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Pearl City, HI, United States

Friday, July 06, 2007

Fairness Is As Fairness Does*

Rush, from the DittoCam

*Johnstown Tribune-Democrat 7/12/2007

Copyright © 2007 by Ralph Couey

Recently, the rumblings of support for the so-called “fairness doctrine” have begun to surface. The goal, according to the proponents, is to somehow legislate into existence some kind of counter to the 900-pound gorilla known as conservative talk radio. Air America Radio was intended to be that agent of balance, but despite the infusion of millions of George Soros money and the Star Power of Al Franken, it has been unable to gain nationwide traction with listeners or advertisers. AAR has lost several stations and last October filed for bankruptcy.

Faced with this failure and the continuing strong growth of conservative talkers like Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, and Savage, progressives seem intent on legislating what the free market failed to deliver.

The Fairness Doctrine was adopted by the FCC in 1949 in a time when frequencies were limited and the Commission was being flooded by license requests for new stations. In 1949, media outlets were considered “public trustees,” instead of private businesses. As the Museum of Broadcast Communications explains, “…broadcasters should make sure they did not use their stations simply as advocates with a singular perspective. Rather, they must allow all points of view. That requirement was to be enforced by FCC mandate.” (http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/F/htmlF/fairnessdoct/fairnessdoct.htm)