Fairness versus Freedom

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John Berlau exposes left-wing hopes to attack the First Amendment by reviving the evil “fairness doctrine” which requires all federally-regulated media to give “equal time” to both sides of a political issues. Proponents of the doctrine claim it will expand political debate by making sure all sides are heard. In fact the fairness doctrine stifles debate by giving TV and radio stations an incentive to minimize political discussions so as not to turn their programing decisions over to the FCC.

While the environmentalists are most eager to bring the “fairness doctrine” back to life, the left should remember that if the fairness doctrine could be used to against left-wing critics of the warfare state just as easily as it can be used to silence right-wing critics of the welfare state.

However, the rise of non-federally-regulated media, such as the Internet, cable TV, and satellite radio may moot any attempt to use a revived fairness doctrine to silence unapproved speech….or it may lead to a push to extend the reach of the federal regulatory state.

7:40 pm on November 2, 2006