Tuesday, May 01, 2007

2008 & The "Fairness Doctrine"

Below is an excerpt from a great MSNBC article by George Will:

"...Some illiberal liberals are trying to restore the luridly misnamed Fairness Doctrine, which until 1987 required broadcasters to devote a reasonable amount of time to presenting fairly each side of a controversial issue. The government was empowered to decide how many sides there were, how much time was reasonable and what was fair.

By trying to again empower the government to regulate broadcasting, illiberals reveal their lack of confidence in their ability to compete in the marketplace of ideas, and their disdain for consumer sovereignty—and hence for the public.

The illiberals' transparent, and often proclaimed, objective is to silence talk radio. Liberals strenuously and unsuccessfully attempted to compete in that medium—witness the anemia of their Air America. Talk radio barely existed in 1980, when there were fewer than 100 talk shows nationwide. The Fairness Doctrine was scrapped in 1987, and today more than 1,400 stations are entirely devoted to talk formats. Conservatives dominate talk radio—although no more thoroughly than liberals dominate Hollywood, academia and much of the mainstream media..." (Read the entire article)

Under FCC Chairman Mark S. Fowler the FCC began to repeal parts of the Fairness Doctrine, announcing in 1985 that the doctrine hurt the public interest and violated the First Amendment.

As of early 2007, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), along with Representatives Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), and Louise Slaughter (D-NY) have announced their support of legislation which would reverse the 1987 FCC decision and restore the Fairness Doctrine." (source)

President Bush would veto any legislation, but that's not the point...the point is why would anyone want it to begin with...?

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