Nothing Fair About Bringing The Fairness Doctrine Back

from the misguided dept

One of the earliest lessons a lot of kids learn (though don't necessarily accept) is that life isn't fair, if for no other reason than what they think is fair is often wildly different than what their parents do. Now, once-failed and now long-shot presidential candidiate Dennis Kucinich says he'll be heading up a new House subcommittee on issues around the FCC, that he might try to bring back the Fairness Doctrine. The Fairness Doctrine was an FCC rule, in force until 1987, that said broadcasters had a responsibility to discuss controversial issues of public importance, and to do so in a balanced manner that addressed differing points of view. While the goal of the doctrine might sound nice, the rule itself is a little troublesome, not least of which because it could be interpreted as violating the First Amendment (though the current FCC isn't likely to care about that), but also because it holds broadcasters to a wholly subjective ideal. Who decides what's fair? After all, one popular news network famously uses the tagline "fair and balanced", when plenty of people feel it's neither. The Fairness Doctrine also makes less and less sense in an age where the number of media outlets is proliferating. There's no limit to the number of places that can provide news or opinion, and professionals and the public have more tools than ever at their disposal to tell their own stories and express their own viewpoints. To require certain media to provide an arbitrary level of "balance" makes less sense than encouraging people with disagreeing viewpoints to develop their own media outlets, whether it's a blog, newsletter or even a cable TV channel. Kucinich says that "the media has become the servant of a very narrow corporate agenda" -- but reinstituting the Fairness Doctrine would simply replace that corporate agenda with that of a political appointee, and that's really not very fair.


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  1.  
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    Ivory Bill, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 3:42am

    Fairness

    The fairness doctrine is not about "life" in general. Its about elections. Notwithstanding e-voting, elections are supposed to be fair.

    Actually, as I recollect the doctrine, it required a broadcast outlet to offer similar airtime at a similar price to an opposing candidate. Those airwaves (and airtime) belong to us, the citizenry, rabble, hoi polloi, or whatever you wish to call us. As such, the doctrine does nothing but assure that an opposition candidate has access to *-OUR-* airwaves. And anything that might cause a broadcast outlet to remember that it has been temporarily awarded its bandwidth to be held in the public trust can't be all bad. That includes making us suffer through the ad of someone we don't plan to vote for, just as others suffered through the ad of our candidate.

    Which leads me to the ideal solution -- prevent all political ads from airing on all media.

     

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    misanthropic humanist, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 3:58am

    access not

    Kucinich says that "the media has become the servant of a very narrow corporate agenda" -- but reinstituting the Fairness Doctrine would simply replace that corporate agenda with that of a political appointee, and that's really not very fair.

    I agree entirely. The "market" should sort this out. But the field needs levelling in terms of fair access. Groups of a given political persuasion can never be coerced into "fairly" representing the other side. That's ridiculous. The only example where this has any merit is state funded media like the BBC who have a mandate to represent all viewpoints, even minority ones.

    But if you analyse the way money is used to mute opposing viewpoints, and I strongly suggest you entertain the following (necessarily quite leftist links),
    http://informationclearinghouse.info/article16193.htm
    http://www.informationclearinghouse. info/article6435.htm
    then you will understand how complex this becomes.

    The bias occurs because if the system is dominated by money, then the interests of the richest are always going to be disproportionately represented. Duh?!

    Imho, there isn't an easy way to moderate this runaway effect, those with more money are always going to have a louder voice. But the audience can choose which voice they hear. The problem right now is that they don't get to hear the alternatives, not because they don't exist, but because money is used to suffocate them.

    Fortunately there is a possibility of balance because the cost of media production is falling. But as we are seeing, the interests with the money, who realise they can no longer compete on the merits of their material in an essentially saturated information market are moving to block access by buying legislation that will exclude the poorer, smaller voices.

     

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    Pope Ratzo, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 4:11am

    NOT

    Here's the problem. As corporate ownership and consolidation of media outlets increases, we will increasingly only see a pro-corporate agenda from the media outlets.

    If we're not going to have a Fairness Doctrine, we damn well better have Net Neutrality.

    Remember, "the market" is owned by corporate interests, so if we let "the market" decide, then we're really letting corporate interests decide.

