CRP Blog

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fairness Doctrine Aims to Shut Down Talk Radio

When liberals push something that's clearly unpopular with the American people, they dress it up in different terminology in the hopes no one will notice. "Socialized medicine" doesn't work, so they call it "single payer" health care, which sounds less offensive until people realize the "single payer" is the government. The same tactic is used by Congessional liberals trying to shut down conservative talk radio.

When I spoke to a group of CEO's yesterday at Pepperdine University in a joint panel with Art Torres, my Democrat counterpart, this issue was raised by a participant.

"Censorship" has a bad ring to it, and rightfully so, leading liberals to call their idea the "fairness doctrine," which would require talk radio to air an hour of liberal ideas (which no one will tune in to) for every hour of conservative or center-right ideas (which radio listeners, as they demonstrate every day, are interested in.)

Liberals in Congress know the end result of imposing this crazy scheme through the Federal Communications Commission would in effect force broadcasters to turn away from the talk radio format altogether. The market has already spoken, and those who listen to talk radio tend to be center-right and not interested in listening much to what the left has to say.

This was further reinforced by the collapse of "Air America," the left's attempt at a liberal radio network which has been a total failure.

The "fairness doctrine" isn't new. It was in effect up until President Reagan's FCC repealed it, which allowed the broadcast market to respond to listener demand through what we now know as talk radio.

It sounds like a nice idea at first, but who is to say there are only two sides, or two philosophies, around any issue or idea? There isn't, of course. And it's silly to task broadcasters with the need to hire new bureaucrats to track every second of what's broadcast on their station, then go out and find someone else who has a different idea, no matter how wacky it is.

Interestingly, liberals don't propose a "fairness doctrine" for the editorial page of the New York Times, or the Washington Post; nor for websites or YouTube; just radio -- making their true intentions clear: to shut down a media which provides an alternative viewpoint to the liberal one which comes from the editorial pages of the big papers from back east.

There's nothing "fair" about this "doctrine."

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