Today Fred Thompson wrote a piece today on the Fairness Doctrine at his website:
The real issue here is not what you “can” see or hear — which is what the Fairness Doctrine was about originally. It’s what you’re “choosing” to see or hear.
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Insiders say it was the collapse of the radio station “Air America” that led to this attempt to retool the Fairness Doctrine as a form of de facto censorship. I guess the idea is that, if you can’t compete in the world of ideas, you pass a law that forces radio stations to air your views. In effect, it would force a lot of radio stations to drop some talk show hosts — because they would lose money providing equal airtime to people who can’t attract a market or advertisers.
The funny thing is that the success of the current crop of radio talk show hosts is due, in part, to a lot of people’s perception that broadcast television doesn’t give the views of their audience a fair shake. Maybe I shouldn’t admit it, since I dabble in radio myself, but this media used to be viewed as a kind of broadcast ghetto. The bicoastal elite had such a grip on the major newspapers and television networks; they pretty much ignored the hinterlands. It was media flyover country.
Now congressional leaders say they want to “level the playing field” there too – meaning they want to diminish the importance of conservative talk radio. In other words, they don’t trust the results of freedom and the marketplace. Why am I not surprised?