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zymok (23.91)

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January 16, 2011 – Comments (6)

This is a political/opinion post, so skip it if you're intent on investing blogs.

I came across this op-ed from guardian.co.ukFree speech can't exist unchained.  US politics needs the tonic of order.

The gist is that the U.S needs more regulation of free speech along the lines of that in the UK. 

While I don't normally comment on opinion pieces, it's Sunday afternoon, my team is out of the playoffs, and I'm bored, so here are some of the better lines from the piece, along with my interpretation.

Washington must contain more wisdom and talent than anywhere on earth

In what bizarro universe does the author live?

Today's culprit is freedom of speech, or at least the speech of the American right and its broadcast cheerleaders

Because nobody listens to left-wing talk shows.

Language that might not disturb a balanced mind can clearly stimulate and legitimise an unbalanced one.

Unbalanced minds will find their own stimulation, and don't seek legitimization.

I was asked some time ago by a university-educated Texan, in the nicest possible way, what it was like to live in a country of "baby-killers" about to be "overrun by Muslim bad guys". I inquired where he had gained this bizarre impression of Europe, which he had never visited. It turned out his sole information about the world beyond America's shore came from Fox News.

I wonder which commentator this Texan listened to.  Juan Williams?  Alan Colmes?  We'll never know.

Yet Obama himself declined to champion the "fairness doctrine" that once governed broadcasting licences awarded by America's Federal Communications Commission, and governs them throughout Europe.

If the fairness doctrine is reinstated, can NPR be compelled to carry Rush Limbaugh?

While Jon Stewart and others have counter-punched from the left, it strains credulity to maintain that this polarisation has had no impact on the virulence – and immobility – of American public life.

What incredible rubbish.  Today's US society is tame by historical standards.  The 1960s comes immediately to mind.

Under Britain's 2003 Communications Act, Ofcom's rules on "due impartiality, due accuracy and undue prominence" are voluminous. So is the BBC code of practice on balance. Both require impartiality within news presentation rather than just between channels

I'm glad for Britain that they have wise arbiters of balance to judge such a thing.  Unfortunately, all our wise men (and women) are tied up in Washington.

When it comes to Mosley's defamation or Tong's twittering, most Europeans would rely on self-discipline on the part of the media, and on the chaotic pluralism of the internet. Even so, they would argue for regulated airwaves, as they would for laws preventing libel, slander and incitement to illegality and racial hatred.

Argumentum ad populum plus false analogy. I recognize that logical standards are relaxed for op-ed pieces, but this is over the line.

 

6 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On January 16, 2011 at 7:58 PM, TMFAleph1 (93.00) wrote:

The Guardian is a left-wing daily...

Alex Dumortier

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#2) On January 16, 2011 at 10:54 PM, devoish (90.31) wrote:

There’s two things I said. I say why isn’t Iraq paying us back with oil, and paying every American family and their soldiers that lost loved ones or have injured soldiers — and why didn’t they pay for their own liberation? For the Kuwait oil minister — how short his memory is. You know, we have every right to go in there and frankly take all their oil and make them pay for the liberation, as these sheiks, etcetera etcetera, you know were living in hotels in London and New York, as Trump pointed out, and now they’re gouging us and saying ‘oh of course we can withstand [these prices].’” - Sean Hannity

I suppose if the US has every right to go in there and take their oil as payment for their liberation, then they haven't really been liberated.

But I agree with you. If you can listen to FOX for this long, no  amount of "balance" is going to matter.

 

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#3) On January 17, 2011 at 2:05 AM, ajm101 (< 20) wrote:

Thanks for the political post.  Discourse around here was getting pretty good, and someone needed to drag it back down.  Rest assured that everyone is intently interested in what you think about a Guardian editorial.

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#4) On January 17, 2011 at 9:15 AM, russiangambit (28.88) wrote:

> I was asked some time ago by a university-educated Texan, in the nicest possible way, what it was like to live in a country of "baby-killers" about to be "overrun by Muslim bad guys". I inquired where he had gained this bizarre impression of Europe, which he had never visited. It turned out his sole information about the world beyond America's shore came from Fox News.

Sounds like Ann Coulter's language and she is mainstream in the american right media. In Europe she'd be considered crazy.

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#5) On January 17, 2011 at 5:43 PM, leohaas (29.27) wrote:

Maybe the Guardian should stick to opining on current events in England. Clearly, they are clueless about life in the US. We will never accept the kind of limitations on free speech they are proposing.

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#6) On January 20, 2011 at 9:53 AM, drgroup (69.60) wrote:

"It turned out his sole information about the world beyond America's shore came from Fox News."

If you are truly a university-educated person, you never rely upon information derived from one sourse. Sounds like the Texan was a brainwashed progressive liberal. They believe everything they are told... No reason to challenge reality.

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