fault for not letting liberals on talk radio? Bull. There have been many attempts to put Liberals on talk radio (hell, there are some in some markets) but they failed rating wise. If a liberal talk radio show could gain an audience, it would be on the air. (All goes back to that idea that "companies are in business to make money")

    Frankly it beats me why liberal talk shows don't succeed. But they don't, or haven't yet to this point.

    A couple of months ago there was all this talk of some capital venture types starting up a national liberal talk radio network to compete with Rush & Co. with people like Franken. What happened to that? I welcome it... Let them compete in the market place. This is the point.

    Instead of attempting to restrict people with a so-called Fairness Doctrine, how about just competing with them?

    (And don't give me any bullshit that the Left can not compete, there is just as much money and media power on the Left, if not more so, than the Right)
    posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:17 AM on January 12, 2004


    Frankly it beats me why liberal talk shows don't succeed. But they don't, or haven't yet to this point.

    They do, though, on the local level, and they do to a limited extent when the liberals aren't directly talking politics in the way that Limbaugh, Hannity or O'Reilly do. In every radio market I've been familiar with in the last fifteen years (several notable ones, I study certain radio trends as a hobby) there have been long-running, successful liberal hosts who talk about government and policy and current events, but in a callercentric, feedback oriented format instead of exposition and infotainment with carefully screened listener calls included only as a means of prompting and introducing the next talking point on the host's daily agenda.

    On the national scale, though, I don't know how liberals can get a break. It's no longer really possible to get a syndication deal coming out of local radio, even if you're on a megapower station in a top 20 metroplex. Everyone who is hitting national airwaves these days is an already known entity -- O'Reilly and Hannity being the latest entrants. I'd imagine, though, that someone would take a flyer on Alan Colmes or someone similar. Is anyone of that caliber even trying?
    posted by Dreama at 2:04 AM on January 12, 2004


    there is just as much money and media power on the Left, if not more so, than the Right

    On what planet?
    posted by nofundy at 4:47 AM on January 12, 2004


    Instead of attempting to restrict people with a so-called Fairness Doctrine, how about just competing with them?

    Because you can't just compete with them on radio, Steve, the airwaves are regulated through limitation. From "The Hush Rush Hoax" by Jeff Cohen:
    Various citizen groups have used the Fairness Doctrine as a tool to expand speech and debate -- not restrict it. For example, it prevents stations from allowing only one side to be heard on ballot measures. (A study found that the abolition of the doctrine had disastrous effects for democratic debate in 1992 ballot measures.) Over the years, the doctrine has been supported by hundreds of grassroots groups across the political spectrum, including the ACLU, National Rifle Association and the right-wing Accuracy In Media.

    "The Fairness Doctrine isn't going to take Rush Limbaugh off the air," remarked Larry King (The Rush Limbaugh Story, Paul Colford). "Be fair: What's wrong with that? If I were Rush, I would want a liberal host following my show."

    Limbaugh argued on his TV show (9/17/93) that there should be no government fairness standards on broadcasters, since there are none on the print press: "You can buy a newspaper, and start it all you want, and they wouldn't dare try to do this [establish a Fairness Doctrine]."

    He misses the key difference: If you want to compete with Limbaugh's partisan publication in the marketplace of ideas, you can simply start your own publication right next to his. But if you set up your own competing broadcast program right next to a Limbaugh station on the radio dial, without acquiring a government license, you will be prosecuted. Broadcast frequencies are limited; printing presses are not. That's the legal -- and practical -- underpinning of the Fairness Doctrine.
    posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:28 AM on January 12, 2004


    And what, this is the big evil corporations fault for not letting liberals on talk radio? Bull.

    I can't seem to find where I said that.
    posted by mcsweetie at 9:07 AM on January 12, 2004


    I'd imagine, though, that someone would take a flyer on Alan Colmes or someone similar. Is anyone of that caliber even trying?

    What caliber is that, the spineless jellyfish caliber? Actually, Michael Moore should get a radio talk show. I bet he'd get an audience. Harry Shearer does one called Le Show, which is sometimes fantastic, but Shearer reading the news is not always what it could be. I think if the "other side" is going to do this right, it should be unapologetic but funny, and really funny, not stilted. As George Carlin has demonstrated, it can even be angry. The most disarming thing is to render your enemies silly rather than to take them (or yourself) deadly serious all the time. Mel Brooks once said, in response to questions about why he'd want to make fun of Hitler, that was the best way to undo the horror Hitler caused, by laughing at him.
    posted by krinklyfig at 10:19 AM on January 12, 2004


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