Friday, November 14, 2008

The News Media & The Fairness Doctrine

After months of my stating that the majority of the news media is very liberal (and the arguments that ensued), their bias has once more been made clear here in an article titled "MSNBC retracts false Palin story; others duped." The title speaks for itself.

In October, (a highly respected source) reported:

[This] study found that in the media overall—a sample of 43 outlets studied in the six weeks following the conventions through the last debate—Barack Obama’s coverage was somewhat more positive than negative (36% vs. 29%), while John McCain’s, in contrast, was substantially negative (57% vs. 14% positive). The report concluded that this, in significant part, reflected and magnified the horse race and direction of the polls.
Another story here also gave us the breakdown of the various news channels, and their particular type of bias. Interestingly, it says:

Online, meanwhile, polling tended to drive the news. And on the front pages of newspapers, which often have the day-after story, things look tougher for John McCain than they tend to in the media overall.

And finally and most importantly, did this story on the percentage of stories devoted to each candidate. Needless to say, Obama was heavily covered and portrayed in a positive light. A graph near the end of the story displays the obvious disparity, using these hard numbers.

This begs the question: Why is the Fairness Doctrine even being bandied about? And if it's passed once more, will the government be forced to add conservative talk shows in response?


Anonymous said...

I was wondering about this the other day. We had student elections on campus and 2 were left off the front page of the paper. Subsequently, both lost their race soundly.

The media is biased.

I'm waiting for you to post Obama staffers and their connection to the Clinton admin so I can say, "Ya, real change," with as much dripping sarcasm as possible.


Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Still losing with dignity I see?

Let me suggest this, first off, the polls were accurate, not bias, so we can clear that up now, amazingly accurate in fact.

Whenever any side loses, it blames the media, I would argue that the media 'back' whomever is the likely winner, people like being on the winning side and during the 8 years of Bush the media were quite firmly (at least during the 1st term) pro-Bush.

However, the Bush legacy has soured the chances of McCain and the odd lady he diecided to run with of winning, add Obama who with policies and persona to match was always a tough foe, you had a likely Obama victory.

Hence the media backed what they thought the winner was going to be, for goodness sake even The Economist and Anchorage Daily News backed Obama, he caught a wave of something amazing and rode it to victory.

Cast your mind back to Bush's double whammy and the media anti-Bush voices were few and far between. No one likes to back a loser.

Instead of crying media bias, why not look at perhaps why Obama won, rather than passing the blame off elsewhere?

And to be clear, Obama won becuase he was Obama, not becuase the media wanted him to.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Daniel, Obama won because the media wanted him to, plain and simple. And, I've been repeatedly crying out against the dumbing down of American and you and others have roundly agreed with me. So, if Americans are, in general, as manipulatable as we've said they are, it's a no brainer as to how Obama's won.

As for losing with dignity, *I* didn't lose, and as I repeatedly made it very clear to everyone, I didn't like either candidate. I just felt McCain was the lesser of two evils.

Knot, Go here.

Scott said...

Not for nothing, but do you believe in any way that the larger number of positive stories for Obama were in fact because he ran a better campaign and gave the media less place to go for negative stories?

And for the record, I do agree that Obama got a pretty easy ride from the media (though I think if you polled Fox news it might not have been as smooth a ride.)

Saur♥Kraut said...

Scott, Surprisingly, according to's statistics:

"On Fox News, in contrast, coverage of Obama was more negative than the norm (40% of stories vs. 29% overall) and less positive (25% of stories vs. 36% generally). For McCain, the news channel was somewhat more positive (22% vs. 14% in the press overall) and substantially less negative (40% vs. 57% in the press overall). Yet even here, his negative stories outweighed positive ones by almost 2 to 1."

I think Obama is a masterful politician, I think he ran a smoother and more efficient campaign, and I think that for the most part he was a gentleman.

However, this doesn't mean that there wasn't dirt on Obama. For instance, I did an article on his terrorist and thug connections, which is 100% true, but you didn't see information like that in many places.

And it doesn't mean that McCain was all that horrid, either (although I certainly didn't like him much better). But McCain wasn't as left-leaning as Obama is, and therefore the press identified more w/ Obama. In addition, McCain is geriatric and his body language is very weird.

