The "Fairness Doctrine" is anything but FAIR!
What could be "fairer" then defining "fairness?"
The dictionary defines it as free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice.
The overriding issue for me has ALWAYS been society's inability to examine almost any situation and declare that the outcome was "fair."
I would think that if you are dividing up six cookies among three children, giving each two could be considered to be fair. That is, unless two of the kids are teens and the third is under a year old. Ergo, "fair" is so subjective that I would give up defining it.
Certainly I do not want the government defining "fairness". What could be more frightening then the government trying to impose their definition of "fairness" on America's radio stations?
This could be my worst media nightmare, and I have had many times before. These rules would be an affront to both "the right and left" and would put the feds right in the middle of what we do and don't get to hear.
Almost a year ago, I asked myself a couple of questions, and gave interesting answers that were my own. They were:
Should the FCC allow still more media consolidation then we already have? NO.
Should we return to the broadcast media fairness doctrine? NO.
It will surprise the very many who describe me as a "Liberal" that I routinely assert: If you want something screwed up, give it to government to administer.
This brings me to the travesty about which I am writing: "The Fairness Doctrine."
"The policy of the United States Federal Communications Commission that became known as the 'Fairness Doctrine' is an attempt to ensure that all coverage of controversial issues by a broadcast station be balanced and fair. The FCC took the view, in 1949, that station licensees were "public trustees," and as such had an obligation to afford reasonable opportunity for discussion of contrasting points of view on controversial issues of public importance."
The Fairness Doctrine was thankfully repealed in 1987, but many in Congress would like to see it reinstated.
Is ANYONE comfortable with government "bureaucrats" listening in on EVERYTHING America's radio stations broadcast, while keeping a perpetual tally as to what they think is "fair"?
What will the Feds do then? Will they imprison the station "operators" for their "bias?" Will they punish stations in other ways should anyone deviate from their definition of "fairness"? What a nightmare this would be.
"Big Brother" will be listening. Won't that be just great?
In my never humble opinion, the Feds should establish ONLY "CONTENT NEUTRAL" rules, and (you should excuse the expression) "screw the notion of fairness."
Why is my "media" hair on fire on this? Because I have heard that there is a "Broadcaster Freedom Act" which will serve to kill once and for all this onerous, dangerous and silly "Fairness Doctrine".
It is currently stuck in Congressional committee, because the majority (the Democrats), and Speaker Nancy Pelosi will not allow the bill on to the floor for a full vote. This is not a good thing.
Notwithstanding my left-wing suspicion of anything that comes from Washington, and my suspicion of any bill with the word "freedom" in its name, I am going to ask those of you that do not want the feds determining what is and is not "fair" to contact your Congressperson and tell them that "You Are Mad as Hell, and You're Not Going to Take it Anymore!"
Tell them to support the bill that will end the Fairness Doctrine. Contact your Congressperson and tell them to sign The Broadcaster Freedom Act petition.
For the press to be truly free, the Feds must never again be in the "fairness" business.
At the same time the feds should be committed to the notion that "big media" is big enough, and should not be allowed to get any bigger.
BIG BROTHER, GO AWAY AND STAY AWAY