Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A New Perspective On The Fairness Doctrine

After hearing all of the back-and-forth on the alleged proposal to bring back the FCC's Fairness Doctrine, I have finally made a decision on what the correct position to take is.

I'm all for it.

Please understand a Fairness Doctrine truly could not apply solely to radio, as that would not be a fair and reasonable approach. It would also have to apply to television - including all the cable and satellite channels. This works for me.

The core of the Fairness Doctrine was to allow the "responsible, opposing viewpoint" a "reasonable" chance to air their views on a issue so that a slanted, one-sided argument couldn't unduly influence folks. Fine.

For Conservative Talk Radio and Fox News Channel, the solution is very simple: re-run MSNBC's Keith Olberman's nightly diatribe at 3:00 AM. There is more than enough venom and hatred for anything Conservative in that show to more than offset any Conservative argument in the other 23 hours.

For the other radio stations and channels, it will be a tad more problematic - let me provide some examples:

CNN will have to give Rush Limbaugh *at least* 2 hours everyday to counteract their programming, he may need more. Every moment of airtime they do at CNN drips with enough leftist propaganda that it all needs to equally counteracted.

The "major networks" (ABC, CBS, NBC) will need to provide an equal number of ours to their national news coverage to provide balance. They may also need to provide additional time due to the sociopolitical content of most of their programming. Certainly "The View" needs to be balanced out.

As BET often has programming about the political issues concerning the African American Community, they will need to turn over several hours of their programming each day to the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the various White Power movements.

Univision, the hispanic network, due to political content related to the "plight" of hispanics and "undocumented workers," would have to give over several hours each day to groups like Grassfire.org, who oppose illegal immigration.

Lifetime television would have to give over several hours each day to NASCAR Racing and Professional Wrestling.

You might have noticed that I made no mention of Liberal Talk Radio...as no one listens to that anyway, there is no need to balance that programming...

Or, we could just all realize that with 500+ channels, thousands of radio stations, thousands of magazines and newspapers, and inumerable websites presenting every possible (and a few likely impossible) political viewpoints, there exists a "Fair" chance to get everything out into the public eye.

Instituting the Fairness Doctrine and applying it to only radio would be a mindless and cynical admission on the part of politicians on the Left side of the spectrum that they are not capable of offering political views in such a way as to not engender opposition. Silencing a viewpoint you counteract is the act of a totalitarian government, not a democratic republic. So Senator Boxer, with all due respect, please Shove It!


  1. I'm still on the fensce with this one, so glad you made a clear point...

  2. The remark on 500 channels being able to get it all out is a key point, but unfortunately many don't have access to all 500, and even more unfortunately, those that do tend to only watch what they agree with, and ignore the rest in the belief they already understand everything fully. The "Fairness doctrine" won't help that much as those same people will skip the inserted contrarian points of view just like they avoid the channels that challenge their viewpoints.

    So rather than adding to a purely partisan vitriol saying it's a dumb idea, what are the thoughts on how to get a more balanced and reasonable debate between the left and right in the US? It certainly seems like I see a lot of shouting from both sides and very little listening from either!

    I'm afraid this seems less of a perspective and more of an opinion. At least you've got some humour in the midst of it, but as someone trying to listen to the key points of left and right I just hear shouting and very, very few key points.

  3. You cannot control the way people think. You can influence it, but you cannot control it. You cannot force people to think either, no matter how much I wish I could. With the mainstream media already biased so far to the left, talk radio exists as its balance.
    Currently there is no admission from the Left that the media is biased, so that remains a problem.
    If we could have the news presented in a truly objective fashion as it was originally intended, that might be a start. But how would one mandate that? Fox News, apart from the opinion shows, is actually pretty balanced. But the opinion shows slant the network to the Right, and therefore the Left Ideologues will not even give it credit for the balance of the actual news.

  4. Hear you on the lack of balance. Glad you can't control how people think though. Things would get really boring and static in a hurry. Getting them to think would sure be a great achievement though.

    Where do you go for news in the US? I've found CBC and the other networks decent in reporting things in Canada, BBC is ok in the UK but can get biased. rferl.org is a really good source for world news actually. The indies are all over but they don't tend to be very disciplined drawing the line between fact, inference and opinion. In the US I've had almost no luck finding that middle view. NPR was closest on their in-depth radio as they brought in both sides and often more than just two on the debates.

    Any other places to look and listen in your view?

  5. I look to a variety of sources on both sides, look for the details that coincide, and try to filter out the bias and crap on my own.
    NPR is hopelessly biased, sorry to disagree. While they occasionally have shows with both sides, they most often do not present a non-Left perspective on issues. PBS television has the same problems.

  6. Andrew Wilkow explained The Fairness Doctrine on his show once.
    You can say what you will, there is an extra guy in the booth that keeps track. Then the target of your ire has to be notified of the slight and given a chance to refute it.

    Liberal Radio does not exist because it simply is not marketable. No one cares.
    That includes Liberals. They seem to prefer conservative blogs. I guess it pisses them off.

  7. DFG, very humorous entry... thanks.

    re: liberal talk radio -- I have for quite some time thought that liberal "talk" would fail because there is little "thinking" going on - mostly emoting. Positions arrived at by emotion do not withstand the assault of reason, and reason is all you have with talk - no pictures!