State Run Television

There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image; make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to STATE RUN TELEVISION!

It's a dangerous game we play today. The media has become more and more bold about its agenda with each passing moment. Today, as the link above should attest, we enter a new and glorious era in America. The era of State run television. Oh, I know, it doesn't look that way just yet. But considering that ABC News is the most neutral of the 3 big networks this ought to be telling you all something. They're going to be holding an organized media event inside the White House. There will be no opposition voices allowed to participate - by ABC's own dodgy indirect admission even. Everyone who knows anything about politics knows that Obama isn't sitting idly by just watching this all unfold. Nope. He's very clearly directly involved in this as it's his silly little game to nationalize health care that prompted this.

So you may be asking, why don't the Republicans get up in arms about this? Well Ken McKay from the RNC already has, and ABC blew him off. The problem here is that nobody is raising a loud fuss about this. Or if they are, it's not loud enough.

I've always wondered just how state run media happens in a republic/democracy. I suppose now we have our answer. It starts off in a supposedly innocent way with one network playing campaign level theatrics giving hugely biased amounts of free air time to the nation's leader. Then little by little, other networks do the same. Or they get crushed out of existence. Eventually you're left with one and suddenly people are wondering how the USA ends up with Pravda (the old one, not the tabloid one of today). Well wonder no more, for you are witnessing history in the making. The day the USA endorsed state run television.
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil

Well. I guess that's that then.

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Posted on Jun 16, 2009 4:21 pm by Samson in: | 17 comment(s) [Closed]
I'm at somewhat of a loss as to how corporate-run TV networks are suddenly state enterprises by running one special.

I also thought that Republicans, and you, were previously against the while Fairness Doctrine thing, but apparently I misread all of those violent complaints about it. My bad.

Because this is how it all starts. One "innocent" special now. Hardline state run TV later.

Nice try on the Fairness Doctrine thing too. This isn't about that and you surely know it. This is about blatent media bias, pure and simple. You should already know that we on the right are more than happy to let the lefties come on Fox News programs and talk until they're blue in the face (I kill me sometimes). Then we respond with facts and reason and usually blow them out of the water on just about every point made. This isn't something you'll find on the left wing liberal networks, most especially CNN or MSNBC, but certainly not on NBC, CBS, or even ABC. They are afraid of right wing counterpoints because it's against the agenda they themselves have.

Further, the network is providing all of this lopsided coverage without charge. If the Dems want to run an infomercial for the Obama agenda, let them pay for it with their own money. Don't expect the taxpayers to foot the bill. The air time is supposedly "free" but I think anyone with half a brain can tell you the White House gave them a considerable sum of money to open the airwaves like this. It in essence creates state run TV because the state is financing the whole thing. It violates fundamental fairness because now it's the government making decisions about who gets to voice their opinion rather than a privately held corporation.

That rot about how ABC is in sole editorial control? Please. You can't trust these guys as far as you can throw them. It's patently obvious they're not in control. They willingly ceded that control to the Obamas.

So maybe Davion had the right idea when he was talking about goose stepping the other night.. heil Obama, eh?

Seriously, hasn't our television already been state run for decades anyway via the FCC?

Sorry for the double post, I hit the post comment button sooner than I intended to. But, do you suppose the president pays for the airtime when he makes his State of the Union Address each time either? Or that the networks airing those retain editorial control?

Not really. There's a bit of a difference between state licensed and state operated. Apparently not much of a difference at the moment though.

Surely you can't consider those state of the union addresses being any more state licensed instead of state controlled than this event, can you?

State of the Union is Constitutionally mandated. That mandate however does not mean they don't need to pay for whatever communication medium is used to deliver it. So I'd assume that yes, the White House pays for that unless someone can provide proof otherwise. It's also pretty clear that most sane networks don't mess around with what's being delivered and they hardly have a choice in who gets to deliver it. Or, well, I guess they do since they got who they wanted this last time around.

Wait, our forefathers were so smart that they mandated through the constitution well over a hundred years before the advent of radio that the president had to deliver his state of the union address on television and that every major network had to allow the airtime for it to be broadcast live??

I wonder if perhaps you're missing the argument here.

State of the Union is Constitutionally mandated. That doesn't say that the delivery method must be free of charge. It's entirely possible that as part of FCC licensing the major broadcast networks are required to carry it.

The Obama Healtcare Agenda Special is not Constitutionally mandated. The delivery method does not need to be a major television network. Our tax dollars are not obligated to pay for this. That this is happening at all is a sure sign that the network is biased beyond all possible reason since they're complicit in refusing to allow opposition viewpoints on a government sponsored broadcast.

Am I making myself clear here or am I really the only one who sees the problem?

No, I see the problem that you're trying to point out, what I don't see is it being anything new. The State of the Union Address is contitutionally mandated in section 3 of article 2 in its outlining of presidential duties as:
He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient;

There's nothing in there whatsoever about him deliverng it to anyone outside of congress, let alone via radio or television, and certainly not that every major broadcast network must supercede all other programming to provide coverage of it live. I understand that most of the networks cover it for free in the name of breaking national news, what I don't understand is how that's particularly better than what ABC is doing with what they apparently feel is also a major news event of national importance. I think that both are wrong and that both amount to a certain level of state run television just as having the FCC play censor does.

