Wednesday, August 01, 2007

How Fair Would A Renewed
Fairness Doctrine Be?

After media giant Rupert Murdoch’s recent deal to purchase of the Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal, many Democrats and the left will be screaming with more vigor for the return of the Fairness Doctrine.

But just how fair would a renewed Fairness Doctrine be, assuming it would be the same one that was abandoned more than 20 years ago? The doctrine was essentially for licensed broadcast media networks, television and radio, to report on issues fairly and with balance.

However, in 1987, the FCC deemed the Fairness Doctrine unconstitutional because it placed a restriction on the journalistic freedom of the broadcast press.

But lately, the doctrine is in huge demand, with a fair dose of one-sidedness from its supporters.

It’s hypocritical for Democrats and liberals, self-knighted caretakers of free speech, to want to restrict what they see as conservative takeover of the airwaves. With the spread and popular growth of conservative talk radio and the FOX News network, many on the progressive side want to squash it.

It almost seems that the Democrats and the left want to actually confine the American public from freely choosing what they want to watch and listen too. It certainly does not sound very fair, does it?

But would a newly reinstated Fairness Doctrine, assuming it would be the same one that was abandoned so many years ago, actually help the Democrats and the left?

For example, let’s say MSNBC is interviewing war-activist Cindy Sheehan about her run for Congress and Sheehan again says that President Bush lied about former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction. Would MSNBC be forced to have include Georges Sada, a retired general of the Iraqi Air Force, who has claimed that the former dictator had the WMD shipped to Syria?

Or better yet, if presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich is on CNN and is discussing how he is in favor of renewing the ban on assault-type weapons, would CNN be required to show a U.S. Department of Justice study that showed the bill did not stop crime?

The Fairness Doctrine would definitely come back and haunt the Democrats and the left and it would undermine their chances of winning the White House in 2008.

But the left and the Democrats seem hell-bent to reinstate the doctrine, as if to rid conservative talk radio. However, that is as likely as Hillary Clinton reciting the reasons why her husband launched Operation Desert Fox against Hussein, which mirrors those of President Bush’s.

What many liberals and Democrats have to understand is why conservative talk radio is so popular and why the liberal Air America isn’t. It all comes down to money and ratings and it’s as simple as that. Or maybe they do get it and that’s why they are so upset with the popularity to begin with.

Let’s face it, if ABC thought it could gain more advertising and more people tuning in to listen to finger nails on a chalkboard, we would never hear Sean Hannity’s voice on the airwaves again.

There is a big difference between reporting on the news and commenting on it. Placing the Fairness Doctrine on talk radio is wrong, because it doesn’t report the news but gives an opinionated commentary about it, thus restricting hosts' freedom of speech.

If the Democrats and the left truly want fairness and balance, then they would abandon their witch hunt against talk radio and place their efforts in having the doctrine only for reporting the news.

Clearly, fairer, objective and balanced reporting on the issues would be far more beneficial to the American public then limiting the opinion that the majority of America wants to tune into.