Fairness Doctrine Sleight Of Hand

Referring to the little war going on over the Fairness Doctrine. Why is it that only Republicans seem to favor free speech nowadays? I can say that because there is not one Democrat that is a co-sponsor of the Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2009. And Democrats’ opinions are all over the place. Some agree that regulating free speech, including and especially political speech, is necessary and should be content-neutral, like Barack Obama, and some are, oh, I’ll call them deniers, like Craig Aaron, who think that Republicans’ concern that the Fairness Doctrine will find its way back under an Obama administration ‘is completely imaginary.’ That, and that he says there are no bills pending to reinstate it, so there’s nothing to worry about.

And then there’s this guy (girl?), NewsCorpse, who must be a superdenier when he says . . .

Conservatives fear that Liberals want to destroy talk radio. Oh please! They can have talk radio. It’s last century’s broadcasting platform.

Aaron says . . .

Let’s review: It wasn’t in the Democratic Party platform. No bill has been introduced in the Democrat-controlled Congress. No FCC rules are pending. And President-elect Barack Obama has stated unequivocally that he “does not support re-imposing” the Fairness Doctrine.

See if you can spot a reason for concern here. A denier will say that Obama does not support the Fairness Doctrine.

And Obama’s position is . . .

‘He considers this debate to be a distraction from the conversation we should be having about opening up the airwaves and modern communications to as many diverse viewpoints as possible. That is why Sen. Obama supports media-ownership caps, network neutrality, public broadcasting, as well as increasing minority ownership of broadcasting and print outlets.’

I like the part where he defines restricting the airways as opening up the airwaves. Now that you know Obama’s position on the Fairness Doctrine, did he not make that perfectly clear? He isn’t in favor of the Fairness Doctrine. He is in favor of ‘network neutrality.’ Know what that is? That’s Democrat-speak for the Fairness Doctrine.

Where in the First Amendment does it say that the government should make speech content neutral? If the government MAKES anything about speech, or makes any law regarding the content of political speech (the very kind of speech that the 1st Amendment was drawn up to protect), then IT ISN’T FREE is it? It is regulated.

I don’t know what Aaron was doing when he said that no FCC rules are pending. Is that supposed to make you feel complacent, and satisfied that there isn’t anything coming out of the FCC to cause concern? He is either not informed on WHY there is nothing coming out of the FCC, or he knows why and is being deceptive about it. You make the call.

So, if the Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2009 is so trivial and even unnecessary, then what is the problem with allowing it to come to the Senate floor for a vote? If it is so inconsequential, that nobody really wants to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine, then there shouldn’t be any opposition to INSURING that it won’t be reinstated, either in its original form or in some other form.

links: Huffington Post | News Corpse | The First Amendment Needs Protecting