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The New Un-Fairness Doctrine:

What's That Smell?

by Bridget Gibson
In 1987, the FCC stopped enforcing most applications of the fairness doctrine. It relied upon a controversial opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, written by Judge Bork and then-Judge Scalia, that characterized the doctrine as discretionary, rather than mandatory. The decision contravened 25 years of FCC holdings that the doctrine had been put into law in 1959. In late 1991 the FCC extended its policy and ceased enforcing the doctrine as to ballot issues as well.

- Media Access Project

Many years ago, natural gas was delivered to consumers without the "warning odor" of sulphur. It was odorless and colorless and could overcome the unsuspecting without any prior knowledge or forewarning of danger. After a number of people had lost their lives, the companies that marketed this product decided that there should be a way that the consumer could know if they were in danger.

Today we are in danger and there is no overt warning for the average citizen. No one has developed the "warning odor" of imminent destruction to our way of life and many people are oblivious to the disastrous effects that will soon show up in their lives. We are in desperate need of a sign.

There are small flags that are occasionally thrown but easily ignored. The referees have retired and there is no vanguard standing watch. Our media (the television and radio newscasters) of old have left their posts and have been replaced by the corporate media. These corporations have only the requirements of profits to guide them. To disclose the ugly truth would be to turn a gun on themselves. And the corporations will not do that. You must remember that a corporation's only mandate is to make more money for the corporation. It has no conscience and answers not to the good of the people. The "Fairness Doctrine" is no longer the operational guideline and has been negated. [Emphasis added.]

The fall of the giant energy company, Enron, is but the beginning of a story that needs to be told. Vast sums of money are changing hands and deals are being made out of the sight of the average citizen that will markedly affect all that every individual holds dear; family, future, finances, home and hearth.
It must be known and openly challenged by every citizen that our government no longer acts on behalf of humanity. Humanity is a word that has somehow taken on a negative connotation. If you believe in people and the future of the human race, you have somehow become a "liberal" and a "communist."

It must be known and openly challenged by every citizen that our government no longer acts on behalf of humanity. Humanity is a word that has somehow taken on a negative connotation. If you believe in people and the future of the human race, you have somehow become a "liberal" and a "communist." These words are dreaded and reacted to with such emotional vigor that to be the recipient of the label is bewildering. To believe in the goodness of mankind and to care for the earth is no longer acceptable. We, as a nation, have been conditioned to only believe that "corporations" have the right to exist and that "corporations" have the right to free speech and that the dollars that are amassed by the corporation to further the income of the corporation is good above and beyond what could possibly be "good" for mankind.

Campaign Finance Reform (as introduced and sponsored by John McCain) would have been a beginning. A small beginning, but a beginning nonetheless. It would have attempted to regulate the amount of money that could be given to political parties to further the agenda of that party in any way that the specific party chose - thus, allowing large sums of money to pass through without going to an individual candidate (where there would be limits on receipts). Well, early last year after being inaugurated, George W. Bush, made certain that the legislation would fail.

Our career politicians have an addiction. It's like the nasty little secret that many families share. They attempt to cover it up and hide it and call it many other names. But it's an addiction anyway. They need the money. They want the money. They want the power that the money gives them. They feed on it. They crave it. They like going to all the functions and getting all the attention. They like the feeling that being so very important gives them. They will do anything to keep those feelings. They like dressing up and being seen with the "right" people. They consider that their opinions are flexible and can be changed with just the right amount of money. They must have their money at the expense of all else. And like any addict, their addiction will cost everyone else. It will cost people their homes and their jobs and their families. It will cost some their life savings. It can cost others to lose the ability to care for everything they hold dear (their families, their futures, their jobs).

Enron has been a bad bit of press for the Whitehouse and the current administration. They will try to say that they have done nothing to cause or to help this corporation (Enron). They will show that there is no evidence that any particular favoritism has been shown. VP Cheney may have called India to collect money for Enron, but that was only in the course of normal operations. I didn't know that our Executive Branch acted as a collection agency for companies, but not much surprises me these days. The Energy Policy may have benefitted Enron, but, hey, they're an energy company! The full force of deregulation may hurt consumers (consider the average California consumer last winter), but goodness only knows that the entire country should go in that direction! The average consumer can save money when the automobile manufacturer lowers the price of a car. What a priceless way to think. I personally have never witnessed a decline in the price of a new vehicle from year to year, but there's a first for everything.

Enron's collapse is the "warning odor." All citizens should know they are being poisoned. Slowly and surely their worlds are being polluted with the toxins from bad government. Our government is not representing the ordinary citizen. Our government is representing only the very wealthy and very monied few. What is good for the Enrons and Ken Lays of the world is not good for the citizenry of the United States. Enron represents all that is wrong with the greased palm of the politician. The addictive fix is costing you more than you can afford. They will take your life's work and not blink an eye. They will do it in the guise of "reform" and give you the "new" and "improved" version of the United States. Just remember when you see "new" and "improved" on a cereal box, it generally indicates that they have changed the color of the box and shrunk the size of the contents.


Bridget Gibson's article is reprinted with permission from LiberalSlant.com.

Updated for the Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel by Allegro Web Communications on January 23, 2001
FEBRUARY 2002
LOCAL NEWS
· NEWS BRIEFS
· · GENERAL CALENDAR
· Senior Events Calendar
· Black History Month Events
· Public Service Announcements
· Smart Regional Planning
· Theme-Based Education at GreenMount School
· Foreign Oysters Proposed For the Chesapeake
· "Constant" Problems with Employment-Related Taxes and Insurance Curb Job Creation in Maryland
· Maryland's Disenfranchisement of Felons May Be Easing
· The Harpers of Harper's Ferry
· Sports: Ravens Football: The Ride is Over
· Sports: The State of the Orioles
CITIZENS REFERENCE: BLUE CROSS PRIVATIZATION ISSUES
·Policy Considerations Arising From A Sale of the Maryland Blue Cross/Blue Shield Plan
·Consumer Groups from Four Jurisdictions Call on Regulators to Protect The Public Interest In CareFirst Conversion
·Their Side: Company Says Time is Right for Converting to For-Profit and Merging with Wellpoint
ART & ENTERTAINMENT
·The Power of Poetry: Moment by Moment
·Poetry: Cookin' the Books
·Theater Review: Three Tall Women at Center Stage: Two Out of Three Are Spectacular
·Book Review: Dance with Demons
·Book Review: The Long Hard Kvetch
SPEAKING OUT
·No EDITORIALS in Feb.
·LETTERS
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·Look smart: Grammar Do's and Don'ts
·Soapbox: 90% Approval? That Was Then. This Is Now.
·Louise Hintze, a Woman Who Will Never Die
·Voting Is More Than a Right, It's a Duty
·What's a Poor Airport Security Guard To Do?
·Anti-Arab Backlash Not Merited, Say Minority Law Students From Harvard
NEWS MEDIA CRITIQUE
·Big Media Is Getting Bigger, And Here's Why We Should Be Concerned
·ABC Omits U.S. From Human Rights Report
·The New Un-Fairness Doctrine: What's That Smell?
·FCC Set to Eliminate Media Diversity
·Three Cases Show How the Media, and Our Democracy, Are at Risk
·Bush's Spending Madness
·"Big Media" Monopolies Not Limited to U.S.
·English Course Teaches Students Media Literacy
NATION & WORLD
· U.S. Violates Geneva Conventions
· War is a Sorry Way to "Bring Us Together"
· Afghanistan and Beyond: A Long-Term Security Strategy
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