     

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    Broadcasting Instructor, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 4:45am

    It doesn't work

    The problem with the "Fairness Doctrine" is that what it actually does is prevent public discussion of the issues. When it was in place what actually happened is that in order to avoid having to deal with the headaches of for example, either finding an articulate representative of the other points of view or, as another example, having to make time for every candidate no matter how much of a longshot they were, stations simply decided not to tackle controversial issues or have politicians on at all.

    It's not a good idea and it's really not necessary due to the fact that between the proliferation of cable, satellite and digital broadcast channels for radio and tv there really isn't a lack of outlets for opinions the way there was when broadcasting was just starting.

     

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    radio listener, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 4:57am

    I think the market *has* sorted it out

    I think so because Neal Boortz, Hannity, they're entertaining. Hannity had on that Cindy Sheehan nut job and was actually quite respectful, and was warning his flock two hours ahead of time it wouldn't be a shouting match. They all can get rough with people that call in, but one has to understand its entertainment -- they have to in order to get ratings.

    On the flip side, I listen to NPR on occasion, and christ on a stick it puts me to sleep. Seriously. That or they're talking about planting trees to reduce our carbon emissions to zero, playing classical music (in the case of my local station), or whining about something or another in these soft, supposedly intellectual voices.

    The market likes people like the 'shock jock', people like Hannity that make an uproar. Democrats are just unsettled because Republican-leaning shows (though if they cared to listen they'd note some of them spend a fair amount of time beating up the Republican's themselves, Boortz is more anti-government than he his pro-Republican) are more successful.

    I'd like to say it doesn't surprise me Democrats are willing to forget the rights of individuals to speak freely when it suits their desires, but I suspect if the situation were reversed and the public liked to hear liberal prattle about saving whales versus government excesses like Canada sponsoring a 900ft inflated Bananna balloon to be hoisted over Texas then they would do the same sort of thing.

     

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    misanthropic humanist, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 5:11am

    correcting the market

    "Here's the problem. As corporate ownership and consolidation of media outlets increases, we will increasingly only see a pro-corporate agenda from the media outlets.

    No, that's not the problem. If corporately owned media companies want to sing a pro-corporate line then they must be allowed to. What else do you expect them to do?

    "Remember, "the market" is owned by corporate interests, so if we let "the market" decide, then we're really letting corporate interests decide.

    I disagree. The "market" is not owned by anyone. It is dominated by the corporate media giants. Ideologically, the market is open to all. But see what happens if you try to compete in that market fairly. You will be crushed within weeks. This is possible because the corporations have debased the very principles of market capitalism. They have bought laws, regulations, licensing provisions, DRM mandates, broadcast flags, copyright extentions, crippling patents.... The corporations have utterly corrupted the market to make sure that nobody else can compete in it. They have declared everyone who dares to challenge them in any way a criminal and terrorist. And our governments support that position.

    What we call "market capitalism" does not exist in reality anymore. The free market is dead. The corporations have used political influence and corruption of the legal system to obtain their own business ends. What we have today, however unpopular the word may be, is fascism, plain and simple. It isn't leather clad jackbooted
    blackshirt fascism, not yet, but it is fascism nonetheless.

    The only solution in the end, to avoid an ugly revolutionary shift, will be to repeal vast swathes of legislation in order to correct the balance. I believe the market can be a force for good, bring positive social changes and give wealth to the poor. But that begins by smashing the obese corporations. The protectionist laws enjoyed by the corporations today must be demolished and replaced by law that serves and protects the people. It may be the case that 90% of the wealth is owned by 1% of the population, but we outnumber them by 99:1 In the 21st Century we don't even need to take back that wealth by force (thank God), in an information society we can practically nullify it overnight by changing our behaviour. Because nobody is forcing you to watch their shit, or buy their products.

     

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    The infamous Joe, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 5:18am

    PatrioT.V.

    The government shouldn't have a say in what the news reports. Period.

     

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    RF Player, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 5:53am

    Good and Bad

    If the reader would go to http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/F/htmlF/fairnessdoct/fairnessdoct.htm you would get a fair view of what the policy was intended for and clearly understand this article is crap. How is that for First Amendment rights?

