It's worth noting that Senate Democrats on the Commerce Committee did something very similar in 1967, sending a letter to every radio station in the country asking which of them aired "Radical Right" broadcasters and notifying them of upcoming hearings on the Fairness Doctrine.
Indeed, the letter was so successful at intimidating stations into dropping right-wing programs, that the point man on the effort, Bob Lowe, told an ally that "The Senate simply was losing interest in the issue" since the broadcasters "were not gaining ground."
This cleared the way for the next item on the agenda, which was to create a nationalized, public radio network to counter-balance conservative broadcasters.
Which is how we ended up with Sen. John Pastore--who was a player in the effort to mute right-wing broadcasters earlier in the decade--holding the famous hearings with Fred Rogers less than two years later in the summer of '69.
It's not impossible to imagine something similar playing out today. A series of targeted hearings by Congress + informal jawboning by regulators convince online platforms to play ball and crack down on the offending accounts.
And while I wouldn't rate the prospects of various nationalized public square proposals as likely to pass muster, it certainly hasn't stopped folks from calling for it both here and abroad.…
If you're interested in the subject, I talk about Senate Democrats and Bob Lowe in my book (though the Pastore / public radio material has to wait for a follow-up title).…
If you're a *real* history nerd, here's the report that Lowe produced for Commerce (note Pastore's presence as well as Magnuson, who kept a hand in the censorship effect via mentee Nicholas Zapple. (For whom the Zapple Doctrine is named.)…

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Paul Matzko

Paul Matzko Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @PMatzko

20 Feb
Having spent 2020 telling covid denalists that they were overly optimistic about the pandemic, I now look forward to spending 2021 telling covid maximalists that they are overly pessimistic about the end of the pandemic.
Telling a denialist in May that we shouldn't open bars back up = telling a maximalist in February that we should open schools back up.
Look, folks, the math is straightforward. ~13% of Americans have been vaccinated as of this week.…
Read 11 tweets
13 Feb
The New York Times article about SlateStarCodex is finally out and it is...bad. There's a lot I could parse, but let me just walk you through one paragraph that is so misleading as to be deceptive.…
Take the first sentence of this paragraph. Now, technically the clause--"who proposed a link between race and IQ"--could simply modify "Murray" and have nothing to do w/ SSC.
But 99% of readers are going to assume that the clause actually defines SSC's alignment with Murray. In other words, the author is strongly implying that SSC shares Murray's racist beliefs.
Read 12 tweets
9 Feb
If you think Marjorie Taylor Greene is an unprecedentedly conspiratorial, bigoted nut job, well, then let me introduce you to Republican Congressman James B. Utt, who represented Southern California back when the state was a reliably Republican state in the 50s & 60s.
Utt was a John Birch Society ally. The JBS was somewhat analogous to QAnon, heightening every political disagreement into a sinister conspiracy.

He was also a Republican racist at a time when that was still somewhat novel, blending racism & conspiracism in a now familiar combo.
Take how Utt responded to civil rights protests in Savannah, Georgia in the summer of '63. Civil rights activists were winning concessions in the city that year, w/ MLK even calling it "the most desegregated city south of the Mason-Dixon line."…
Read 23 tweets
27 Jan
Folks think futzing with Section 230 will be some kind of quick fix for the toxicity and craziness in our politics. But the causes of our national illness are far deeper than the internet platforms that host their content. Shooting the messengers won't solve that.
We should know this, right? I mean, we had a national experiment with this approach during the First Red Scare. The government harassed socialist newspapers, jailed activists, and tried their best to shut them up.
And it didn't work. The persecution only fueled a resurgence of left-wing radicalism leading to the Popular Front era of the 1930s.
Read 5 tweets
26 Jan
It's another example of a classic (and doomed) effort to deploy illiberal methods in order to protect liberalism.

But let me focus on the problems in just one paragraph of @emilybazelon's article.
It's rooted in what is--to be fair--the received understanding of broadcast regulation, a hazy idea of a past, golden era of equity, reasonability, and freedom in broadcasting.
But the government actions that are waved at by the author were actually responsible for major episodes of government censorship and the repression of political dissent, which affected people from across the political spectrum.
Read 13 tweets
25 Jan
I wrote a book about the Fairness Doctrine and how it was responsible for one of the worst episodes of government censorship in US history.

So I am somewhat alarmed at the calls percolating on Twitter for a new, internet Fairness Doctrine. This is a thread about why that is.
Let's start with what most people think when they hear "Fairness Doctrine." They imagine a time at an indeterminate point in the past when mass media was reasonable, balanced, equitable, and fair. It was a veritable golden age of mass media and the Fairness Doctrine was to thank.
Back then, radio & tv stations couldn't just air their opinions, spreading unchecked misinformation. No, they had to let the other side of any given issue have a say, giving the good guys a chance to check the bad guys when they told bald lies.
Read 70 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!