A Look at the Fairness Doctrine

With the recent shooting of Representative Gabrielle Gifford in Arizona by Jared Loughner, talk of the Fairness Doctrine has begun again.  Somebody must have this policy on the backburner to whip out to their political advantage during times like these.

The Fairness Doctrine was implemented in 1949.  It was a policy that was intended to insure that broadcasts on important public matters would be balanced, honest, and equitable.  It was repealed in 1987 under the urging of Ronald Reagan.  

The Fairness Doctrine is dangerous.  This comes from a guy who thinks that Rush Limbaugh is one of the most illogical people on the radio and would not mind if he was off the air, so I am not arguing on behalf of right-wing talk radio hosts.  I am arguing on behalf of freedom of speech, which seems to be under a constant barrage of attacks right with this push and the recent push to silence Wikileaks.

A survey in 2008 showed that 47% of Americans are in favor of a fairness doctrine on the radio and on television. I am sure this number has grown in light of the recent shooting in Arizona that is being spun in an attempt to push the fairness doctrine.  The last thing I want is for the government to force constraints on commentators because the inevitable conclusion-not just some slippery slope argument but a practical implementation of the Fairness Doctrine-is that some department in the government must decided what balance and fairness looks like.  After this is decided, the press will then have to do what the government decides is fair.  I find it hard to believe that legislation like this is even being debated in America. Nothing good could come of it, yet 47% of Americans think it is a good idea.

What the Fairness Doctrine would mean is that we would have to hear both the Republican and Democratic side of every issue. How convenient for the establishment. If every show would have to be like one of those cable news shows with the Republican talking point puppet on one side and the Democratic talking point puppet on the other, it would prevent any third view from entering the public forum. The two parties have created a tough enough system for a third party to crack, but the Fairness Doctrine would insure that the political debate would always be dictated by the two parties.

Michael Savage fought against the United States government allowing a Dubai company to manage the American ports. Under the fairness doctrine, would his view have been allowed on the air?  It was against both the Republican and Democratic position on the issue?

Although the two parties would like to present it as such, every issue does not nicely fit in with the Republican or Democratic bipolar political talking points. Some issues have three, four...fifty different viewpoints. It should not be up to the government to decide if a viewpoint is adequately represented on the air.  That is for the consumer to decide.

What would this mean to the internet? Would I have to find some fellow American to write opposing viewpoints to every political post I make? Would they silence me if I did not want to participate in their silly games?

Welcome to America, the home where they make us think we are free. We seem to be having a lot more in common with the "free" people in China.