Is Jay Rockefeller As Dumb As He Sounds?

November 22, 2010

I mean this as a serious question. Did Jay Rockefeller mean what he said last week, or was he simply engaging in silly demagoguery? Or perhaps was he shilling for one of his family foundation’s favorite beneficiaries by attacking its competitors?

You decide:

I cannot believe the arrogance of this Senator, who was born with about the largest silver spoon in his mouth one can imagine, granting himself the power to decide what news channels citizens should or should not watch. Fox News and MSNBC  are private companies entitled to First Amendment protections. Nobody is forcing people to subscribe to these channels. Not only that, but Fox News and MSNBC aren’t even broadcast over the airwaves, so what makes him think the government can censor them? A more legitimate question is why Public Television is permitted to present news. I’m more worried about a government-run and funded corporation giving the government-run version of “facts” than two cable news channels seeking high ratings. In fairness, though, I should point out that public broadcasting is supported by private donors also, like The Rockefeller Foundation.  In case Mr. Rockefeller hasn’t noticed, citizens are fully capable of deciding for themselves what to watch and what not to watch. For proof, he should check MSNBC’s latest Nielsen numbers.

This is really an attack on Fox News. He threw MSNBC in to appear bi-partisan, but no one watches that channel anyway. If he wants to hear his party’s point of view more often, he should just tune in his local NPR affiliate.

I wish Jay Rockefeller would read an account of the trial of John Peter Zenger again. I’m sure he must have heard of it at some point during his fancy private school education. This case, which pre-dates the birth of our nation, is still considered a landmark decision. It stands for one of the fundamentals principles of our nation: freedom of the press. I also wish he’d check his references a little more carefully. His “old adage” was a Bruce Springsteen song-57 Channels(And Nothin’ On). He got it wrong, like just about everything else in his unscripted rant.

The First Amendment protects speech of all kinds, which is why even blowhards like Rockefeller have the right to spout their opinions. We can still choose not to listen, at least until the day that clowns like him are taken seriously.

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