Uncle Joe said...

Obama won because the media wanted him to.
He was annointed.

Did you know that gas is cheaper now because the Republicans were stealing it?

Story at my blog.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Saur: utter nonsense, did Bush Jnr. win becuase the media wanted him to, did Clinton win because the media wanted him to, did Bush Snr. win because the media wanted him to, did Reagan win becuase the media wanted him to?

I could go on but it is only to highlight the utter madness of what you're saying, which again stems from the fact that you're a sore loser.

Obama won becuase more voters voted for him becuase what he offered was more appealing than the POW/MILF ticket he had the fortune of running against.

It really is that simple.

Obama's smooth ride as you phrase it was down to the fact that his policies were better and he was a less gaff prone and better statesmen. It is the case of the best man winning, hence the sense of joy and hope running through America and the rest of the world.

And you're still trotting out the nonsense about terrorist and thug connections, or which he has none. I read that silly post, not as silly as the polling one or the Rahm one, or the US citizenship one...(notice a theme here) or any other of the ridiculous things you've given blog time to in the mad conspiracy that we are somehow approaching communism.

Uncle Joe: read what I put above. Annointed? Don't tell me, it was the Jews that run media land that did it...oh but I thought Obama hated Jews, it must be that the Jews hate themselves so much that put a Jew-hater in power.


Best man won. Rest of world celebrates in joy at America becoming a decent nation again that we can be proud of.

Fancy joining in?

Saur♥Kraut said...

Uncle Joe, Hysterical story!

Saur♥Kraut said...


As for Obama's connections, they are verified. To deny it is to deny a fact. Are you going to tell me the sky isn't blue, next?

I will not accuse you of deliberately distorting facts and ignoring truth, but I will say that you are falling in line and under the spell of those that do.

I challenge you to think outside the box, as I do. Because, let me again emphasize this for at least the 53rd time, I was never a McCain supporter. I just felt he was the better of two very bad choices.

You may be surprised to hear that most Americans do not particularly worry about what the rest of the world thinks or approves of as long as Americans are happy at home. So although it's delightful for the rest of the world, very few (if any) Americans voted with the rest of the world's preference in mind.

The reasons Americans voted were:

1. The economy, pure and simple. However, it is doubtful that either side can do much there.

2. Because Obama was the sexier choice.

Rest assured: Very few, if any, voted for Obama due to a high cerebral standard or an esoteric world-view.

Anne said...

Very good post and rebuttal comments.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

im commenting via my mobile so will post full rebuttal or your obama lies when ive full internet access. Speaking of rebuttals,youve not dealt with my comment at all,one minute the media choose the president,next its economical factors. I also enjoy your failure to grasp that your posts are as partizan as they come and as politically naive as ive read in a long time. Where has the saur gone who was not embittered by partizan politics? Just because the democrats now dominate youve lost your sense of reason. As such,for every partizan fiction you post,ill challenge it until a decent debate can occur. Peace

The Doozie said...

most americans believe what they read in print, or hear on TV. you might want to dig up some studies on that. Therefore if most americans believe what they read in print or on TV, that would be very simple to assume they can be swayed one way or the other.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Doozie, Exactly. And there are stats out there, but I don't have time to hunt them down. Can you?

Daniel, my friend, I'm sorry but I don't feel the need to keep restating myself. You know my position, and it's silly to think I'm partisan.

I've been very clear for many years that I'm a moderate:

I'm an environmentalist, I believe in socialized medicine, but I'm also anti-abortion (not that it will ever be illegal again so it's a moot point).

I'm anti Big Business but anti Big Government, I'm anti the Patriot Act, and overall I'm closest to being either a Libertarian or a Constitutionalist, but I'm hardly a Republican party loyalist.

In some ways I'm conservative, in some I'm a liberal. Which makes me a form of moderate.

I am criticizing Obama because I've never liked him and wouldn't like him no matter what party he was affiliated with. If McCain had won, I'd be nitpicking him to death, too, although there would be somewhat less to criticize. Maybe.

The Lazy Iguana said...

OK so let me get this right here.

Fox was "duped"??? How? By the way, the Fox polls said the same thing the other polls said - only with closer margins.

Sure there was more media attention to Obama. After all - he was the "unknown" candidate right? We all knew who McCain was. But nobody knew anything about Obama!

