FCC Commissioner: Return of 'Fairness Doctrine' Could Control Web Content

[/FONT]FCC Commissioner: Return of ‘Fairness Doctrine’ Could Control Web Content…** **


There’s a huge concern among conservative talk radio hosts that reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine would all-but destroy the industry due to equal time constraints. But speech limits might not stop at radio. They could even be extended to include the Internet and “government dictating content policy.”

 FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell raised that as a possibility after talking with bloggers at the [[/FONT]Heritage Foundation]("http://www.heritage.org/") in Washington, D.C. McDowell spoke about a recent [[/FONT]FCC vote to bar Comcast from engaging in certain Internet practices]("http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/djf500/200808011213DOWJONESDJONLINE000741_FORTUNE5.htm") – expanding the federal agency’s oversight of Internet networks. 


 The commissioner, a [[/FONT]2006 President Bush appointee]("http://www.fcc.gov/commissioners/mcdowell/"), told the Business & Media Institute the Fairness Doctrine could be intertwined with the net neutrality battle. The result might end with the government regulating content on the Web, he warned. McDowell, who was against reprimanding Comcast, said the net neutrality effort could win the support of “a few isolated conservatives” who may not fully realize the long-term effects of government regulation.

businessandmedia.org/articles/2008/20080812160747.aspx

Under the guidelines of the Fairness Doctrine, if the Doctrine is instituted would it also be law that if a “fair” position is stated then an “unfair” position must also be stated. For example, if a news person states that a woman has a right to choose an abortion then there must also be someone present who says that a women does not have the right to choose? Or if someone is talking about civil rights, they must also give airtime to the KKK?
Somehow, I don’t think this will be the case.

The options seem to be governmental imposed fairness in the presentation of views or content being dictated by massive media conglomerations answerable only to their stockholders.

I will take the former; at least I can take someone to court over biased content. FCC deregulation gives too much power to too few people and raises the important question of “which perspectives are we NOT hearing?”

The only bugaboo here is the word “government”. If your fear is the presentation of viewpoints favorable to one administration or another I would submit that at least that administration was (in theory) democratically elected. How democratic are the corporations that control our media content now?

In reality our whole political system is so polluted with lobbyists and politicians beholden to special interests to get into power that our “democracy” is really a corportocracy. What a sad state of affairs.

I don’t see how government interference is a good thing, unless you are looking to have opinions you don’t share shut down. Who gets to decide what is fair? Nancy Pelosi? George Bush?

Corporations are out to make money (which is not a bad thing). So they will put out a product (like Rush Limbaugh, or Keith Olberman, or Sean Hannity or Tom Hartman) that listeners want to hear. A government imposed system of “fairness” will only ensure the end to free speech, since you will be forcing viewpoints onto the air that nobody wants to hear. If a radio talk show host spends 3 hours talking about how slavery is a bad thing, must we give 3 hours of equal time to someone who feels slavery is a good thing?

Are you saying that a democratically elected administration should have the right to limit viewpoints unfavorable to them?

The customers control the content. If corporations are too stupid to provide the content their customers want, they do so at their own peril (via lost revenues).

How in the world does this *not *blatantly violate the first amendment. The same issue came up over campaign reform. How did we go from government not being allowed to infringe on freedom of speech to government mandating how much time is to be spent on each “side,” with the concept of “each side” being subject to whatever bureacrat is making the decision? I wonder which talk show hosts will be ordered cut down? :rolleyes:

Liberals will hang their hat on “the airwaves belong to the people”. They don’t care that it violates the concept of “free speech”, because radio is dominated by conservatives. If they can silence Limbaugh, et. al, then in their eyes, that is a good thing, and to heck with the constitution. They still dominate television and newspapers, so no real skin off their nose. Don’t think for a second that the democratic leadership care about free speech for all…only free speech for their viewpoint.

The Fairness Doctrine was implemented because broadcasters do not own the frequencies on which they broadcast; they are borrowing them from the public. Therefore, they have by law, responsibilities to the public to act in the public good. Hence, the responsibility to permit all sides of a public issue to be heard.

On the other hand, there is no intrinsic limit to bandwidth on the internet, and the domains are owned by the people putting content on them.

This Commissioner is either a Marxist who thinks property is illegal, or simply raising boogeymen to keep fairness out of the broadcast industry.

No one should take him seriously. And I often wonder how people can argue that making sure public airwaves are open to people of differing opinions can be “ending free speech.”

Isn’t allowing someone to prevent all viewpoints from being heard ending free speech?

Big Brother is alive and working for the Bush administration.