     

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    RF Player, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 5:53am

    Good and Bad

    If the reader would go to http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/F/htmlF/fairnessdoct/fairnessdoct.htm you would get a fair view of what the policy was intended for and clearly understand this article is crap. How is that for First Amendment rights?

     

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    ScytheNoire, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 6:02am

    Fair and Balanced

    Fair and Balanced
    Like Fox News! HA!

    I can't believed how screwed up the USA has gotten since the turn of the century. It's truly just falling apart left and right. It's funny, sad, and infuriating all at the same time.

     

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    ehrichweiss, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 6:36am

    I guess no one remembers..

    ...that it's due to the Fairness Doctrine and laws like it that we USED to have the ability to see more than 2 political parties debate on television. They trashed it and we ceased seeing a third party in national headlines, etc. unless they had lots of money like Perot. This is why they forced Nader to get 15% of the vote to make it so that we could have a 3 party debates again, which of course didn't happen much to the glee of the two-party regime.

    It might have some drawbacks but I'd rather have to listen to the Neo-Nazi candidate debate for 2 minutes and then move on to someone else(probably more interesting) than have to listen to the same two assholes go back and forth ad nauseum.

    I'm not interested in being entertained, I'm interested in having a real CHOICE.

     

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    Overcast, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 6:52am

    It's fair to not have it - let the market decide. Let people decide what they want to hear. I won't listen to a bunch of garbage just because they are given 'fair air time'.

    I can still turn it off - the power switch and/or channel selector is my 'fairness' doctrine.

    They can still debate, the whole issue is the talk radio is very popular in conservative circles, yet the liberal talk radio fails over and over again - every time it's been tried.

    So - sure, they'll have to put it on - but if people were listening now, then why isn't already a viable choice?

    The only 'Fairness' in media is freedom and liberty - anything else is a violation of free speech.

    WAR IS PEACE

    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 7:34am

    Re: Fairness

    Yeah, then we can take a huge roll of duct tape slap a piece on everyone's mouth and change the name of our county from the USA to the USSR.

     

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    Brian Carnell, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 7:37am

    Scarcity

    Even if you accept the original premise of the fairness doctrine, by the 1980s it made no sense. The original premise was based on scarcity -- that there were a limited number of broadcast media outlets and a market shouldn't be served by a station that would promote only one ideological position.

    That never really made much sense, but by the 1980s it *really* didn't make much sense. Today you would have to be insane (i.e., be Dennis Kucinich) to seriously argue that there is such a scarcity of media outlets that government censorship is the only solution to ensure that a wide variety of opinions on topics of the day are heard.

     

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    Brian Garland, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 7:46am

    Fairness Doctrine

    The tone of this article is quite humorous. It implies that the Bush administration ("the current FCC") would back this, when in fact the so-called Fairness Doctrine is something that the Left is pushing as a means to put talk radio out of business. It also singles out the Fox News Channel when in reality FNC is the only major cable or broadcast network where you will find a diversity of opinion (which, of course, is what the Left hates).

     

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    Witty Nickname, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 7:54am

    When the fairness doctrine passes expect to see the MLK day parade followed by coverage of the KKK rally.

     

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    Xavier Longfellow, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 8:00am

    Fairness Doctrine not Political Advertising

    Just to clarify some misconceptions from earlier comments: The Fairness Doctrine, at least as it existed pre-1987, had nothing to do with providing political candidates equal time to advertise on broadcast television or radio. Those "equal opportunity" laws still exist and are fiercly enforced. It's interesting to see people advocate for a Fairness Doctine as a measure to mitigate "Corporate" influence, but give little or no consideration for its effect on the First Amendment. As much as Kucinich likes to spout off about "conservative" talk radio and its effect on the populace, there is no chance the Fairness Doctrine would stand up in court. I don't like to listen to Sean Hannity either. But the key is, I don't have to. And neither do you.

     

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  18.  
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    CareForFairness, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 8:46am

    Misunderstanding

    I am constantly amazed at how people misconstrue public policy. Lack of access to other means of news information was not the primary reason for the Fairness Doctrine. Newspapers existed before TV did. The rationale for the Fairness Doctrine was the idea that, since broadcasters are using property (bandwidth) that is owned by the citizens of the U.S., we had a right to expect political fairness in the way that it is used so that this medium (broadcast bandwidth) would not be used to propagate a particular political view, such as Corporate Blankcheckism, which is the primary viewpoint being promoted by the multi-billion dollar corporations who own and run most of the broadcast outlets in the U.S.

