Ah, yes, the so called, “Fairness Doctrine.” I don’t understand why this is even up for debate. This shouldn’t be a liberal or conservative issue, Democrat or Republican. The point is, the Fairness Doctrine is a complete violation of our First Amendment rights, no matter how you look at it. (The First Amendment states that Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech. What is the Fairness Doctrine other than a law that Congress is making to control speech! What is the Fairness Doctrine? Oh! Well on that, I’ll explain).
The Fairness Doctrine is a proposal that would regulate media so that each point of view be given equal time. It would mostly apply to radio, and in that sense, talk radio. It would mean a Christian radio station would have to play equal time for the other side. (As if there is one other side.) It would mean talk radio would have to balance people like Rush Limbaugh with his opposite. It would leave tort lawyers and the courts to decide “equal” and “other side.” Most radio stations simply would stop broadcasting anything remotely controversial, just to avoid the hassle.
But Ben, the Fairness Doctrine would mean equality for all sides of an issue. Isn’t that a good thing? Not when government regulates it. I’m all for the free market deciding what should be played and what shouldn’t. If liberals want to purchase some bandwidth and broadcast their own talk radio (which they’ve done, by the way), no one’s stopping them.
But Ben, isn’t talk radio a monopoly of conservative thought? Isn’t up to the government to break monopolies? While I do support the government breaking up monopoly of BUSINESS to a degree, the government should have no right to interfere with the transfer of ideas and thought, regardless of how one sided it may appear. Look, I don’t deny that radio leans conservative. Radio leans conservative to the degree that network TV news leans liberal. In that regard there is no monopoly. Conservatives listen to the radio, liberals watch TV. And we haven’t even touched all the other forms of media, magazines, newspapers, and the mother of them all, the internet. There simply is not a monopoly of thought in this country.
Regardless of what side you are on, I hope I’ve persuaded you with this article. Free speech needs to be protected, no matter who it is that is speaking. Those in congress who are pushing the Fairness Doctrine are in direct violation of the First Amendment.