WALLACE: So would you revive the fairness doctrine?
FEINSTEIN: Well, I’m looking at it, as a matter of fact, Chris, because I think there ought to be an opportunity to present the other side. And unfortunately, talk radio is overwhelmingly one way.
When I saw that TP headline last week, I was more than a little dubious. After all, Dennis Kucinich is an outspoken fan of the dead regulation, as are certain quarters of the leftosphere. But little did I expect that this absurd claim would be proved “false” (a favorite word of TP and Media Matters) by such a prominent Democrat, not to mention one known primarily as a moderate.
What’s interesting about all this is that in both cases, prominent representatives of the liberal netroots strenuously denied something that was not only true but arguably even helpful to their side, simply because a political adversary had stated it. In both cases they went overboard, creating more negative press for themselves than if they’d just left it alone.
Think Progress would certainly be right if they merely argued that conservative bloggers talk about the fairness doctrine coming back more than progressive bloggers, but arguing that “progressives” have no interest in using the doctrine as a weapon against right-wing talk radio just won’t fly. And as James Joyner asked at the time, what part of the Democrats’ Senate leader calling a Bush appointee “incompetent” did they not like?
The key difference is that Think Progress tried to maintain a position that most observers knew was not true, then dropped the subject. Bresnahan’s critics, on the other hand, defended a point most probably didn’t know for sure and then, unwilling to end on a retraction, changed the terms of debate instead.
I don’t have a full case to make about what it all means, but it is interesting that here in the span of two weeks we have two examples of the left’s own noise machine being unsure of exactly what sound to make.
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