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A Tech-Econ Mashup with a Libertarian Flavor

The Fairness Doct… um, “Standard.”

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) doesn’t support the 1st amendment. At least, that’s the conclusion I reached when she said she wants to hold senate hearings to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine.

Asked whether it was time to bring back the fairness doctrine, she said “I think it’s absolutely time to pass a standard. Now, whether it’s called the Fairness Standard, whether it’s called something else.”

She tied it to President Barack Obama’s pledge of more accountability and transparency, saying “I think in this case, there needs to be some accountability and standards put in place.”

Democrats have been squawking about the FD throughout the election season in a transparent attempt to silence conservative talk radio. Are they really that clueless? Two immediate thoughts: 1) Anyone remember Air America? The liberal talk radio station that ran itself into bankruptcy in only two years? Where was this concern about the Fairness Doctrine back in 2004, before we learned that there isn’t much of a market for liberal talk radio? Do we really need to grant power to government censors in order to give a poorly-managed radio network a fighting chance? 2) Anyone ever hear of the “interwwwebz?” Formerly known as the “Information Superhighway,” there’s no shortage of political banter available to anybody who wants it, no matter what minority (or even fringe) school of thought they subscribe to.

The arguments against reinstatement of the FD are many, but here’s a very brief rundown:

  • While “public spectrum” may be limited (which was the original rationale for getting government involved in deciding what speech was acceptable over the airwaves), public information sources are not. See: the internet.
  • The arbitrariness with which broadcasters could be punished should not be underestimated. Under the old rules, any listener with a political agenda could file a complaint against a station for not providing what they may consider “fair and balanced” coverage, or equal time for equal views.
  • How do we (or rather, government bureaucrats) define “fair?” While there are two major political parties, there are an infinite number of viewpoints that could be represented on any given issue. In a discussion on economic policy, should we really demand equal time for the social democrats, the anarchists, the religious fundamentalists, the jihadists, the Nation of Islam, the National Organization for Women, etc?
  • Most importantly, do we seriously want the government determining what political public information we can have access to? We’re supposedly a nation of educated, hardworking, free people – can’t we judge for ourselves when a news anchor or a guest panelist is bullshitting us? What person with more than three brain cells takes Bill O’Reily seriously?

Talk of the Fairness Doctrine is one thing that seriously gets under my skin. I’m generally pretty non-partisan, because I recognize that the vast majority of politicians must have some serious defects in their brains in order to even enter their chosen profession in the first place. But the FD is an issue where the Democrats are proving themselves to be complete dolts. The level of idiocy required to actually support such a backwards initiative is astounding. Really, you’ve got to be pretty “special” to buy into the bullshit on this one. By falsely labeling it “promotion of minority viewpoints,”  or “accountability and standards,” congressional democrats mask what it really is: state-sanctioned speech.

If any liberal-leaning readers actually have some deep yearning inside themselves for the opportunity to listen to liberal talk-radio, please make your voices heard.

H/T: JPBlanks

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Filed under: Politics, , ,

3 Responses

  1. Dan says:

    For what amazing project did you learn all these fascinating things about the Fairness Doctrine??

  2. Libby says:

    The one that we rocked the hell out of! In retrospect, I’m pretty sure we could have placed if we had included Nicole’s lolcat.

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Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect.
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