Fairness Doctrine – aka: Make Them Listen

I have been following the stories in the news about the so-called “fairness crocktrine doctrine” lately and I think it is something that people need to clearly understand. I was going to write my own opinion about this slippery-fish of an idea – but it turns out, there are already so many people addressing the issue that anything I could say has already been said (and probably more eloquently). So – I am going to include a series of quotes, articles and video/audio clips below for you to review. Please take a few moments to educate yourself.

In the spirit of “fairness:”

You are about to read something that you may not agree with. Note that I am not forcing you to agree with me. Neither am I forcing you to read this blog. It is by YOUR choice that you are here. YOU must decide what you think for yourself. YOU are not obligated to continue visiting WhatTheCrap? if you do not wish to be here. Not only that – If you disagree with my point of view – you are free to express your opinions below in the post comments or you can go somewhere else.

Most importantly -ask yourself this question:

Do I require the Government to decide for me what is “fair?”

If your answer to the above question was “yes” – please remove you hand from your mouse (it’s the round shaped object under one of your hands that makes little clicky noises when you press your fingers on it) and press the power button on your computer until the screen goes blank. If you don’t know what a power button is – refer to the picture below:

Socket - Unplugg

By now, you may be beginning to see my point. Here come the articles and quotes (My own thoughts will be in italics):

On The History of The Fairness Doctrine

“Beginning in 1949, the Federal Communications Commission and its precursor developed and enforced the so-called Fairness Doctrine. The Fairness Doctrine required broadcasters to present controversial issues in a fair and balanced manner. However, because of the lack of clarity in the Commission’s ruling, broadcasters opted to offer non-controversial programming in lieu of hours of paperwork or countless legal fees.”

-Rep. Mike Pence

“The Fairness Doctrine was a Federal Communication Commission regulation that dates back to 1947. Under the regulation, station licensees were considered “public trustees” that had an obligation to present multiple perspectives on public issues. In the 1987 case Meredith Corp. v. FCC, the courts ruled the regulation was not mandated by Congress and the FCC was not obligated to enforce it. As a result,the FCC discarded the Fairness Doctrine.”

Amanda Carpenter

Basically, at one point in history, there were only a handful of tv and radio stations available – thus – the concept of “fairness over the airwaves”, at the time, made some sense. Now the internet exists, there are hundreds of TV stations, and thousands of different things to listen to on the radio. The “fairness doctrine” was rightly – discarded. But wait – some want it back…

The Fairness Doctrine Will Rise Again

“Since 1985 when FCC Chairman Mark S. Fowler announced that the Doctrine violated the First Amendment and harmed the public interest, the Left has been in a state of denial. They believed that the constitutionality of the Doctrine would ultimately be upheld as it had been in Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC in 1969. And since 1987, when the Doctrine DID go away, the Left has never stopped trying to bring it back.

In that very year, Congress tried to contest the FCC’s abandonment of the regulation. Legislation to fully restore the Doctrine made it to President Ronald Reagan’s desk, and he promptly vetoed it. Another attempt to bring back the Doctrine in 1991 failed when President George H.W. Bush made it known that he, too, would veto such a measure.

The Fairness in Broadcasting Act of 1993, sponsored by Ernest Hollings (D.-S.C.) in the Senate and Bill Hefner (D.-N.C.) in the House would have placed the Doctrine into law, but it went nowhere.

As of 2007, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I.-Vt.), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D.-Ohio), and Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D.-N.Y.) are announced supporters of returning the Doctrine. But perhaps the most up-front proponent is Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D.-N.Y.) whose MEDIA ACT (HR. 4710) would reinstate the Fairness Doctrine and ensure that broadcasters present discussions of conflicting views on issues of public importance.

Now comes California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, telling FOX News Sunday that talk radio “pushes people, to, I think, extreme views without a lot of information.” And when Chris Wallace asked her if she would revive the Fairness Doctrine, she said, “I’m looking at it because I think there ought to be an opportunity to present the other side” On that same telecast, Republican Sen. Trent Lott had to respond to his comment that “talk radio is running America and we have to deal with that problem.”

Then, theres a new 40-page report from the Center for American Progress and the Free Press entitled “The Structural Imbalance of Talk Radio.” The report laments the right wing domination of talk radio and discusses how to end it. One of the authors is Paul “Woody” Woodhull, who has a stake in the issue since hes a financial backer of two liberal talk hosts: Ed Schultz and Bill Press.”

Lynn Woolley

Speaker Pelosi has reportedly promised to “aggressively pursue” revival of the poorly-titled “Fairness Doctrine,” whose regulations would mandate that radio stations featuring the views of conservatives like Michael Medved, Hugh Hewitt, or Bill O’Reilly “balance” those views (in the name of diversity) with an “equal” dose of, say, Al Franken, Randi Rhodes, or Thom Hartmann – all proven failures in a free radio market.