    Oh, and, by the way, the market doesn’t efficiently allocate uses of public goods, such as bandwidth. I suggest those of you promoting this market approach actually take some economics courses beyond the introductory classes.

    Since some of you have mentioned the Soviet Union, I should probably mention that my wife of 14 years (who is Russian and grew up in the Soviet Union), and almost every one of our friends from the former Soviet Union agree that the U.S. is headed towards its own version of fascism, and that one of the primary reasons for this is the corporatism bias of the news media. Until you’ve grown up in a system that muffles dissent (my wife was arrested twice in the Soviet Union for protesting), it’s hard to understand the real-life implications of what that means for a society. Having traveled in Russia, I can assure you that the Soviet suppression of dissenting points of view is still having effects on Russian society, including facilitating Putin’s increasingly authoritarian approach to governing.

    My basic question to any of you who opposed the Fairness Doctrine is: Why in the world are you afraid of making broadcast news media allow both (multiple) sides of an issue to be presented by those who want to present them? This isn’t a limitation of the First Amendment, it is permitting the use of public space (bandwidth) for public discussion by those who want to express themselves, instead of letting corporations with their own priorities decide what the rest of use are permitted to hear on our own publicly-owned bandwidth.

     

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  19.  
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    Brian, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 8:57am

    Re: Misunderstanding

    "Oh, and, by the way, the market doesn’t efficiently allocate uses of public goods, such as bandwidth. I suggest those of you promoting this market approach actually take some economics courses beyond the introductory classes."

    It does a far better job of it than does the government. More government control is not compatible with more freedom. THAT is the true comparison with the former Soviet Union. Oh, and denegrating the education of people you don't know and know nothing about is not exactly an effective debating technique.

     

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  20.  
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    AMP, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 9:03am

    Equal Time Rule

    It seems like people are confusing the Fairness Doctrine with the Equal Time rule. The Equal Time rule mandates that if a media outlet offers time to one candidate, it must offer the same amount of time and the same rate to opposing candidates. The opposing candidates don't have to take it, but it has to be offered. This is still in place today, there are exceptions to the rule however.
    The Fairness Doctrine is a separate issue. The Fairness Doctrine basically mandates content. Essentially stating that media outlets have a responsibility to inform the public and do so in a balanced manner. It has nothing to do with actual political figures or parties delivering the content.

     

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  21.  
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    Vasco, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 9:18am

    This is not about fairness

    It is about silencing a market driven conservative media force. George Orwell would crack a smile at the doublespeak of a policy designed to quash speech called a "fairness doctrine". Lefties like Kucinich and MoveOn.org love to trumpet first amendment rights when it comes to things like hardcore pornography and movies that depict the assassination of a sitting president, but as soon as the people choose to listen to and support a political voice that doesn't jibe with their views, they advocate censorship and the abrogation of freedom, all under the ludicrous banners of fairness and equality.

    As someone above said, the fairness doctrine caused radio stations to hide from any controversy, resulting in a bland, saccharine format that damn near killed AM radio. Limbaugh et al have made AM a profitable band again and have had an impact on American politics, much to Kucinich's chagrin, so it's only natural that the party that hates freedom would move to hem it in.

    But what to you expect from the Democrats? No sooner do they regain power than they hatch plans to usurp freedom. But I guess those of you who get your political opinions from actors and rock stars are happy.

     

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    The Dukeman (profile), Jan 17th, 2007 @ 9:37am

    fairness in price

    Since the fairness Doctrine seems to be about fairness in elections, the price of political ads comes into question. Even though the air time has a value in terms of dollars to the broadcaster, political ads should be free of charge. The donation of airtime should be part of the price of doing business on PUBLIC airwaves. In fairness to the broadcasters, all political ads should be limited to the same number of seconds per candidate, and in fairness to the candidates, all candidates on the ballot should be rotated each time they are shown, so no candidate always has first or last place. In these times when election funds and the methods and circumstances in which they are collected and scrutinized, even vilified, this financial burden to the candidates flies in the face of fairness and reason.

