Fairness Doctrine: What "Fairness" are We Talking About?

When it comes to the Fairness Doctrine, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Are we talking about who owns the radio and television stations, or who gets to talk on them? The first is a valid point. The second is just liberals whining that nobody likes to hear what they have to say.

I once listened to a talk by Bill Moyers about the Fairness Doctrine. He pointed out that ClearChannel and a handful of other companies are buying up a lot of the radio and TV stations in the United States, and that we should put a stop to it. I think what he meant, though, was that most of these stations run conservative talk shows, and that we should put a stop to that.

I disagree. I'm of the opinion that most TV and radio news sources make up for the conservative dominance in radio talk, which partially answers the question why there aren't left-wing radio shows galore.

But the main reason? The American people just don't like what the liberals have to say. They're always negative. They always blame someone else for their problems. And they always exclude themselves when they would otherwise fall into the population that they have targeted for blame.

Bill Moyers assumption about few station owners is invalid...

More to come...


  1. As the saying goes, people are entitled to their own opinions but not to their own "facts." Most of the time, I exercise my freedom to ignore Fox News Channel. However, when I do flip to Faux News once in a while they are always lying.

    Of course, reinstating the Fairness Doctrine wouldn't help us with cable news because the FCC only has jurisdiction over broadcast channels. But the Fairness Doctrine said issues ought to be presented in a fair and balanced manner. Fox has made a mockery of that promise.

  2. You're right. That is a problem, unfortunately particularly with Fox News, which should not bill itself as a news station when it is predominantly an opinion source.

    I personally think more people should exercise their opinion to ignore several media sources, including Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly, etc. A lot better hosts exist (that don't attack those who disagree with them), such as Greg Allen (therightbalance.org), Lynne Breidenbach (lynneradio.org), and to some extent Michael Medved.

  3. Actually, I was scratching my head because nobody who has any power in Washington is proposing that we bring back the Fairness Doctrine. So why is this an issue?

    Well, wouldn't you know it. Drudge Report propagandist Andrew Breitbart says that Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) says that he overheard Senators Hillary Clinton and Barbara Boxer talking about a "legislative fix" for talk radio.

    Spokespersons for Clinton and Boxer deny that such a conversation ever took place, either in Inhofe's presence or anywhere else.

    Maybe the story here is right wing lying again (not news anymore). Or liberal senators afraid to talk about Fairness Doctrine-- even in private.

  4. When government becomes the arbitor of what is fair and what is not in matters of speech, we are in trouble. What is fair is that people have a right to say what they want to say and others have a right to agree, disagree, or ignore it. What is fair is that anyone that wants to put together enough capital has the right to buy a radio station that is for sale and to run programs that (as long as they're not treasonous or pornographic) turn a profit for the station's owners. What is not fair is dictating to station owners how they must design their programming.

    Oh, but you say, this is different because the government owns the airwaves. Big whoop. The government only owns the airwaves because it seized them early in the development of radio. Government didn't figure out how to pull that off with satellite and the Internet or those would be government owned as well.

    The government leases property to people and groups all of the time, but doesn't micromanage the properties it leases. It makes no sense that since government 'owns' the airwaves, it has the right to micromanage station programming.

  5. I wonder if the left would be so fond of the idea of the "fairness doctrine" if it were applied to blogs and other "new media" sources, a sphere they currently dominate by a margin of about 2-to-1.

  6. Scott and Jesse,

    Good points. In an era of internet broadcasting, why the government would want to entertain dictation of content I don't know.

    It is interesting that the left seems to be outdoing the right in blogging. Maybe because so many people on the right are having the heads filled full of Rush Limbaugh's mush.

  7. Consider that techies still make up a sizable portion of the hardcore bloggers and that most techies are left-leaning or libertarian. That right there explains where the blogging leaders are headed.

    Also consider that blogging is a relatively easy way to blow off steam and consider who the politically upset are from the last five years. If you guessed lefties and disgruntled Republicans, buy yourself a Coke on me. Really, I'm not too surprised that the blogging world is dominated by the left, though the slight dominance in the Utah blogosphere is a bit surprising.

  8. The people advocating this are fascist garbage. Kucinich, Boxer and the PIAPS? DhimmicRATS don't surprise me, but Trent Lott? He is a shameful disgrace.

    The truth is that the phony and failing so-called liberal and progressive agenda is a sham and more people are waking up to it. The Left has a very weak argument that comes across even worse on the radio, and people just end up changing the channel.

    No one is stopping George Soros from pumping millions into a money-losing Air America and keeping it going forever. But it is just such a bad business model that apparently even Leftie Moonbat Soros can't stand donating endless drops of his bucket to it.

    absurd thought -
    God of the Universe says
    CONTROL the media

    socialists as dangerous
    should never be exposed

  9. I think the reasons that right-wing people prefer talk radio and left-wing people prefer blogs are because 1. Left wing people can generally read and write, and 2. Right wing people are often passive and like being told what to do, whereas left wing people like to debate and discuss.

  10. As a general rule, I can't dispute that. You are probably correct.


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