Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Fairness Doctrine Is Inherently UNfair!

Now that the election is over, and the Democrats control the House, the Senate and the White House, there will be some movement from within Congress to control the media as well. A frightening number of Democratic leaders want to bring back the Fairness Doctrine, a pre-Reagan era regulation that requires broadcasters to give equal access to points of view from across the political spectrum. This would force a station like WMAL to carry an equal number of programs that are left-leaning to counter the station's successful right-leaning lineup.

Proponents say Americans need and deserve to hear from all points of view as it concerns the important events of the day, and that regulating content like this will ensure Americans have that kind of access. There are a million problems with this line of thought, but let me hit you with just a few reasons why the Fairness Doctrine is WAY WAY WAY wrong.

  • Congress' approval rating with the public is at 18 percent. Would you want someone who you agree with only 18 percent of the time controlling the remote control in your house? Me neither. I only agree with my wife about half the time, and I still don't control the remote!

  • This is a not-so-veiled attempt to get payback on conservative talk radio. A big F.U. to the Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannitys of the world for making liberals' lives so miserable over the past 20 years. The problem is that the liberal argument of conservative unfairness carries no weight. How can you argue the conservative point of view is too strong when the Democrats now control Congress and the White House? Rush Limbaugh may be a painful rectal itch to Democrats, but he is not a cancer.

  • If you mess with conservative talk, you're going to kill the ratings for an entire format of commercial radio - an industry that is already having a hard time making ends meet. And you're going to cause great damage to public stations as well. Do you really think successful NPR stations are going to be able to raise as much money as they do now if their listeners are asked to contribute to stations that now have 50 percent conservative content? And if you are a fan of NPR - or Air America, for that matter - Do you really want the government messing with your programming, either?

  • I would be willing to bet that a large majority of the people who bitch about Rush Limbaugh have never even listened to Rush Limbaugh. How can you be harmed by content that are not in any way exposed to?

  • The fact is - The market will correct itself without government intervention. The same world that gave us Fox news is now giving us MSNBC. Broadcasters are motivated by money. Money is generated by ratings. People who generate ratings are going to be on radio and TV, whether they are Rush Limbaugh or Keith Olbermann.

You don't need to blow up broadcast radio and TV to ensure fairness - especially when those mediums are getting their asses kicked by the very home of open opinion - the internet. The web is where opinions of all stripes are being formed in the 21st century - not on radio or television.

We should not be eager to allow the government to decide how much information of a certain political bent is deemed to be enough or not enough. The free market is doing well enough on its own on that score, and any attempt by the Democratic Congress and the Obama Administration to regulate "fairness" will ultimately create the groundswell of conservative noise that they will indeed be endeavoring to mute.

You have rights, people! Protect them!

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