    That said, fairness is always in the eye of the beholder. The only true fair and just world consists of (any one and) only one person.

     

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  23.  
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    Peter, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 9:48am

    Re: This is not about fairness

    Yeah, I'm very glad Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn't an actor. I get all my Republican views from him.

     

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    AMP, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 9:54am

    Re: fairness in price

    "Since the fairness Doctrine seems to be about fairness in elections, the price of political ads comes into question. Even though the air time has a value in terms of dollars to the broadcaster, political ads should be free of charge."
    Again, This has nothing to do with the fairness doctrine, you are confusing the issue with equal time rule. As far as I am understanding the Fairness doctrine, it has nothing to do with political ads are political debates etc. The fairness doctrine applies to Radio personalities or specific guests that talk shows may have on. It is asking the media outlets to encourage/engage in these types of debates and to offer counterpoints.

     

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  25.  
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    CareForfairness, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 11:10am

    Re: Re: Misunderstanding

    Actually, Brian, I’d like to see how you could argue to justify your statement about allocating the use of public goods, that the market “does a far better job of it than does the government”. That statement (since no evidence whatsoever is used to back it up) can be used to justify eliminating all environmental, safety, traffic, education and essentially all other laws that regulate how we use public land and other public goods.

    I also love how neocons like to compare broadcast news over public airwaves to fictional works like movies and porn that are shown on pay channels. My guess is that they watch Fox News and are admitting that what they call “news” is actually fiction, which is refreshing. Look at how many times O’Reilley has made obvious and provable factually erroneous statements on his “news” show and never has the balls, integrity or professional ethics to admit them. How else could you watch him and call his show “news” without disengaging your higher brain functions and suspending disbelief?

    Fox News is fair and balanced if fair and balanced means getting three neocons on the tube debating an issue. I’ve met Roger Ailes, the chairman of Fox News, twice, once before he was with Fox (when I was volunteering for a conservative organization to have him come speak to a group of young conservatives) and once since he became chairman. He was clearly a far-right demagogue before he joined Fox News (he told me to make sure I voted for the “right” party) and he still is, denying facts and ignoring legitimate criticisms about Fox’s fairness.

    “All hail the Chairman!”

     

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  26.  
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    Lance Drager, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 11:46am

    Fairness Doctrine

    THe Fairness Doctrine, as it existed, did not violate the
    first amendment or the principal of free speech.

    Remember that the rule applied to BROADCASTmedia.
    There is only a limited spectrum for broadcasting
    and hence there can only be a limited number of broadcasters.
    This spectrum is a public resource and the public has a right to
    impose conditions on those who are allowed to use it, to assure that
    that it is used in the public interest.
    Being allowed to use this public resource is a privilege, not a right.
    The rule reflected the view that the public interest is best met if
    all viewpoints are heard, not an anti-free speech concept.

    The rule did not intefere with the free speech rights of those who produce
    or appear on programs, because the rule did not apply to THEM. The rule was that the programming of a radio or TV station TAKEN AS A WHOLE must fairly represent all community viewpoints. A given program didn't have to be fair or balanced as long as the opposing viewpoint(s) showed up in the station's other programming.

    There was no requirement that the time devoted to differing viewpoints be exactly equal. The Fairness Doctrine is sometimes confused with
    the Equal Time Rule, which stated that the candidates in an election must
    be given equal time for campaigning.

    Obviouly, this reasoning above doesn't apply to communication channels
    where the number of "broadcasters" is effectively unlimted.
    Thus, it doesn't apply to print, Satellite, or the Internet. It could be
    applied to the total programming of a Cable system, if the Cable operator is given a monopoly by law.

    So far this is not unreasonable, but perhaps not very useful as
    broadcast media declines in importance.

     

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    Brian, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 11:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Misunderstanding

    "That statement (since no evidence whatsoever is used to back it up) can be used to justify eliminating all environmental, safety, traffic, education and essentially all other laws that regulate how we use public land and other public goods."

    You didn't offer any evidence to support your initial pro-government argument, so I guess I should have asked you to provide such evidence first. But as an example, I throw this out: private education is far superior to public education. There you go.

