Wednesday, October 11, 2017

1856 The Fairness Doctrine

1856 The Fairness Doctrine
Famed vaudeville team/Spaghetti Images


The federally mandated Fairness Doctrine was never about equal time. It was about equal opportunity for people with opposing opinions to answer those with whom they disagreed.


And it did not ever -- ever -- apply to what the Federal Communications Commission called “regularly scheduled news broadcasts.”  So the Nightly News, Meet the Press, This Week and similar programs were exempt even though they usually acted as if they weren’t.


The Reagan era FCC did away with that.  It thus allows the overwhelmingly right wing radio talk shows and the envelope pushing Fox and MSNBC cable channels.


Now, it looks like trump wants it back.  Why? Because every late night TV comic makes fun of his every move.  Relentless fun. Funny fun.


Okay, fair enough, doctrinally speaking.


In order to have a late night comedy show, there has to be comedy.  NBC soon will find this out after the chronically unfunny Jimmy Fallon is discovered skateboarding against traffic on Sixth Avenue muttering to himself about how Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien and the other Jay Leno weren’t all that funny either.


Yes, Leno’s overwhelming nighttime lead is nowhere in sight unless you have ground penetrating radar.  Meanwhile Colbert, Conan, Comedy Central, Kimmel and the later than late network shows are all making a pile of money on trump’s antics. As are John Oliver and Bill Maher on HBO.


People are watching.  Advertisers are creating such commercial demand that even Geico, Sonic, Progressive insurance and a drugstore full of miracle cures with encyclopedic side effects are being muscled out by ads for non-hoodwink-ables.


Then answer, of course, is find a right wing comedian to retaliate.  Here’s a list of the candidates:


  1. Dennis Miller.
That’s it.  Maybe Jeff Foxworthy would be a hit in the boonies.  But the money is in the city.


That lets out that famous vaudeville team Gingrich, Limbaugh and Cheney, though Limbaugh occasionally comes up with a funny line.  So does Michael Savage.  But Savage violates TV’s Prime Directive: “Don’t show unattractive people” or in newer iterations “don’t show ugly.”


So let’s find a funny right winger to do a late night comedy show.  And then let’s see if anyone watches. And anyone but Hobby Lobby, Chick-fil-A, the Billy Graham Evangelical Association, Cracker Barrel and the Nursing Sisters of the Sick Poor buy commercial time.


SHRAPNEL:
--Fallon is just plain not funny.  And Lorne Michaels could change that. He’s the current big wheel behind the Tonight Show and the long time big wheel behind Saturday Night Live.  So he knows what sells and what doesn’t.


--Hollywood knew for decades that something wasn’t kosher at Weinstein films.  It took them a while to find out, but they did. Harvey Weinstein is a pig. (Self plagiarized from my Facebook post.)


--Hurricane Nate surprised us all.  It moved so fast there wasn’t all that much damage. How about focusing on the fires in California if you want to see reporters out in bad atmospheric conditions and people suffering under circumstances worse than your own.


I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please send comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
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© WJR 2017

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