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The “Fairness” Doctrine

6 November 2008

It should be plain enough by now that the only plausible reason for pushing to reinstitute the so-called “Fairness Doctrine” would be to silence political dissent.  

Evidence?  Despite an unrelenting onslaught by Limbaugh, Levin, Hannity, Medved, Beck, and others, Obama was able to capture the imaginations of 52.x% of American voters.  He had no problem getting his message out and overcoming wave after wave of criticisms, some meritorious, some not.  And the election was a landslide by any conceivable measure.

Clearly the renewed interest in the “Fairness Doctrine” is not about fairness at all; it is about making political talk radio so unprofitable that it is simply abandoned, eliminating the single most potent and successful free-speech medium in the conservative arena.  Bingaman, Pelosi, Schumer, and Durbin want it out of there because it is the only major obstacle in their path to political hegemony for the next several decades.

If Obama is truly what he claims to be – a noble victor who will observe his vow to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, both foreign and domestic” – he will veto any effort to distort the market for political ideas with the “Fairness Doctrine.”  We shall see.

As for defenders of conservative talk radio, this issue must be addressed on First Amendment grounds, not on an equal application of the “Fairness Doctrine” to the other mainstream media outlets.  MSNBC must be allowed to continue to be what it is; same with CNN and Fox News.  The market for political ideas must be allowed to decide what it wants on the basis of free speech, not some squishy (and leftist-government-defined) notion of “equity.”  That has been the case since Reagan, and behold!  We have a near-Marxist on his way to the White House.  QED.

qb

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. 6 November 2008 4:04 pm

    Interesting how the left fears free speech. President Reagan had no such fears when he abolished the Fairness Doctrine …

  2. queueball permalink*
    6 November 2008 7:31 pm

    Incredible, isn’t it, David? But perhaps qb gives the left too MUCH credit in saying that it’s hard to believe. It may very well be that the left’s identity is primarily found in its ruthlessness rather than its sense of fair play.

    Thanks for stopping in.

    qb

  3. Bryan Reeves permalink
    9 November 2008 10:28 pm

    Since Sir Ronald did away with the Fairness Doctrine much has changed with the electronic media. Two things make the old FD toothless. 1) The multiplication of availablel channels. I can drive in my car and listen to signals from satellites. When local signals expand into high-definition, that will also increase the number of outlets.
    2) The intrusion of the internet and with it almost every TV and radio station licensed within the US.
    Outside of the top major markets, most stations now are dominated by syndicated formats, and have abandoned the requisite local community involvement. While the FCC overlooks this, it is the strength of market forces that have necessitated this change.
    Those who desire to return to the FD need to heed the credo of getting what they wish for. A rather convincing argument could be made that most major media outlets would owe the conservative movement equal airtime based upon the bias of their storytelling. How many TV stations would be willing to give up their hour of Oprah-produced ratings because she refused to adhere to the FD in her love-fest with Obama?
    Look for a FD to be prohibitive in nature, rather than prescriptive. The FCC doesn’t act now (witness the “refund” of the fine imposed upon CBS and Janet Jackson). Thus, a new FD will essentially be an attack upon our freedom of speech.

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