    "I also love how neocons like to compare broadcast news over public airwaves to fictional works like movies and porn that are shown on pay channels."

    And yet it's liberals who decry any governmental censorship of sexuality, violence or language on the public airwaves. It seems it's only political speech that they don't agree with that should be subject to such control.

    "Look at how many times O’Reilley has made obvious and provable factually erroneous statements on his “news” show"

    It's an analysis and commentary show, not a hard news broadcast. But don't let that fact interfere with your point. Whatever that is.

    "and never has the balls, integrity or professional ethics to admit them."

    False. He has issued on-air corrections and the apologies many times.

    "Fox News is fair and balanced if fair and balanced means getting three neocons on the tube debating an issue."

    So the equal balance on Hannity & Colmbes, or the parade of liberal guests on the other prime time shows just escapes your notice? You are either being disingenuous or are ignorant about which you speak. You should actually watch FNC before making such statements.

     

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    Russ, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 2:01pm

    FCC Fairness

    Who the heck is the one (and God help us if it's a committee) that determines what's fair and what's not fair? Maybe I could apply. I'd be just a s good at it as someone else. That's the point.

     

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    ehrichweiss, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 2:22pm

    Re: Fairness Doctrine not Political Advertising

    No, the "equal opportunity" laws you refer to do not exist, if they did then we would see more than 2 parties *DEBATING*; you're talking about paid advertisements and that's a different ballgame altogether.

    One needs to remember that we're actually capable of making choices here and if you don't want to watch Sean Hannity, change the freakin' channel like the rest of us do.

     

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    mdr, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 3:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Misunderstanding

    You listed some public goods, but radio spectrum isn't the same as highways. It's allocated for business use, and the free market takes it from there.

    Regarding Fox; that's free speech. Nobody forces any one to watch Fox. Likewise, CNN is also slanted in the subtle ways in which they use language, and no one is forced to watch CNN either. A common problem liberals have is keeping in mind O'Reilly and Hannity are not NEWS anchors. They're talk shows, entertainment. When Fox does report NEWS with its NEWS ANCHORS, it's actually fairly neutral in tone and the connotation associated with their word choice. Katie Couric, on the other hand, is an emotional bag, and riding the fence between commentary with her big sad looks when a train goes off the rails and genuine news; she either needs to do one or the other.

    By the way, I'm an economist, I've taken many courses "beyond introductory levels", and I'm sorry to see perhaps your Russian influence on your view of what markets are and how efficient they are. The government has no place to regulate anything when speech is involved, such as in this issue, and when the government regulates... Well, it's funny our internet backbone is the highest capacity, both active and dark, on Earth, and it happens to be the least regulated, while the "last mile" to the house is among the most heavily regulated part of telecom on the planet and the service is miserable compared to other less-regulated nations, just to use a recent example out of the news.

    Liberty is never in more jeopardy than when congress is in session, remember that, russian comrade.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 10:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Misunderstanding

    OK, I'm glad you picked the example of education; its a great example toprove my point: Every country has some provate education, but name one country without public education that isn't a basket case.

    "And yet it's liberals who decry any governmental censorship of sexuality, violence or language on the public airwaves. It seems it's only political speech that they don't agree with that should be subject to such control."

    One again you completely miss or ignore the point. The neocons are the ones that wants to let corporation determine what political speach we hear. The left want everyone to get a chance to speak, not just those that serve the interests of a station's corporate owners and sponsors. The Fairness Doctrine does this by ensuring corporations can't exclude viewpoints from news (not fiction) broadcast over publicly-owned airwaves.

    "You should actually watch FNC before making such statements."

    I do watch it in my house, mostly out of morbid curiosity about how it's going to spin things to try to serve its GOP masters. It's also the news channel my parents watch, so I see it when I go visit them. They do occassionally have people from left of center on their shows, but their almost always outnumbered by the neocons they are debating on Fox. Mostly, Fox just doesn't bother.

    Oh, and O'Reilley has made numerous factually incorrect (and very offensive) statements that he has never owned up to. In two cases (at least) Fox actually physically changed in the transcripts it posted on the Fox news website to try to make what O'Reilley said sound not completely insane, until other news channels caught them and they had to change the transcripts back.

