According to Rockefeller, Theres a little bug inside of me which wants to get the FCC to say to Fox and to MSNBC, Out. Off. End. Goodbye. It would be a big favor to political discourse; to our ability to do our work here in Congress; and to the American people, to be able to talk with each other and have some faith in their government and, more importantly, in their future.
The New York Times explains that the remark was not in Rockefellers prepared speech, which read:
When it comes to developing content, our entertainment machine is too often in a race to the bottom. Even worse, our news media has all but surrendered to the forces of entertainment. Instead of a watchdog that is a check on the excesses of government and business, we have the endless barking of a 24-hour news cycle. We have journalism that is always ravenous for the next rumor, but insufficiently hungry for the facts that can nourish our democracy. As citizens, we are paying the price.
Apparently, the Senator could not contain his true feelings.
Moreover, the Senators statements are all too familiar, as they closely mirror assertions made by President Barack Obama during a commencement speech at Hampton University in Virginia:
And with iPods and iPads; and Xboxes and PlayStations none of which I know how to work information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation. So all of this is not only putting pressure on you; its putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy.
Both politicians view conflicting political views as a danger to "democracy" as opposed to an exercise of freedom of speech.
Likewise, conservative pundit Laura Ingraham contends that both men are targeting conservatives, despite the references to MSNBC and Xboxes," which she asserts are there merely to allow the speakers to appear fair and relatively harmless.
Fortunately for fans of Fox News and MSNBC, Rockefellers dreams of controlling political discourse on cable news will not be realized, as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has no jurisdiction over cable, only over channels delivered over broadcast airwaves.
Similar to the Rockefellers sentiments, Reverend Al Sharpton told MSNBCs Ed Schultz that the FCC should be responsible for going after talk radio stations that carry personalities like Rush Limbaugh.
According to Newsbusters, The background [of Sharptons statement] is the back-and-forth between Schultz and Rush regarding Limbaughs comments on Jim Clyburn, President Obama and Sheila Jackson Lee, which asserted that racism is driving top ranking Dems to wrestle power from ?African-American Representative Jim Clyburn. ?
In response to Limbaughs statements, Sharpton told Schultz:
When you keep having all of these racial tones, that is supported by federally-regulated radio remember, these stations that he is on go to the federal government to get consolidation, to get waivers the government has a right to protect free speech but they also have an obligation to hold standards where American people are not subjected to this.
I think that even if his advertisers cant be stopped with boycotts, the FCC must step in and deal with standards on how they give station clearances to people that just want to race-bait. This is not about opinions, this is not about what you or I say in our college speeches or churches. This is on federally-regulated airwaves that the FCC gives the license to stations to let them do this.
Newsbusters believes that Sharptons explanation is merely to disguise his true intent, which is to target the conservatives who helped the Democrats lose their majority on November 2. The bottom line is that the left wants to find an excuse, any excuse, to grab the mike from the man who has wreaked so much havoc on their cause.
The statements made by Obama, Rockefeller, and Sharpton emphasize that the Lefts claims to diversity and open-mindedness are nothing more than smoke and mirrors.
Photo: Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 27, 2010: AP Images