So when the media reports more on the candidate that "nobody knows" it was liberal bias.

And because he was not played up as the muslim terrorist in disguise who was not born in the USA and forged a birth certificate that we all know he is - it was also "bias"??

By the way - how many false stories were put forth about Obama? And these false stories ran for a few days - at least on CNN and Fox (I did not watch any MSNBC when that was going on)until it was debunked and retracted by Fox.

More "liberal bias"???

Did this same "liberal bias" media want Bush to win in 2000 and 2004?? If not then how did he win? And if the media did want Bush to win in 2000 and 2004 - how can it have such a clear liberal bias?

Either way, the paradox blows up the myth of a clear bias.

Except for MSNBC. But they do not get very high ratings.

By the way - the "false stories" about Palin were first heard by me from Fox. I forgot the show on Fox that broke it.

Neither does Fox for that matter. Cable channels in general get poor ratings, compared to the network TV prime time dramas. Far more people watch "Dancing With The Stars" than watch all the cable news channels put together.

But ratings aside - how can you say the media had so much to do with it when more people watch football than the news? Was the NFL in on it somehow? Dirty liberal NFL!!

The right has been complaining about the liberal media for a long time. Yet Reagan won. Reagan was also very popular.

Liberal media wanted him to win and be popular??

In 1994, barely two years into the Clinton Administration, Republicans made a massive gain in congress.

Liberal media wanted that too??

The Ken Starr report was ALL OVER the liberal media.

Because they wanted it there?

The republican wins in 94, 96, and 98 were more examples of clear liberal bias?

Really the whole premise is silly. When republicans win it is because Americans were able to see things for how they are. When democrats win it is because the media manipulated things.

The mindless zombies, all doing what the TV says. Yet as long as it is the side that talk radio wants in the zombies are all good Americans. But when they disagree - they are being controlled by some evil and sinister force. THE MEDIA......

By the way - this is another reason why I do not listen to any talk radio, and why I have not voted Republican in some time now. Why vote for the party that thinks I am a mindless drone?

I watch more National Geographic Channel, Science Channel, Spike TV, G4 Network, and Cartoon Network than I watch ANY news channel.

That darn liberal Cartoon Network!!! Got me again!!! When will I learn to just see the light. Maybe if I read the two books Rush has written one more time Ill get it. Unless he has written a third book. I would not know, I stopped listening to talk hour with some sort of sad version of Cookie Monster (O is for Oxy, its good enough for me) years ago.

I have satellite radio, so I have commercial free music. By the way - do yourself a favor and get Sirius XM. They are the same company now so programming is the same. You will not need the AM dial anymore.

If Stevens ends up losing his senate seat, will it be due to the pesky liberal media in Alaska? Alaska?

The fairness doctrine is really aimed at radio. You see - here is what happens.

Back in the day, when there were limits on how many stations anyone could own - there were very few national syndicated shows, more regionally syndicated shows, and mostly local shows.

Enter deregulation. Now it is OK for one company to own all the stations.

So companies like Clear Channel (who probably own FAR MORE stations in your market than you think they do) buy up as much as they can on the AM dial. Then, to save money, they fire all the local radio people. Then they program the stations with only national shows.

They also "stack" shows - meaning that in many markets Rush competes with Rush for the same time slot.

Why do this? It is a cheaper way of doing business. You only need one sales team. You only need one station engineer. And so on.

A lot of radio stations are empty boxes now. One feed that goes to multiple transmission sites.

Oh yea - Clear Channel also owns a lot of billboards. Ever wonder why you see so many billboards for right wing radio shows? Because Clear Channel owns the radio station syndicating the show - and the billboard. So instead of "call 1-800-2RENT-ME" on vacant billboards, they just put up an ad for a show on one of their radio stations.

Don't believe me? Try this. Contact Clear Channel and say you want to rent a billboard you see with a right wing radio show advertised on it now. Ask when the billboard is available.

The answer will be "right now".

The fairness doctrine is a piss poor attempt to break this trend up. If Clear Channel had to syndicate more than one kind of programming, it would make the market more ratings driven again. It may even bring back some local flavor, which used to be all over the AM and FM dial but is long gone now. Except for very small markets.