    Fox also sued two of its reporters in Florida for not changing their reports (in ways that would be making false statements) to placate Monsanto, a big corporate sponsor. In court, Fox argued that they had the right to lie and knowingly use false evidence in their news broadcasts and that asking their reporters to do so was not asking them to do anything unethical.

    So why don't you Fox News viewers stop being propaganda receptacles and actually start to think for yourselves and question what Fox News says.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
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    CareForFairness, Jan 17th, 2007 @ 10:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Misunderstanding

    Yeah, I'm an economist, too. So there's no way I could be the socialist you try to make me out to be. Not only that, I'm a free market economist. But when a public good is involved, as it is when we talk about broadcast bandwidth, then the theory gets more complex, and at least minimal regulation is almost always necessary.

    Remember, a court enforcing a contract or other agreement is regulation. Prosecuting someone for shopliftign is even a form of economic regulation. I don't think many peopel would argue for removing either one of those regulations.

    The question is how effectively we regulate and who benefits. Personally, I think the long-term public interest should always take precedence over corporate quarterly profits. But I see you feel differently...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
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    SirDiesAlot, Jan 18th, 2007 @ 5:16pm

    Well said, and I might add fairly balanced ;-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
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    buckey08, Jan 23rd, 2007 @ 7:32pm

    Who Decides What's Fair?

    The problem people have is not with the ideals of fairness and using public airways to benefit the general good. The problem is the way the law puts power into the governments hands to determine what "fair" is. One mans view of "fair" may not be same same as those of others. Also, arbitrary categories would have to be created by regulators to determine what views "count" as valid views deserving to be expressed; otherwise TV/radio would be a non-stop parade of people, each one voicing his own slightly different opinion on some subject. What happens if the FCC employees charged with deciding what is "fair" all happen to be of the same political ideology? Overnight, "fair" could be redefined as ultra-liberal/conservative and broadcasters expressing differing views could be deemed "unfair" and be subject to goverment force. A sure fire way to decide if a law gives the government too much power is to imagine how it could be used against you if your worst enemy was in charge. Applying this concept to the fairness doctrine, we find that the law gives governemt power to decide what ideas "count", making it a dangerous law for anyone who thinks their opinions matter regardless of that the government thinks of them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
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    Darth Chaos, Jan 23rd, 2007 @ 8:03pm

    Re: This is not about fairness

    The "Fairness" Doctrine is clearly doublespeak. The First Amendment says "Congress shall make NO LAW PROHIBITING the FREE EXERCISE of SPEECH". Did you hear that, you neolib scum in the Democratic Party? NO LAW! And they want to expand it to cable TV and even the internet.

    Meet the news boss...they sure as hell are same as the old boss. The neolibs are just as much anti-freedom NAZIS as the neocons.

    So I guess Alex Jones will now have to either shut down his radio show or put somebody on there who would explain why a New World Order would be "a good thing".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
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    Ben Gonzalez, Jan 24th, 2007 @ 9:34pm

    Re: access not

    First, you use a quote from Bill Moyers - someone that has profited from taxpayer dollars for a lifetime.

    I want a fairness doctrine applied to paper routes - how about that? I pay taxes for roads and bridges so who is going to ensure that the public roadways are allowing the equal access of ideas.

    The kooky left has their playground and thats the internet - you have a strong home. As though the AM dial is some kind of bohemoth to be reckoned. Then again, this whole issue is about silencing dissenting opinion.

    That whole bullcrap about money is drilled into the heads of some people so deeply that they can't even comprehend the concept of choice. To think that way you first have to assume that everyone is an idiot, consuming ideas, goods, or services only because someone is spending more money than the other person to get that message to them. I guess thats why the Dixie Chicks has a bigger audience than Slipknot right? - wait up, they don't. Of course, I can't escape news of the Dixie Chicks and the message about how popular they are and how much they represent public opinion. We all know of course that the reason more Slipknot songs get airplay than Dixie Chick songs is because the big corporate media knows that death metal is entertainment for mass consumption and the Dixie Chicks are counter culture......

    Do yourself a favor and take a communications class. Borrow a book on the subject from a friend or at least check one out from the library.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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