Wednesday, January 17, 2007

So who decides what is "fair"?

Ah, the most feared sentence in world history: I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you. In this case, our newly anointed Democrat-controlled Congress is beginning to make noises about "helping" me make up my mind about controversial issues by reinstituting the Fairness Doctrine that Ronald Reagan deep-sixed back in 1987.

A little background: In 1949, the FCC instituted the Fairness Doctrine as a way to ensure that both sides of controversial issues were presented on the limited number of frequencies that comprised the public airways. Station managers quickly discovered that if they ran afoul of any arbitrary notions of what some FCC bureaucrat deemed to be "fair", the station could be heavily fined. So instead of working toward presenting both sides of controversial issues, broadcast media just steered clear of controversial issues altogether. Boy did that make for interesting radio and television... snooorrrrrre.

In 1987, Ronald Reagan (God bless his heart), let the Fairness Doctrine die a well-deserved death, and within a year, Rush Limbaugh was syndicated, and the wild and wooly world of Talk Radio was born. The problem for the lefties out there is that it was Conservative Talk Radio that prospered, while Liberal Talk Radio largely foundered (Air America anyone?). Even though the left was getting its message out with NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, et. al., having any dissenting voices, even merely on the radio, was simply unacceptable. For the last 20 years, the left has salivated at the thought of bringing back the Fairness Doctrine and shutting down conservative talk radio. Now that the Democrats have taken back Congress, talk of resurrecting this dagger aimed at the First Amendment is beginning to be heard again. Just the other day, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (Moonbat-OH) said that bringing back the Fairness Doctrine would be an important part of a "progressive agenda" in reining in the media. This morning, Laura Ingraham - one of those dastardly conservative talk radio hosts - had Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) on her show where he defended his support of bringing back the Fairness Doctrine. Hinchey's arguments were just pathetic. You could feel the contempt he has for us rabble as he attempts to save us from ourselves. The best part of the interview was when Laura stumped the Congressman by asking him if the Fairness Doctrine would apply to Hollywood; after all, TV shows are broadcast on these limited frequencies, and they definitely address controversial issues. For instance, if a lefty show like Law and Order lambasts gun owners, would the producers of Law and Order have to film another episode that shows the other side of the story? It can quickly become absurd, and that is exactly the point. Let the free market decide what views will be heard. The airwaves are a little different now than when the Fairness Doctrine was implemented in 1949, and even when it was ended in 1987. The biggest change of course is the Internet. With instant access to newspapers from not only around the country, but around the world, along with video, cable TV, and super-sensitive radios that can handle a lot more different frequencies, the Fairness Doctrine is an outdated tool that the lefties simply want to use as a hammer to pound the conservative media into submission.

When you start letting the government decide what viewpoints are fair and not fair, you are asking for tyranny; and tyrannical is exactly what the Fairness Doctrine is: it is a naked attempt by government to limit people's free speech. To quote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, I do believe our creator endowed us with an unalienable right to speak our minds that the 1st Amendment firmly tells the government it shall not take away.

Good Day to You, Sir

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