Sunday, July 01, 2007

Fairness Doctrine

Bringing back the "Fairness Doctrine" seems to be getting mainstream attention, which I find surprising and perhaps (if this leads to popular support) unfortunate.

The latest episode of the CNN "Special Programming" Podcast is about "Reviving the Fairness Doctrine." It begins:

Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) (Guest): The people of this country should have the opportunity to hear all points of view.

Announcer: Reviving the Fairness Doctrine.

Maurice Hinchey: You're jeopardizing the basic principles of the Constitution.

Announcer: A CNN Podcast.

Dick Uliano (Host): Here's an issue that may soon move from back to front burner in Washington. A bid to rein in one-sided talk radio.

I guess we know where CNN stands.

Granted, there is a Constitutional issue here. But it's not at all what Hinchey's trying to claim. It's called the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. You know, the very reasons the FCC did away with the Fairness Doctrine back in 1987 -- from Wikipedia:

In August 1987, the FCC abolished the doctrine by a 4-0 vote, in its Syracuse Peace Council decision. The FCC stated, "the intrusion by government into the content of programming occasioned by the enforcement of [the Fairness Doctrine] restricts the journalistic freedom of broadcasters ... (and) actually inhibits the presentation of controversial issues of public importance to the detriment of the public and the degradation of the editorial prerogative of broadcast journalists", and suggested that, due to the many media voices in the marketplace at the time, the doctrine was perceived to be unconstitutional.

QandO has excellent commentary on this going back to as early as January:

Additionally, the Heritage Foundation's analysis from October 29, 1993 continues to be spot-on.

For those interested in a less intellectual evaluation of the issue, just give this your consideration:

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