I do not think such a thing will ever pass however. It might - but it would be difficult to enforce. More than likely, the way it would work would be for "stacked" stations to divest and really compete. Then ratings could drive the market. Shows with higher ratings would remain, shows with lower ratings would fail.

I suspect that TV networks would continue to operate as is. The news is news - and really has no bias. For example, the economy is either doing well or its not doing well. If it is going great nothing "the media" says can change that. Stocks are NOT valued by what is said on TV. And retail sales are NOT way down just because the liberal America hating capitalism hating media is telling people they are out of money. People know they are out of money.

The opinion shows all like to bring on their own people to "balance" things. For example, MSNBC gives a lot of air time to Pat Buchanan.

Now the question of is Pat Buchanan is really the best choice to present the "conservative view" or not remains. He is after all just one person. But whatever.

More people watch American Idol anyway.

I no longer care about the commercial radio dial. It will continue to suck. So really I do not care about the fairness doctrine either. At this point it is a whole lot of nothing. It will only give right wing talk radio shows one more thing to bitch about. But it can not really change the business models. Radio stations will still be cookie cutter clones - with no difference in a Tampa station and a Seattle station. Same music, same hosts, same personalities, same sound, same flavor, same same same.

Remember when you knew you were in another city just by turning on the radio and saying "I have never heard this song before!"??

If Clear Channel was world wide, you would not be able to tell an American radio station from BBC Radio 1 from a station in France.

The Lazy Iguana said...

"As for Obama's connections, they are verified. To deny it is to deny a fact. Are you going to tell me the sky isn't blue, next"

The sky is not always blue. Sometimes it is gray. Sometimes it is black. Sometimes it is orange. Sometimes it is red.

It all depends on where you are on the planet, if you are above or below the clouds, what angle the sun happens to be at, and if there is massive light pollution reflecting street lights off low clouds.

What if I were to dig up your past, and investigate everyone you used to work with? And what if I turned up a sex offender?

Paling around with sex offenders now are we??!?!?

No - of course not. That would be silly.

OR WOULD IT?!?!?!?

By the way - research this little gem left out by the vast liberal media.


The Annenbergs - big time wealthy RNC contributors gave a whole lot of money to the group that Obama and Ayers were board members of.

The same Annenbergs also gave money to McCain.

To deny this is to deny fact!

So....therefore....McCain takes money from people who also give money to known terrorists???

It is fact after all.

Shame on the Annenbergs for not "vetting" who they give money to!! And shame on the RNC for taking money from some rich old lady who also gives money to people like Ayers!!!!

Of course there are many reasons why this "fact" is silly. Which is why the "liberal media" never really mentioned it.

By the way, McCain has known ties to eugenics groups. Google that one too.

Nothing about that. And you know why? McCain was never actually in these groups. He was never running around advocating eugenics. Just like Obama was NEVER a weatherman. He never even studied meteorology in school. He just worked with someone who had a past that included some things. And McCain worked with people who were into some questionable things in their past too.

So - none of that mattered. It had no bearing on today.

So no, the sky is not always blue. Don't believe me? Go outside when it is raining. Go out at night. Go out when the sun is setting on a cloudy day.

What color is the sky then? Now are you going to try to tell me gray is really blue?

Jungle Mom said...

Ignorant people voted for Obama thinking that he will fill their tanks and pay their mortgages and give them free college education as well as health care! On this economy?

michelle said...
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michelle said...
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Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Doozie: sorry I don't buy that for the points I've made. Was it just this election that the public were swayed or all of them (like the one's when a Republican won?). It just smacks of lowest common denominator and being a sore loser.

You do know this looks like blame the media for Democrats winning, rather than blaming the sorry state of the Republican party and the terrible mess it got the US in? How about that as the reaosn Obama won and the Democrats had gains in both houses.

Good grief, the man's not even in power yet so perhaps hold back on the rage until he's had some time in charge.

Saur: understand what you're saying but the liens of your arguement are not moderate, they seem very, very partizan whether you like it or not. I've read your moderate work (which is everything you've ever typed until Obama got close to power) and that was balanced and fair to all comers. This just does not seem to be the case here but obviously, you know yourself better than anyone else.

Lazy Iguana: great stuff here, an articulate version of what I've been postulating.