Ideally it may seem nice and peachy to have all views alloted equal time, but in practicality and reality, that will not be the case. Either stations will stay away from anything that can possibly be deemed “controversial” by any group so as to avoid the headaches and paperwork that go on behind the scenes involving guests, or if a certain party is in power and control over every aspect of government then they will only enforce the policy if their side isn’t receiving equal time, not if the opposing side is not receiving equal time. It’s time to live in the real world. Catholic radio stations would cease to exist, as would any other stations that are non-music. Frankly, life would be chaotic. And what is the next step, speech from the pulpit being outlawed if it is not presented with the opposing view? Will priests be required to have an Atheist come and speak on why God supposedly doesn’t exist? Don’t just look at your hatred of the Bush administration, look at it as reality, both sides struggle for power and will undermine any and all attempts to speak out against them.

The “fairness doctrine” was instituted by Roosevelt to silence his critics. It has never been about fairness, it has been about silencing anyone who does not agree with the liberal perversions. It will only be applied to those who do not agree with the left. CNN/ABC/CBS/NBC will never be charged although they are almost 100% liberal. Fox however, will be persecuted even though they have a number of leftists on the staff.

Also, when the “fairness doctrine” was in place, there was limited options. That is not the case anymore.

The liberal side of the issues has been presented by Air America, and others and no one wants to listen to the vitriole and hate. So they can’t get sponsors, the listenership goes down and they fail. The fairness doctrine is only the tip of the iceberg. What will they regulate next?

Barbarian observes:
And I often wonder how people can argue that making sure public airwaves are open to people of differing opinions can be “ending free speech.”

Isn’t allowing someone to prevent all viewpoints from being heard ending free speech?

Big Brother is alive and working for the Bush administration.

Ideally it may seem nice and peachy to have all views alloted equal time,

On public property, yes. That’s why the Fairness Doctrine could not apply to the internet, on which the domains are private property. The law establishing the FCC requires anyone granted the privilege of broadcasting on public airwaves serve the public. The marketplace of ideas is an American value.

but in practicality and reality, that will not be the case.

Oh, it’s impractical to have American values. I see.

Either stations will stay away from anything that can possibly be deemed “controversial” by any group so as to avoid the headaches and paperwork that go on behind the scenes involving guests, or if a certain party is in power and control over every aspect of government then they will only enforce the policy if their side isn’t receiving equal time, not if the opposing side is not receiving equal time.

When the Fairness Doctrine was in place, we didn’t see that. Granted there wasn’t Rush Limbaugh or other foul-mouthed shock jocks all over the dial. But most Americans don’t see that as a problem. If you want to spew racist or sexist drivel, it’s not too much of a imposition for the broadcaster to give time for someone to give a rebuttal.

It’s time to live in the real world.

I grew up in the real world, with the Fairness Doctrine. We got better and more accurate news then, than we do now.

Catholic radio stations would cease to exist, as would any other stations that are non-music.

That’s odd; there were plenty of them when I grew up.

Frankly, life would be chaotic.

Life is chaotic now. Always has been. But the truth remains.

And what is the next step, speech from the pulpit being outlawed if it is not presented with the opposing view?

Remember the difference between doing it on your own property, and doing it with airwaves that you don’t own. BTW, the Bush people didn’t do this. People dislike they way he’s damaged America in a lot of ways, but that isn’t one of them.

The “fairness doctrine” was instituted by Roosevelt to silence his critics.

Let’s see… requiring that all points of view be permitted to be heard is “silencing critics.” Yep. Big Brother is still out there trying.

Let’s see… requiring that all points of view be permitted to be heard is “silencing critics.” Yep. Big Brother is still out there trying.

in a culture which is mostly christian and recognizes the natural law, i may agree that the fairness doctrine can work. but we live in a debased society. our government should not be the arbiters of what is fair at this point. this would most likely attack catholic radio and tv who speak out against homosexuality, abortion, divorce and contraception.

I don’t see why one side should be permitted to dominate over another. Both should have equal time. That doesn’t infringe on anyone’s rights and certainly wouldn’t destroy the industry.

So Catholic radio stations should be required to have a member of Planned Parenthood interviewed to tell the listening audience why abortion is good?

They shouldn’t have to but then a liberal owned radio station should not have to accept Catholic advertising either. That’s my application of fairness.

there is hope for you yet, goofyjim :smiley:

so where have you been?

I wasn’t talking about advertising, I was talking about guests of radio programs.

Personally I just don’t like hanging out around these forums like I used to. I’m finding much better things to do with life.:wink:

:stuck_out_tongue:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.