Sunday, July 1, 2007


I recently moved. The move required a lengthy drive through rural Pennsylvania. After suffering through a broadcast of yet another Yankee loss, I decided to scan the AM dial to see what type of talk radio programming was available. Three stations registered, one was ESPN radio, one was some form of religious programming and one was a conservative talk show host by the name of Mike Gallagher. Gallagher is author of the book Surrounded by Idiots: Fighting Liberal Lunacy in America, as well as a contributor to Fox News Channel and according to his website, one of the most unfortunate looking men ever to talk on the radio.

I enjoy listening to conservative talk show hosts because their lunacy tends to be less predictable than their liberal counterparts. So I settled in and listened to Gallagher bash Bush's immigration bill for a while then move seamlessly into bashing John Kerry and Dianne Feinstein for suggesting the "fairness doctrine" be reinstated.

What happened over the next half an hour was one of the most ironic endorsements of the fairness doctrine I could possibly conceive.

Gallagher explained to his listeners that the reinstitution of the "fairness doctrine" would require radio stations to give equal time to liberal and conservative voices. So for instance, if Rush was on for three hours then he would have to be followed by a liberal for three hours. Gallagher ranted about how this was abhorrent to the concept of free speech and it was another way the liberals were trying to control the media. He then took calls from his listeners who were appalled by this concept and who thanked him for informing them about the FD and for being a voice of reason on the radio.

The only problem is that Gallagher is grossly mis/uninformed as to what the FD actually was. The fairness doctrine was an Federal Communications Commission policy that required all broadcasters to offer opposing views on their channels/stations. However there were never any stipulations as to the duration of time or when that time must be given. So Gallagher's 45 minute long, drive-time, tirade against the immigration bill could be met with two minutes of pr0-immigration speech at 5 in the morning on a Sunday and the station would be in compliance with the fairness doctrine.

Or for instance, Gallagher's 30 minute long rant opposing the FD could be met by 30 seconds of me explaining to him what the FD actually is and the station would be in compliance with FCC policy.

But I guess that's what happens when you're surrounded by idiots.

No comments: