Fairness Doctrine Revisited

George Will, always writing eloquent Conservative commentary, had a few denigrating words in his most recent column about the Fairness Doctrine. 

It seems there has been some Washington whispers recently about the possibility of the new liberal Congress reinstating the fairness doctrine. Will has some compelling rationality for why that is a terrible idea.

And these worrywarts say the proliferation of radio, cable, satellite broadcasting and Internet choices allows people to choose their own universe of commentary, which takes us far from the good old days when everyone had the communitarian delight of gathering around the cozy campfire of the NBC-ABC-CBS oligopoly. Being a liberal is exhausting when you must simultaneously argue for illiberal policies on the basis of dangerous scarcity and menacing abundance.

Furthermore, much of talk radio today is syndicated, meaning that national talk radio hosts are only broadcasted through local stations. If the fairness doctrine were reinstated, then the cost burden would be on local stations to provide airtime for liberal commentary to be “fair” in light of that station’s broadcast of conservative syndicated radio.

If Obama wants to forge a purple America, the fairness doctrine is one of those divisive issues best left alone. It is archaic and outdated in today’s information age, and I agree with George Will that it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify.

It isn’t right in principle, and it definitely isn’t right in practice.


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