Fairness is Not Dead
"The Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly approved an amendment banning reinstatement of the so-called "Fairness Doctrine" that would threaten conservative talk radio.
Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina attached the amendment, called the Broadcaster Freedom Act, to a bill giving the District of Columbia a voting representative in the House. It passed by a wide margin of 87-to-11"
"Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois also won approval for an alternate amendment ordering the Federal Communications Commission to encourage radio ownership "diversity." It passed by a vote of 57 to 41."
What's worse is that these amendments aren't part of a Bill about the FCC, or use of radio waves, or some other media or broadcasting related bill. It's part of Bill dealing with giving Washington D.C. representation in congress.
So is the Fairness Doctrine really dead, or was it merely re-named?
From the Free Press Fairness Doctrine debate a "distraction" By Julian Sanchez 25 Feb. 2009:
"The new paper rejects the idea of a "political conspiracy" behind the renewed push for localism, noting that no censorship is involved because "no 'balance' of competing views is necessary, just attention to local concerns by the broadcaster licensed to use the local public airwaves to act as a public trustee of the community." But the 2007 paper argued that conservative programming was disproportionately prominent precisely because "the removal of ownership limits created artificial economies of scale for syndicated programming (dominated by conservative talk)" and because the erosion of "policies fostering local responsiveness" had facilitated a "move toward lowest common denominator syndicated programming." (Exactly what makes these economies of scale "artificial" is unclear.)"
"In his book "The Good Guys, The Bad Guys, and the First Amendment," former CBS president Fred Friendly quoted Bill Ruder, an assistant secretary of commerce under President Johnson: "Our massive strategy was to use the Fairness Doctrine to challenge and harass right-wing broadcasters and hope that the challenges would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue." President Richard Nixon also instructed his staff to use the doctrine as a whip against those attacking his Vietnam policies." - Politics and the Fairness Doctrine by Robert Zelnick 7 Mar 2009
Clearly there are those who wish to see more "Fairness" in the media; however, I've found the notion of how fair our radio waves, TV broadcasts and print media are, to be more an issue of opinion and biase rather then fact. After all, the whole notion of Conservative vs. Liberal, Left vs. Right, or something in between tends to change based on an overall consensus.
All my conservative friends are always complaining about how liberal the media is. All of my Liberal friends are always complaining about how conservative the media is. So which is it? Do we really want to the government passing legislation, holding congressional hearing, and threatening the operators license of our favorite radio station because they failed to mention someone else's obscure point of view on one particular topic?
Certainly that wouldn't happen would it? Well it actually already has happened, when the Fairness Doctrine what enforced by the FCC back in the 50's and 60's. During that same time McCarthyism was also used to destroy many otherwise innocent people's lives. Do we really want that happening again? Thanks to Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, we just might.
- Posted by Spaldam