Equates to government censorship of opposing views
The “Fairness Doctrine” is based on the premise that the people within the United States are not receiving fair and balanced information, and its government’s role to monitor the dissemination of information and punish those who do not report what the government considers fair and balanced.
Free people choose the ideas and viewpoints they wish to be exposed to.
People within the United States have access to an unlimited amount of information through equally unlimited mediums — radio, television, newspapers, magazines, books, internet, lectures, and conversations; and freely choose to access what they consider desirable or ignore what they consider offensive.
If you scan through the radio dial you’re exposed to about anything people have an interest in listening to; rock and roll, light rock, rap, jazz, classical, religious, and talk radio. Within talk radio, samplings of topics available include home improvement, computer technology, photography, gardening, finance, investments, farming, and politics.
Within a free society, the market dictates the available programming rather than a government authority.
For example: A radio program addressing the soil preparation, fertilizing, and farming techniques will probably not find a market in New York City, due to lack of significant interest; yet the same program could be popular within the Midwestern bread basket states.
If a significant percentage of people, within a listening area, are interested in a subject, the radio program will be likely to support itself through advertising, and the topic will probably be broadcast. If people are not interested in a subject, and don’t listen to the station, than the program will be dropped.
Another example: I do not believe, nor think proper, that the federal government would force a rap music station to include a “reasonable” balance of classical music and jazz within its programming.
I think it safe to assume that the “Fairness Doctrine” would apply only to monitoring and controlling free political speech found offensive by government.
The political “ruling” class in Washington finds in incomprehensible that the general population may disagree with their policies and actions. Rather than evaluating their own actions, and the effect on the country, politicians would rather control the discourse and have their actions skewed positively.
Consider this farfetched? I don’t think so. According to the Heritage Foundation, both Presidents Kennedy and Nixon used the power of the government, through the Fairness Doctrine, to quell dissenting information.(1) Barak Obama has repeatedly chastised both Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and counseled the nation not to listen to these individuals. Senate Majority leader Harry Reid has done the same thing.(2) If the Fairness Doctrine were reinstated, the ruling political class could use the full force of the federal government to stifle dissent.
Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and other conservative talk show hosts address current events from a constitutional basis; in light of our founding principles of limited government and personal responsibility. The ruling class in Washington does not want these values discussed or reinforced and try to silence them. There are plenty of “news” outlets promoting the expanding scope of government, but the population chooses not to listen to them – including most “major” news networks such as ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, public broadcasting, and virtually all major news papers and print magazines. Since the Fairness Doctrine was eliminated under Ronald Reagan, established media outlets have lost significant market share and influence being replaced by the “alternative” media – including conservative talk radio and Fox News.
People choose not to listen to liberal philosophy, as demonstrated through the bankruptcy of Air America, and the few liberal talk show hosts have a hard time retaining an audience.
The first amendment to the US constitution(3)specifically states “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…”. The Fairness Doctrine directly contradicts this amendment and should never be reinstated.
A free society must have freedom of thought. Government should never be allowed to control, dictate, or manipulate the content of information disseminated to the people.
August 1, 2010
(1) Telecommunications scholar Thomas W. Hazlett notes that under the Nixon Administration, “License harassment of stations considered unfriendly to the Administration became a regular item on the agenda at White House policy meetings.” (Thomas W. Hazlett, “The Fairness Doctrine and the First Amendment,” The Public interest, Summer 1989, p. 105.) As one former Kennedy Administration official, Bill Ruder, has said, “We had a massive strategy to use the fairness doctrine to challenge and harass the right-wing broadcasters, and hope the challenge would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue.”
(Tony Snow, “Return of the Fairness Demon,” The Washington Times, September 5, 1993, p. B3.)… “Why The Fairness Doctrine Is Anything But Fair” Published on October 29, 1993 by Adam Thierer
(2) Harry Reid’s letter to Mark Mays, October 2, 2007, mischaracterizing Rushes “Phony Solider” comments.
(3) Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
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