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Monday, June 11, 2007

The Fairness Doctrine-Nothing fair about it

Currently, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is leading a move by Democrats in Congress to bring back the so-called "Fairness Doctrine", that would, if enacted, require radio broadcasters to provide equal time to opposing points of view from those put out by the broadcasters. This doctrine dates back to the 1940s when the FCC (Federal Communications Commision) attempted to regulate the discussion on radio of controversial issues. In 1987, Congress voted to put the doctrine into law, only to be vetoed by President Reagan, who felt that government should not be in the business of regulating speech. Now, with the Democrats in control of Congress, there is an attempt to reinstitute the doctrine. Its name notwithstanding, the "Fairness Doctrine" has nothing to do with fairness.

Aside from arguments as to the evolution of broadcasting since the 1940s and the question of whether government agencies should enforce speech on the airwaves (They shouldn't), it seems to me to be very transparent what is happening here. In short, liberals are attempting to emasculate the one true form of media (with the possible exception of Fox News) that is clearly dominated by conservatives. Notice that there is no parallel effort to ensure "fairness" in the printed media (dominated by the left) nor the major TV news networks (ABC, NBC, and CBS) again dominated by the left. How about the propaganda put out by Hollywood- any need for balance there? Not according to Kucinich et al. No, what needs to be controlled are the folks like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other sucessful conservatives who have a large listenership and are having a large impact on public opinion. For example, left-wing blogger, Steve Rendall of CommonDreams.org, specifically states in his blog of February 12, 2005 (The Fairness Doctrine-How We Lost it, and Why We Need it Back) that talk radio is dominated by conservatives and states, "It's an imbalance that begs for a remedy."

What is conveniently ignored here by liberals is that talk radio is also open to liberals. The problem is that their shows have failed. Need I mention Mario Cuomo, Phil Donahue and Air America? They have all had their shot and failed because no one was listening. Ratings were low, and you know what follows low ratings. (Cuomo and Donahue are gone, and Air America has gone bankrupt.)

We conservatives believe in the free exchange of ideas in the marketplace. We have no desire to suppress liberal radio shows. Criticize and refute them sure, but never suppress their voices. If the liberals can find someone to effectively compete with Limbaugh, put them on. The problem is that they can't. So now, through the Fairness Doctrine, they are trying to destroy the one major outlet for conservative thought. Just imagine- "Limbaugh and Colmes"!

The best thing for government to do is just butt out of trying to regulate political debate.

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