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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The "Unfairness Doctrine"

                    The "Unfairness Doctrine"

Lately, I’ve been reading that Al Gore and his friends at the Center for American Progress think it’s time to bring back the so-called "Fairness Doctrine." When I hear goofy ideas like this I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. 

What was the "Fairness Doctrine?" It was a law that said a radio (or TV) station had to give equal time for FREE to anyone who disagreed with an on-air editorial or a talk-radio host. That meant that radio stations had to give away air-time that others need to pay for. This law nearly destroyed AM radio, and it was anything but fair.

The market place is not perfect, but it is about as fair as is possible on this side of heaven.

Consumers (that’s you and I) get to "vote" with their dollars as to what they want to hear on the radio. It certainly is a lot more fair than letting some bureaucrat or other third party decide what’s best for you and I to hear.

But the catch is that liberals like Gore have not been successful in competing in the marketplace of ideas, so they want to force radio stations to give them time for free to get their point of view across. Obviously, the existing liberal monopoly on television, newspapers and news magazines isn’t good enough for the left. Apparently they have decided that the only way to get their way with public policy is to silence their critics through the power of government.

They have made numerous attempts to counter talk-radio through efforts like Air America, but after pouring millions of dollars into Air America, it has failed and failed again. So, what else is a liberal to do, but to use government to force people to not only listen to their liberal ideas on ABC, CBS or NBC, but also for FREE on the radio across the nation.

Of course, liberals strongly object to the idea of a biased news media, even in the face of countless studies and reports showing their bias. In fact, liberal bias exists and the fact that it masquerades as objective news makes it all the more less than honest. At least talk-radio hosts make no bones about the fact that they have an agenda and a point of view. They don’t pretend to be unbiased observers.

Nevertheless, Al Gore, in his latest book, expresses concern about the danger and threat of Americans being led astray by talk show hosts that don’t happen to agree with his perspective. He thinks something must be done and clearly he believes what must be done is the re-imposition of the "Fairness Doctrine." John Halpin, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress said that the current policy, "…does not meet any reasonable public-interest standard."

Apparently both Mr. Gore and Mr. Halpin feel they are qualified to decide what is and what is not in the public interest. In truth, neither Gore nor Halpin have any concept of freedom or fairness.
What is fairness? Fairness is when I create a radio program that draws listeners, causing commercial sponsors to pay for air time, resulting in a profit for both of us. Unfairness is when you use the government to force the radio station to give you FREE time to respond to my ideas because you can draw neither an audience nor sponsors.

Suppose I own a theater that hosts musical entertainers. You are a talented musician and draw a full house, making money for yourself and money for me as a theater owner. Another person who thinks of himself as talented, but does not have an audience, complains, feeling he is at a disadvantage. So he gets government to force me to accommodate him in my theater for FREE. Just how long do you think I would stay in business? That’s really what the so-called "Fairness Doctrine" is all about.

The reality is that liberal ideas can’t compete in an open and fair marketplace, so they want to use the power of government to impose their views on you and I – they don’t want any competition. They honestly think it’s for our own good.

In fact, they believe they are a bit smarter and wiser than you and I are and that they know how to run our lives better than we do. They consider themselves to be more enlightened and more sophisticated, and therefore they should make decisions about our lives that we are just not competent enough to make.

The long and short of it is that liberals just don’t trust the common man. It’s another good reason to oppose re-imposition of the unfair "Fairness Doctrine.

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