Sunday, November 21, 2010

"It would all be so much easier (and nicer, and, yes, higher quality) if we controlled things for you...."

This past week, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), told us how much more "quality" news there would be on television if only the FCC would assert its regulatory self and take FOX News and MSNBC off the air, presumably for the crime of being too opinionated for a "news" channel. Jay apparently is pining for a bygone age of Cronkite, et al, which is fine if all he's doing is pining, but suggesting that the government ought to step into the speech wars in "our" best interest is tantamount to a full-on assault on the First Amendment.

I'm not a FOX News guy at all; I watch a little MSNBC, primarily "Morning Joe" because I think Scarborough has a reasonably accurate finger on the pulse of the independent vote in this country (you know, the one that controls national elections that you might have heard me mention before). But I will go toe-to-toe with anyone who wants to strip either of these channels of its respective right to broadcast. I don't care how "faux" their "news" is. I understand -- it's political opinion under the guise of "news." I get it, but it's still political opinion -- the very thing the First Amendment is intended to protect, no matter how noxious, dopey or otherwise offensive that opinion may be. The mere notion that a sitting U.S. senator could conceive of trying to put a sock in the mouth of a TV network under the guise (or even the honest goal) of "protecting" us or raising the "quality" of news is enough to make me quite certain that I don't want to see that senator hold his or her job for very long, regardless of party affiliation.

If you want to read more about this flap from the perspective of a Denver Post columnist, go here. If you want to be not surprised at all that Jay Rockefeller is trying to regulate cable news content, go here and learn that he's been at this sort of thing for a while now.

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