Jungle Mom: 65.5 million Americans thought that did they? utter rubbish. Just as the 57.6 million that voted for McCain didn't all think that Obama was a Muslim terrorist, although after reading some of the crap being posted I'm starting to doubt that.

Michelle: evidence the accusation that he lied, we've dealt with this before, no lies I'm afraid. And you are joking about the gun buying aren't you?

michelle said...
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michelle said...
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Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Michelle: you said Obama didn't stop them? Which is odd because surely you'd blame Bush becuase he didn't stop them and he's still in power.

And I'm sorry but you seem to be blaming Obama for what some people (and I see no evidence for this so please link to some for me) may or may not think about what he's going to do. Which is, I'm sure you'll agree, is tenuous indeed?

Ellen said...

That's funny, I saw plenty of evidence of the conservative movement against Obama. Think: Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Fox News, Michelle Bachman, Michelle Malkin, Sarah Palin rallys, John McCain rallys..... where much was brought up about Obamas character and experience, and less about the real issues plaguing us. Perhaps the percentages didn't amount to much on the side of "positive" McCain, but let's face it, even conservative long-time Republicans jumped ship after watching the campaign unfold. Think: Christopher Buckley, Colin Powell, Peggy Noonan.... and there are more, but I can't think of them all right now.

It is what it is at this point, and Obama won fair and square, with no hanging chads to recount, and a map that shows more blue than red with the flipping of states. He had a better ground game, and his team worked like a well run machine. How is that a bad thing? Isn't that part and parcel of what we want for the highest office in our land?

Let's let Obama get into office first before we guess what type of President he will be. We (as in most people who voted for him) already know this is going to be a tough assignment as he relieves Bush and has to tackle the biggest in-box in the world. He has already conceeded that he may not be able to do all the things he wanted to do... and you would know this if you watched his acceptance speech on Nov 4th. (Heck, I already knew this before the election results were in, but it didn't stop me from voting in the man with a steadier hand.... which I think he has.)

Regardless, he did say that he needed OUR help, and for US to use the better nature of ourselves to dig our country out of the mess we are in.... so no, I never believed he promised to fill our tanks or pay our mortgages. I believe that was a McCain talking point.

Daniel~ Bravo! I agree with everything you said... except the part about Michelle shooting her foot.

Iguana & Scott~ Great points as well.

Jungle Mom said...

Obama did not have to say it. That is why I referred to them as 'ignorant'. They chose to beleive it, and believe it they did. Obama now is already trying to lower their expectations.

michelle said...
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The Lazy Iguana said...

A lot believe.

Thanks for clearing that up!

But the question was - WHO said this??

Which TV shows??

Which radio shows???

People standing in lines? What lines? I live in a blue County, and not once did I hear anyone saying anything political while standing in line at the store. Not once.

"A lot of people" answers these questions just fine.

I have to call bullshit on this. The only place I have heard anyone say "Obama said he was going to pay for gas" was right here - in the comments on this blog. So two or three people tops. That is it.

I do not know for a fact, but I assume these three people did not vote for Obama.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Ok, everyone: I was out of town on business starting Friday, so I just returned to this fracas.

As I said before, I insist on all playing nice. Saying extraordinarily nasty things (such as "you are clearly mentally ill" and "I hope your stupid gun goes off in your hand and you lose a toe") is not tolerated.

I enjoy you all, but if you can't simply deal with facts, then your comments will be banned.

And yes, facts are irrefutable. If you want to argue, counter them with facts, not silliness (which a couple people are currently doing).

Argue with facts, fight with facts. You're BETTER than this!

I will not point fingers, you know who you are, and your comments will be removed until you play nice again.

The Lazy Iguana said...

So a comment about "ignorant Obama voters" gets to stay, but another comment challenging it is deleted.

So let me rephrase things.

Obama never said he was going to give away free gas or give away free houses.

None of the media Obama supporters claimed this either.

Nobody I know who voted for Obama thought this was the case.

Anyone who thinks that Obama DID claim he would give away free gas IS ignorant. Anyone who thinks all Obama supporters expect free gas IS ignorant.

None of these claims were ever made, and no reasonable person would expect such a thing to happen.

Is that better :)

Saur said...

