Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Fairness Doctrine woes...

And slicing through the fog with the best line of the day.

For those who aren't fully aware, the Fairness Doctrine (in abbreviated form) is this:
The policy of the United States Federal Communications Commission that became known as the "Fairness Doctrine" is an attempt to ensure that all coverage of controversial issues by a broadcast station be balanced and fair. The FCC took the view, in 1949, that station licensees were "public trustees," and as such had an obligation to afford reasonable opportunity for discussion of contrasting points of view on controversial issues of public importance. The Commission later held that stations were also obligated to actively seek out issues of importance to their community and air programming that addressed those issues. With the deregulation sweep of the Reagan Administration during the 1980s, the Commission dissolved the fairness doctrine.
Keep in mind, that's a very abbreviated explanation of a policy that has been thoroughly examined, criticized, lauded and has been adjudicated upon by the US Supreme Court several times. The elimination of the "Fairness Doctrine" by the Reagan administration was done essentially on the precept that it violated the right of free speech guaranteed under the 1st Amendment of the US constitution, (a view with which the US Supreme Court did not agree), particularly with respect to licensed broadcast stations.

So, when the notion of reintroducing the Fairness Doctrine starts to move around inside the Beltway it's not surprising that those making the loudest noises complaining against any such reintroduction all come from a particular corner - the mouthpieces of the Republican party. And it's not that there is recommended legislation laying about waiting for debate, it's that the conservative punditry wants a definitive answer as to whether the Obama administration is even considering it.

The answer to that is that it doesn't matter. And Cathie cuts right through the issue to the core of what is actually going on:
They're going to chatter about something, so it actually doesn't matter whether Obama wants to reinstate this or not, as long as right-wing radio remains afraid that he might. And the more they emote and weep and wail about it, the more they are admitting to their listeners that they AREN"T actually fair.

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