In fact, for the sake of a wee history lesson, the report from the president to the joint session of congress was first televised in 1947 for President Harry Truman and was first called "the State of the Union Address" in 1935, prior to that it was most commonly referred to as "the President's Annual Message to Congress". Prior to 1947, presidents, starting with Calvin Coolidge (in 1923), broadcast their congressional reports via radio. In fact, prior to President Woodrow Wilson's report in 1913, only President George Washington and President John Adams had even ever delivered this report to congress in person, all the other presidents prior to 1913 had simply submitted a report in writing with a clerk to deliver it to congress, though all presidents since have delivered their's in person with the notable exception of Jimmy Carter who simply submitted a written report in 1981. Even after 1947 when President Harry Truman's State of the Union Address was televised, it wasn't until the 1960's that the speech was shifted to "prime time" airing. For that matter, President Bill Clinton was the first to also make his address available live via the web, in 1997.

I was not able to locate any source on the web that indicated whether or not, nor how much if so, these airings cost the President, taxpayers, congress, or anyone else. I don't personally know if anyone foots the bill for these airings but I have no reason not to assume that the networks themselves provide the coverage for free.

I also see where you're coming from here, but you're still apparently misunderstanding the fine point. The Constitution was created before there was an FCC and before the statutory regulations went into effect giving it the power to license broadcasters. I haven't looked into it, but it certainly seems logical enough to think that if the president asks for time to deliver the address that the networks must accommodate him for it. Probably through some provision in their licensing.

This is *NOT* however the case with this special on Obamacare. It would be unlikely to find that there's a broad provision in their licensing that dictates they must provide airtime to the president regardless of the reason. This is where I draw the line.

And lets keep in mind, the license isn't merely for the right to broadcast. It's for the right to broadcast on certain frequency ranges. Which if you've been paying attention for the last 11 years you'll notice have just transitioned to a new set of frequencies which these networks will no longer be able to use at all shortly. There are unregulated frequencies out there that the government couldn't prevent them from using if they really wanted to. It just so happens that the government has statutory control of the ones they *DO* want.

Webcasting is an entirely different thing. Anyone with an ISP and enough bandwidth can do the same thing. And also keep in mind the internet originated as a US Defense Dept project and so they likely still own those bits that got used by Clinton to deliver that address over the internet in 1997. No small feat back then either considering most people barely had the bandwidth for audio, much less video.

And really, who could blame Jimmy Carter for delivering a written report and hiding in shame from the media over the disaster he left for Reagan to fix when 1981 rolled around :)

You might indeed be right about that, I certainly have no easy way of determining (I've explored the FCC's web site for things before and it's nearly as bad as wading through Wordpress code...) presently, in part because I'm limited on time ATM as I need to take Dragona to a doctor's appointment in a few minutes, but I'm pretty sure that our founding fathers would have a conniption if they knew about the FCC in general.

I'm sure that you're also correct about Clinton's webcasting in 1997, I recall all too well the 56k modems that had just come out and the headaches that server set-up involved to support them at the time.

Well, yeah, the whole hostage situation that was still up in the air at the time couldn't have made him want to face the nation.

Well, you're almost approaching the truth, which is the media is biased for ratings no matter who's in charge or what happens. I hate to break this to you, bud, but Bush did the same exact thing during his presidency. Somehow I doubt you made much of a noise then.

Too, I had heard that ABC planned to bring in several opposing questioners.

Let us see then how it unfolds before casting stones.

You may yet come to the light my friend, you may yet.

One has to wonder which of us you're directing that at, Whir.

The media has always been biased since the first printing presses began cranking out sheets and pamphlets in America. The whole notion of "objective" journalism is a myth and a fraud. Journalists are taught in college they are speshul people, have speshul privileges, and have a very speshul Constitutional role to play relaying the "objective" truth to the American people. None of this is even remotely true. Let their be no restrictions on them and let there be no coercion by government on forcing a "balanced" viewpoint. If you by into the false premise that journalism is (or ought to be) objective then you buy into the notion that something needs to be fixed. viz. "free speech (political) ought to be regulated". There's nothing like free market to out the truth.

I don't think anyone here was advocating regulation of journalism to remove bias and force objectivity, but it would be nice if journalism could relagate the majority of the bias to the commentary sections. I don't even mind news agencies being biased in all their reporting as long as they're honestly telling people that they're representing whichever side they are. In other words, if the reporting is going to be all right wing, then they should call themselves a right wing media. But yes, you're right that as long as no one is forcing a balanced viewpoint then the media will lean whichever way the majority of media owners choose to lean in a free market.

The 1st Amendment is a license to lie as far as the press is concerned. It's the price we pay for wanting free press here. That doesn't mean though that we should tolerate them inventing entire stories and falsely covering real ones cloaked in their biases just because we have no way to regulate that. Market forces can only do so much when the media refuses to actually go with what the markets say they want. Which is not left wing lunatic communist fringe news, but simple, straight reporting of the facts as they are known. Which is more in line with what Fox News does and is why their ratings clobber everyone else. But one network alone can't fix this problem.

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