Is anything ever really Fair?
The Fairness Doctrine certainly isn’t. I have written about this before, and like I said then it is being brought back around again. I think this is a collossal mistake across the board. If we are going to selectively start applying the Constitution then we are opening some very gray doors. The Fairness Doctrine sounds very much like something that would violate the First Ammendment. The very same Ammendment that is used to basically censor religion already.
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that expressly prohibits the United States Congress from making laws “respecting an establishment of religion” or that prohibit the free exercise of religion, laws that infringe the freedom of speech, infringe the freedom of the press, limit the right to peaceably assemble, or limit the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Note the bolded part. Free Speech. Freedom of the Press. These are the types of things being tampered with here.
James Gattuso at the Foundry has some information about the Durbin Bill that has been introduced to counter the measure put forth by DeMint.
Interestingly, the Durbin amendment doesn’t actually address the Fairness Doctrine itself. Supporters of such a direct attempt to reimpose the doctrine know that such an direct attempt to return to the speech-muzzling rules of the past would be doomed to fail. Notably, even President Obama has declined to support such a step. Instead, the measure would simply require the FCC to promote “diversity” in media ownership and to ensure that broadcast stations licenses are used “in the public interest.”
But who’s to say after all what constitutes proper “diversity” and what is in the “public interest?” Would diversity be enhanced if there were less time devoted to conservative views? Would the “public interest” be served by increasing airtime for Bill Press and Air America?
Just a few days ago the pro-regulation advocacy group Free Press issued a report entitled “The Fairness Doctrine Distraction,” outlining just such a strategy. The problem, the group has long argued, is an imbalance in talk radio – specifically too many conservative voices. But the solution is not the Fairness Doctrine per se. The solution is stricter ownership rules governing who can hold a broadcast license, stricter “localism” and other public interest requirements, and strict rules on the Internet to enforce “neutrality” there.