Today, Politico Arena asks:
NPR v. Fox News?
Do I sense a bit of chutzpa in Politico's report today that NPR executives have asked their top political correspondent, Mara Liasson, to reconsider her appearances on Fox News because of what the executives perceive as the network's political bias? The request would be impertinent if NPR itself were beyond reproach, ideologically, but "fair and balanced" it is not. It's a playpen for the left, subsidized by the American taxpayer, exceeded in its biases only by Pacifica Radio, another tax subsidized playpen straight out of the late '60s.
There's nothing wrong with a news organization tilting left or right, of course: let the public then decide, as the Fox News numbers show the public is doing. (And that, plainly, is what's behind the White House efforts to marginalize the one network that's had the audacity to criticize it systematically.) There is something deeply wrong, however, with asking the public to subsidize that tilt. NPR and its listeners would be screaming, and rightly so, if the taxpayers were subsidizing Fox News. Is it any different in their case? And please don't say that NPR's news is "news" -- we're all adults here. There's a reason conservatives, mostly, and libertarians want to reduce the reach of government. It's because so much of life -- from news to education, religion, health care, the arts, and so much more -- is fraught with values about which reasonable people can have reasonable differences. For that, there is only one answer: freedom, including freedom, as Jefferson put it, from having to subsidize views one finds abhorrent.
- Today marks 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Full round-up of commentary on that historic day, here.
- The heroes who helped bring down the Wall.
- One size does not fit all: How the federal health care overhaul will disrupt progress in states that are already addressing problems at home.
- Move over Fox News: The Obama administration takes aim at climate scientists.
- Podcast: "ObamaCare: A Bad Deal for Young Adults"
In an effort to achieve "network neutrality" online, the FCC is starting to write new regulations for Internet providers. Reuters reports:
U.S. communications regulators voted unanimously Thursday to support an open Internet rule that would prevent telecom network operators from barring or blocking content based on the revenue it generates.
The proposed rule now goes to the public for comment until Jan. 14, after which the Federal Communications Commissions will review the feedback and possibly seek more comment. A final rule is not expected until the spring of next year.
Cato Director of Information Policy Studies Jim Harper appeared on Fox News this week to discuss the FCC decision. "This is governmental tinkering with a market place that is working really well and growing right now," said Harper. "The last thing we need is to cut that off."
There are ways to achieve net neutrality without regulation, says Timothy B. Lee:
An important reason for the Internet's remarkable growth over the last quarter century is the "end-to-end" principle that networks should confine themselves to transmitting generic packets without worrying about their contents. Not only has this made deployment of internet infrastructure cheap and efficient, but it has created fertile ground for entrepreneurship. On a network that respects the end-to-end principle, prior approval from network owners is not needed to launch new applications, services, or content.
...Like these older regulatory regimes, network neutrality regulations are likely not to achieve their intended aims. Given the need for more competition in the broadband marketplace, policymakers should be especially wary of enacting regulations that could become a barrier to entry for new broadband firms.
Today's Arena question over at Politico asks:
Is Fox News a "legitimate news organization?" Is the White House smart, or not so smart, to take on Fox?
Is Fox News a "legitimate news organization?" As compared to what? The New York Times? NPR? MSNBC? Please.
The Obama team, Democrats like my good friend Walter Dellinger, and the so-called Mainstream Media (MSM) howl about Fox News for two main reasons. First, Fox is covering news the MSM ignores because it doesn't "fit." And second, in part because of that, the Fox audience continues to grow while the MSM audience is shrinking, raising a serious question about whether the MSM is any longer "mainstream."
Let's not pretend that the MSM doesn't "manage" the news. It does it mainly by deciding daily what is and is not "news" and then by deciding how to report that news. Do we need any better example than the current ACORN story? As Fox was bringing the facts to light, nowhere were those facts to be found in the MSM -- until they could be ignored no longer. Or take the huge 9/12 anti-big-government rally here in Washington. Fox covered it for the event that it was. Where was it covered in The New York Times? On page A37. And more revealing still, in the NYT electronic edition, the second of three stories posted under "Politics" was headlined "Thousands Rally in Minnesota Behind Obama's Call for Health Care Overhaul," the third was headlined "Thousands Rally in Capital to Protest Big Government" -- the implication being that the two rallies were equivalent in size when in fact the protest rally dwarfed the Obama rally by many multiples.
But why pretend it's otherwise? The president himself admits the MSM bias. Speaking at the May 9 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, "I am Barack Obama. Most of you covered me. All of you voted for me. (Laughter and applause.) Apologies to the Fox table." A good laugh line in that setting, to be sure, but only because he's said at last what we all know to be true.
Walter Dellinger may write, citing no evidence, that the Tax Day Tea Party protests were "conceived and executed by Fox News," but he surely knows that's not true. He hails from North Carolina, albeit now from Duke. He knows that outside that cloister there's protest in the land. Fox News isn't generating that opposition to the Obama juggernaut. It's real, but it's so much easier for the MSM to blame the bearer of that news than to face the reasons for their own falling numbers: Their "news" doesn't fit with what so many people see with their own eyes. I'm reminded of the great Groucho Marx line: "Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?"
C/P Politico's Arena
Appearing on Fox News last night, Cato scholar Neal McCluskey weighed in on Obama's upcoming address to students:
Appearing on the "Glenn Beck Program" with ABC's John Stossel, Cato H.L. Mencken research fellow Penn Jillete discusses his views on health care reform, the nanny state, Canada and more.