Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Flowers and photo of unidentified NYC firefighter with
two daughters adorn fence at the site of World Trade Center

Photo: Mike Segar, Reuter's
Stern Fairness?
In the early days of my television career, a fatuous and lazy public TV Program Director, now deceased, violated Section 315 of the Communications Act of 1937, more popularly known as the Equal Time provisions, during the local political season by unknowingly scheduling and airing a repeat program that featured a local candidate.
It was the first time I ever saw a television executive manufacture flop sweat and actually shake in fear.
It came to be a rather common occurrence.

Late 70's local access TV in WLWT's Studio A.
I'm in the light jacket behind the "MC".

Like today in Cali-fornia, this local race, back when, had way too many candidates (20 plus) vying for the office and, after the mistaken repeat, 30 uninterrupted minutes of individual access to the local TV audience.
Had this been a commercial TV station the executive would have certainly soon resigned to spend more time with his family.
As it was, in the safe little nepotistic world of glamour-job-land, this most unwholesome of individuals lumbered on in error filled unproductivity as the entire little station was consumed in fulfilling the Equal Time requirements demanded by his mistake.
Actually, an entire operation covering for an errant executive, also, came to be a rather common occurrence but these memories, dear reader, are stories for another time.
Aside from being a hardship on the station’s staff, the little Equal Time shows really fleshed out the issues of that local race.
I remember many positive viewer calls.
Callers did not seem to realize this local programming was only due to the violation of a Federal regulatory rule and 30 uneventful years later likely have no memory of a similar set of events.
The Communications Act of 1937 created the FCC, which enforced and interpreted the communications law.
In 1949 the FCC established a policy that became known as the Fairness Doctrine.
Prior to 1949 broadcasting stations were prohibited from taking editorial positions.
In ’49 the FCC moderated the editorial ban by describing stations as "public trustees" having “an obligation to afford reasonable opportunity for discussion of contrasting points of view on controversial issues of public importance.”
In 1968 the Fairness Doctrine was reinforced by the Supreme Court’s decision in Red Lion Broadcasting Co., Inc. v. FCC.
In 1971, the Commission ruled that stations were obligated to actively seek out and broadcast issues of importance to their community.
The Fairness Doctrine ran in parallel with the Equal Time provisions until 1985 when Reagan’s FCC chairman Mark Fowler “killed” or eliminated the fairness requirement that stations “afford reasonable opportunity for discussion of contrasting points of view”.
Prior to 1985, news programs, interviews and documentaries were exempt from the Section 315 Equal Time provisions but still had to obey the Fairness requirements.
In 1984 the FCC exempted Donahue from the Equal Time provisions.
In the years following the death of fairness, Sally Jesse Raphael, Jerry Springer and Politically Incorrect have been exempted from what remains of the Equal Time rules.
The theft of information from the American public arena continues with yesterday’s exemption of the Howard Stern Show and the specific short term intent of furthering a certain muscle bound Austrian’s one sided and illusory discourse.
Will uptight prigs George Will and Tim Russert soon opine as nude Senator’s Jell-O wrestle?
Arnie and his corporate backers should just figure that, no matter the size of his, ahem, brain, only a certain kind of man is comfortable debating in front of other men. ;-)

Pirate Country, Andrew Wyeth, 1937

Thank you for your kind patronage of this blog.
I’m going fishing...Back around October 1.

Fairness Doctrine

Washington Post Stern story

Art Images on the Web
Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Rookwood Pottery, Matte/Carved
8"Sq Architectural Tile, 1905-1920

O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,

Langston Hughes, from Let America Be America Again
Monday, September 08, 2003
A Faith-based Exit

Standing last evening in an oddly unfamiliar Cabinet Room stripped of President Nixon’s mahogany table, George W. Bush, displaying his faith-based exit strategy, essentially told the American people that he still believes in a place called hope:

Our coalition enforced…one of the swiftest and most humane military campaigns in history…We are rolling back the terrorist threat to civilization, not on the fringes of its influence, but at the heart of its power…We are helping the long suffering people of that country to build a decent and democratic society at the center of the Middle East…Our strategy in Iraq will require new resources.

No matter this glowing record of self-described faith-based success, the President will require his people to belt-tighten an additional $87 billion out of their own cash-strapped American pockets in furtherance of Iraqi healthcare, Iraqi infrastructure, the illusion of Iraqi democracy and, of course, endless global war.
The President quoted a letter from an officer in the 3rd ID:

He wrote about his pride in serving a just cause, and about the deep desire of Iraqis for liberty…”They are starved for freedom and opportunity."

That may be Mr. President, that may be, but take this as a letter from an old non-com serving “on the front lines of freedom” here in Kentucky.
There are plenty of your fellow citizens here in America, Mr. Bush, who are “starved for freedom and opportunity”.
America needs healthcare, a renewed infrastructure and protection from terror.
Leave the bubble of your security cocoon sometime Mr. President on your fundraising jaunts and take a walk past the blocks of boarded-up storefronts that comprise the central cores of America’s cities.
Speak, at some point in your presidency, before an assembly of real citizens and not just before hand-selected photo groupings of contributors or smiling untested troops and you yourself might sense the errors of your “strategy”.
Defending you and your advisors, Condolezza Rice said, of Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, yesterday on CNN:

They got us to the place we are now.

This place where defeat isn’t an option and actions for some have no consequence is the sad place where we find ourselves.
I actually heard, this weekend, Republican Senators, in defense of the “strategy”, describe wounded soldiers as “bumps on the road”. Imagine that; a thousand armless and legless young people are diffused into mere bumps on the road.
The President had no words for the wounded in Sunday’s speech:

The heaviest burdens in our war on terror fall, as always, on the men and women of our Armed Forces…We are grateful for their skill and courage…we honor the sacrifice of their families. And we mourn every American who has died so bravely, so far from home.

The Bush administration’s decadent on the cheap strategy failed to secure Afghanistan and has, to date, failed to secure Iraq while further endangering our young troops lives.
No American can be happy with this present state of affairs.

Regarding Mr. Bush and the miserable failure of his “strategy”, I am reminded of the Cartoon Network’s slogan for the newly produced Duck Dodgers series:

If he’s our future, we’re history.

Photo: Tina Hager, The White House

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