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June 12, 2006

Open Marketplace of Ideas

-- by Dave Johnson

A short, simple question: When was the last time you saw someone on television discussing whether we should nationalize the oil companies? You haven't, have you? So take a moment to reflect on why this idea is not even presented for public discussion.

Another short, simple question: When was the last time you saw someone on television discussing why questions like "Should the oil companies be nationalized?" aren't presented to the public? Take a moment to reflect on why this idea is not even presented for public discussion.

In the open "marketplace of ideas" that democracy demands, ALL ideas should be open to discussion. ALL the sides of any debate deserve to be represented. Perhaps the idea of nationalizing the oil companies is nuts. Perhaps not. But shouldn't ideas like this survive or fail on their merits?

In a democracy ideas should have the opportunity to be discussed if a citizen or citizens think they should be. That is not what is happening in America today.

See also, The Grit: Where On Earth Are the Liberal Lunatics on Television?

Posted by Dave Johnson at June 12, 2006 9:08 AM

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I have some questions. Are any crazy liberals even trying to express their views on TV? Do they even try? Who are these crazy liberals, anyway? Of course I wouldn't have heard of them if there's a blanket blackout, but I'm not so sure anyone's even trying to gain access and being denied the privilege. I'm not certain that the crazed news commentators wouldn't just love to have the crazed liberals and crazed right wingers debating just for entertainment value. In other words, it seems to me that the Democrats are trying to appear sane and sober in contrast to the crazed wingnuts.

I entirely agree with you that in a real democracy, which I doubt we still are, ALL ideas would be discussed openly. One reason I have doubts about us being a democracy any more is because the so-called "news" seems to be devoted to propaganda, fear mongering, and demonizing the "enemy," whatever's being considered the "enemy" at the moment. To change this and get back to any kind of mature debate about anything, we're going to have to change some laws.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 12, 2006 12:11 PM


The reason that we never have the discussion topic of nationalizing the oil industry is the same reason we never give much discussion to agriculture subsidies, nationalized healthcare, etc. Because those industries (Oil Industry, ADM, ConAgra, insurance and pharmaceudicals) all sponsor the public affairs TV shows, buy ads in print media AND fund most political campaigns. Not to mention, each industry employs lots and lots of potential voters.

If our corporate masters don't want it talked about, it just isn't in the comercial media. Of course we can talk about it on the Internet. Maybe we should start. My guess is that if we do, they'll start buying up blogads at huge premiums to try and buy some silence in this medium.

I couldn't help notice a terribly annoying comercial that was running during every comercial break on CNN this morning. It was of regular people on the street asking real questions to industry about the future of the oil and energy problems we're facing. It ended with something like "you've got questions, we've got answers." But that's just it, the comercial had no answers, just questions that don't ever get discussed much. It was of course sponsored by America's oil and energy industries.

Posted by: Randy Holm [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 13, 2006 3:29 PM

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