Sunday, December 7, 2008

UnFairness Doctrine

Better wake up and pay attention to this little bit of legislation or you'll find your access to information severely limited.

Liberals and Obama are talking about re-instating the so-called Fairness Doctrine which requires broadcasters to give equal balance to all points of view. Sounds about right until you read George Will's article in Atlanta Journal-Constitution detailing the dispicable history of this particular ideological doctrine.

When government regulation of the content of broadcasts began in 1927, the supposed justification was the scarcity of radio spectrum. In 1928 and 1929, when Republicans ran Washington, a New York station owned by the Socialist Party was warned to show “due regard” for others’ opinions, and the government blocked the Chicago Federation of Labor’s attempted purchase of a station because all stations should serve “the general public.” In 1939, when Democrats ran Washington, the government conditioned renewal of one station’s license on that station’s promise to desist from anti-FDR editorials.

In 1969, when the Supreme Court declared the fairness doctrine constitutional, it probably did not know the Kennedy administration’s use of it, as one official described it: “Our massive strategy was to use the fairness doctrine to challenge and harass the right-wing broadcasters and hope that the challenges would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue.” Richard Nixon emulated this practice. In 1973, Supreme Court Justice William Douglas, a liberal, said the doctrine “has no place in our First Amendment regime” because it “enables administration after administration to toy with TV or radio.”
This doctrine must not come to pass. It is a gag-order on conservative viewpoints.

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