Lazy, my dear, it was your comment actually labelling someone as an idiot that was deleted. Your rephraseology is delightful, and I thank you for it from the bottom of my heart. ;o)

This is the idiot everyone is referring to.

The Lazy Iguana said...

Ill stick to my statement.

People did not vote for Obama thinking that he would pay for their gas and house.

This was another edited soundbite. I will not have to worry about paying for gas COULD mean "I think that my job will be more secure" or even "I think that the economy will recover and I will make more money".

Also - people get all swept up in moments. Stick a camera on them and no telling what they will say.

Shall I go dig up videos on You Tube of republican supporters saying wacky things then try to claim everyone thinks the same way?

No - I will not do that. For that WOULD be ignorant.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Lazy, The truth is that there is plenty of ignorance to go around on both sides. And you can call anyone an idiot who isn't a 'guest' in here. No doubt there are plenty. But I would like to keep us from directly attacking each other because it gets in the way of truth and valuable arguments.

After all, there is no doubt in my mind that both you and Daniel have valuable contributions you've made and can make. And it would be horrifically boring if everyone agreed with each other.

I think people voted for Obama because he was the sexier choice, plain and simple. Most people had no knowlege of his platform or beliefs.

Note that doesn't make him entirely wrong, and I've never said it did. He has some good points: He will probably end the war sooner, he will probably provide our country with a much needed alternative(s) to our horrid healthcare system. This is where I disagree with my good friend, Michelle, incidentally. And Michelle knows what she's speaking of, because she works in the hospitals themselves.

However, I think it's too early to say socialized medicine won't work until we know what system they may be able to provide. I do believe it works elsewhere and is a better alternative to what we have now.

michelle said...

That's ok if you disagree with me. I'd love to be proven wrong on this one, especially after today. The full moon sure brought the people in last week and they kept coming and coming and coming.

Now if you could figure out how to get these people help me to help them, well I will vote for you!

Oh and as far as the news media and fairness doctrine. I agree with you.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Michelle, Years ago, when I was a retail manager, it never failed: The full moon brought out the weirdos. I know the hospitals are always booming at that time, too.

I've always wondered: Is it the power of suggestion? After all, the moon exerts little influence on our bodies,or so the scientists tell us. And yet, I can't quite believe that there are THAT many suggestible people. In fact, I understand labor and delivery goes up at that time, and I can't think that every mom ready to deliver even KNOWS there's a full moon out there (they're a little distracted!)

As for health care, I know what you mean. I'd love to be right, too. I know what a mess they've made of the V.A. in the past, but I also know they're working to improve that (and apparently have). And this would be bigger, thus given to more public scrutiny.

I hope.

Bee Repartee said...

Have you ever heard a news story in which you personaly knew about the incident and the reporter *didn't* bollocks something up?

News media is biased and was in this election. if a newspaper endorses any candidate. Is that not bias? The Oregonian was horrible toward anyone running against Obama. Ironically, one of the founding editors of the paper pushed Republican agenda and looked down an his sister's work. His sis being Abigail Scott Duniway who was prominent in the women's suffrage movement.

Last time, the Dems blamed illegal elections and the religious right for Pres Bush's win but had that not been the obvious, the media would have been blamed because, yes! Its biased.

And I agree w/Knot..real change means a rerun of the Clinton admin? I know why a large number of people voted for Obama. Reverse prejudice is the new black. Just ask Poperah and Jesse Jackson.

Three Score and Ten or more said...

As an ancient broadcaster who worked under the fairness doctrine, it applies only to broadcasts that go over the airways (the airways being the property of the people). It doesn't set up broadcast outlets, the way it works is that when someone (or some group) contacts the government to protest a broadcast approach, the FCC contacts the broadcaster and insists that HE (the broadcaster) arrange to have an opposing point of view broadcast. (at which point the broadcaster cancels the program)

It has no effect on print media or cable at all since they don't use the "public airways" and freedom of the press is a constitutional absolute. I predict that the conservative talk shows (non cable radio) will figure out a way to go onto channels like Sirius, which are satellite fed and the courts have already ruled that the FCC can't do anything about them)

Of course congress will rant, and the FCC will try to do something, but liberal voices have already supported the cases that took the satellites out of the hands of the FCC.