Alan Sears

And, of course, everyone’s favorite has-been chimes in:

“I think the Fairness Doctrine ought to be there and I also think equal time doctrine ought to come back. I mean these are the people who wiped out one of the most profound changes in the balance of the media is when the conservatives got rid of the equal time requirements. And the result is that, you know, they’ve been able to squeeze down and squeeze out opinion of opposing views and I think it’s been an important transition in the imbalance of our public…”

– John Kerry

Thanks John! Without your divine wisdom I wouldn’t know any better, because obviously, I’m just another one of those mindless sheep conservatives that believes everything I’m told. Meanwhile – back in reality-land: People chose freely not to listen to Liberal Talk Radio – thus their ratings flew into the crapper faster than Dysentery Gary, and they couldn’t drive ad revenues.

Sadly, the You’re-All-Brainless-Peasants Ride doesn’t end here. Even some Republican leaders are whining about fairness because they had to answer opposition to the recent pathetic amnesty bill sham. Here’s senator Trent “Talk-radio-is-running-America” Lott:

“The above clip is a wonderful way to start the week. It’s Trent Lott and Diane Feinstein discussing the intricacies of the immigration bill and the Fairness Doctrine. Actually, they’re not so much discussing the intricacies of the immigration bill as saying you can’t understand said intricacies unless you have the kind of giant brain that only a Senator typically possesses. Certainly it’s ludicrous to suggest that a creature so lowly as a talk-show host has the kind of intellect necessary to comprehend this brilliant piece of legislative legerdemain.”

Dean Barnett

Here former Ed. Secretary Bill Bennett’s take

“…People who not only speak well, and are interesting and worth listening to, but read and think about these issues… These are very thoughtful people.” –Bennett

The Reality Of “Fairness”

Free Market. Oops – I gave it away…

“The best way for people to understand this is that a country western station succeeds because people know it’s a country western station. They know any hour of the day or night if they punch that button into their car radio they are going to get country music. They don’t expect that the country music is going to be balanced by hip-hop or the Metropolitan opera.”

-Michael Medved

“The organization’s report, titled “The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio,” expresses a need to “close the gap” between conservative and Left-wing programming. It also advocates increasing “ownership diversity, both in terms of the race/ethnicity and gender of owners, as well as the number of independent local owners,” which in the Left’s view would lead to more “diverse” programs. So instead of capitalism, we get the Leftist cure-all: quotas.

In a free market, the listeners decide which radio programs live and which die. Forcing stations to operate not on the basis of ratings and ad revenue, but in an ideological and multi-cultural affirmative-action system that dictates “fairness,” is not only unconstitutional – it’s downright Soviet. It’s offensive to the economic marketplace; it’s suffocating to the vital marketplace of ideas.”

The left-wing’s failure to capture anything beyond a tiny niche market isn’t the fault of the FCC, nor of the dormant Fairness Doctrine. The “blame” rests with radio listeners who came, listened, and chose to tune out of “Dead Air” America.

-Alan Sears

Pence takes steps to clarify and stop the “fairness doctrine.”

If they won’t choose to listen, we’ll just make them.

Firstly, the whole idea is ludicrous. How in the world would you regulate something like this? Who is going to be the non-objective overseer that decides what is a fair viewpoint? What is considered fair? Would only two views have to be presented? To be truly fair – wouldn’t you have to present all views (an impossibility)? Would Christian radio programs have to also provide a Jewish view, a Muslim view, a Satanist’s view, and an Athiest’s view? Absurd, I say!!

Here’s the real bottom line: People freely choose to listen to talk radio. No-one is forcing them to agree. I would venture that most people (especially conservatives) that listen to talk radio, do so because they want to be more involved and hear what’s going on. They are free to call in and voice their opinions. The reason conservative talk radio does so well is because people choose to support it. The reason Air America’s ratings are in…


…and they’re bankrupt is because people don’t support their shows.

So, if people won’t freely listen to Liberal Talk Radio, what’s the next step?

Make them listen to it.

That’s what the “fairness doctrine” really comes down to. The government will legislate away people’s free choice of what they want to support. Classic Big Government thinking. And yes, you ought to be fired up about this by now. This is the epitome of What The Crap!



2 Responses to “Fairness Doctrine – aka: Make Them Listen”

  1. What the Crap? How can you be Pro-Choice… « Says:

    […] you be Pro-Choice… June 28th, 2007 — whatthecrap? …and support the “fairness doctrine?” Posted in Fairness […]

  2. Steve Says:

    One Word Comes To Mind:


    If People Don’t Listen To Liberal Talk Radio And In Turn The Broadcasts Go Bankrupt, Then We Shouldn’t Be FORCED To Listen To Liberal Talk Radio. If I Wanted To Listen To It, I Would.

    I Love This Quote, “The best way for people to understand this is that a country western station succeeds because people know it’s a country western station. They know any hour of the day or night if they punch that button into their car radio they are going to get country music. They don’t expect that the country music is going to be balanced by hip-hop or the Metropolitan opera.”

    -Michael Medved

    ‘Cause That’s Exactly What I Want On My Drive Home From Work: To Hit The Country Station Button And Get Some “Culture” When I Find Snoop Dogg Rappin’ “Drop It Like It’s Hooooot, Drop It Like It’s Hooooot. *Roof Roof!*”

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