ANYBODY BUT NOT ANNOUNCED CANDIDATES
by Peter Moss,
According to the Washington Spectator newsletter [November 15, 2002], "A study of local TV-news broadcasts in 50 media markets by journalism academics at two American universities showed that they aired four times more profit-making campaign ads than campaign news reports. Of 4,850 half-hour shows examined, only 37 percent carried any election coverage." I believe this summary strongly supports the need for a Fairness Doctrine, which was suspended by the FCC a few years ago (probably after heavy industry lobbying), and the interested complainant was simply denied U.S. Supreme Court review of the FCC's arbitrary action. Both WCAX and VPR wrote me that the Federal Fairness Doctrine is no longer in force, although WCAX taped a one-hour interview with me and used it in a one-minute news item a few months ago. I announced my candidacy in July of 2001, but Ed Shamy, metro editor at the Burlington Free Press told me on July 18, 2001 that he lacks staff to run my one-page press release about my run against Sen. Patrick Leahy. Sam Hemingway, state news columnist at the Burlington Free Press, interviewed me on the phone in November 2002, but once he discovered that I am a Lincoln Republican, not a Bush Republican, he told me he has no immediate plans to publish anything about my candidacy. And did you know that the phrase "civil unions" never appeared in the BFP? If something displeases BFP CEO James F. Carey, it does not exist or it is not news. And the drafters of the First Amendment were worried about the censors dispatched by King George III. Bah humbug. The media barons censor quite nicely without royal censors. We need a Vermont Fairness Doctrine Law now because the U.S. Supreme Court mistakenly believes that [bribe] money is free speech; I would like to see any Justice pay with free speech at the supermarket check-out counter. Needless to say the Congress, whose fairness can be gauged by its near-unanimous support for an oil war under the pretense of weapons of mass destruction, is not about to bother with re-instating any Fairness Doctrine. And of course the Congress would take First Amendment cover against any fairness required of the print media. The Vermont Times of December 4, 2002 added to its letters policy the following: "Letters from announced political candidates are not accepted, although letters from voters commenting on election issues are welcome." As far as I know, ex-governor Dr. Howard Dean and I are the only "announced political candidates" at this time and it would be interesting to see if the Vermont Times would deny space to Dr. Dean. The Vermont Times' new policy comes after a 2-photo news report in the November 13, 2002 edition of the Vermont Times celebrating a $250,000 grant Senator Leahy arranged for Fletcher Allen. I have never seen any "letters from announced political candidates" in the Vermont Times over the past two years that I have been trying to publish letters there, about a dozen times. But I forget: Senator Leahy is an elected official, not [yet] an announced candidate. And Bill Meub even had a color insert in the Vermont Times, but that of course was paid as part of his $200,000 failed run against Bernie Sanders. When the time comes, I would love to testify before any House or Senate committee about fairness to bribe-rejecting candidates. Unrich people with a legitimate grievance have no broadcast and print media access on issues the self-serving media barons, (owners and controllers) don't want debated, thus simply denying the aggrieved their "free speech" to communicate and their right to organize others similarly aggrieved. The barons make only one exception to media black-out for the unrich: a publicity flag burning. If people don't want the Bushist regime to bomb Iraq, they get no hearing. If they burn a flag, they get immediate media attention, although not the desired result. The goal of the media and of the aggrieved is quite different. The media barons do not publicize flag burnings to remedy the underlying wrong. The media barons just want to expose the burners as unpatriotic and foolish and the underlying issue as not part of all the news that's fit to print. This mean spirited censorship is media policy; if flag burning was not defined as newsworthy and never publicized, it would stop. Thus the media barons responsible for communication on public issues are themselves the guilty promoters of flag burning. Yet in the process of trying to discredit and silence the flag burners, they have unwittingly publicized the underlying issue(s) of the aggrieved. I have a troubling feeling that this situation is not understood by most voters. It should be. The media owners own and manage their printing presses and broadcast equipment and should earn a fair returns on their investment, but should not be able to black out or warp issues they dislike because the airwaves and the public's mind and attention belong to the public, not to the media barons, which was of course the whole reason for the First Amendment when it was enacted. We cannot blame the Founding Fathers for not foreseeing that a media baronetcy will replace George III which will black out, spin, delay, and otherwise control news flow, public discourse, and national policy, often to serve advertiser preferences and always the policy of the might-is-right central government which is increasingly unresponsive to the needs and desires of America's 98% unrich.