Commentary – Beware the 'fairness doctrine'So what’s the fairness doctrine, you ask? To begin with, it is anything but fair. For all intents and purposes it is a censorship doctrine, conceived by Democrats in Washington and by the far-left organization, inappropriately named the Center for American Progress.
By Jerry Haberer
So what’s the fairness doctrine, you ask? To begin with, it is anything but fair. For all intents and purposes it is a censorship doctrine, conceived by Democrats in Washington and by the far-left organization, inappropriately named the Center for American Progress. The goal is to stifle the free speech rights of conservative talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Lars Larson and Minnesota’s own Mr. Right, Jason Lewis. The principal objective is to force radio broadcast companies to carry programs with a liberal message that, so far, does not appeal to the majority of Americans.
Talk radio is a thriving industry, as illustrated by the tens of millions of Americans who listen to conservative radio hosts every day. It is something people want to hear. They want to make their own choices and not have the government force programming on them at the expense of what they really want to hear. Shouldn’t the American public make its own choices? For the government and politicians to do otherwise is a violation of our basic rights to choice, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Here’s an example of the lengths to which some politicians and ideologues will go.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tried to censor Rush Limbaugh, for example, accusing him of saying that military personnel against the war in Iraq were phony soldiers. Limbaugh made no such statement. Nevertheless, Reid pulled together 45 signatures on a letter to Mark Mays, president and CEO of Clear Channel Communications, demanding that he renounce Rush Limbaugh. Instead, Mays gave the letter to Limbaugh, and Limbaugh auctioned it off on eBay, raising $4.2 million for the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation charity. That action made Reid and his fellow Democrat senators look like complete fools.
The Democrats have been beating the drums for a Fairness Act for many years. So far they have failed to turn their desires into law. It’s just one more area where politicians and government have tried to choke off conservative thought and conservative radio programming. They have failed, too, to come up with a viable alternative that appeals to the American public. They tried out Air America with such name callers and screamers as Al Franken and Randy Rhodes, but the effort was a complete failure.
Now, with a bigger Democrat majority in Congress, they will surely be trying again. They want to force free-enterprise radio stations and broadcasting giants like Clear Channel Communications and others to carry programming that does not interest the American public. They want to force people to give up what they want for something they do not want. They seem to want everyone to be forced into thinking as they think, controlling the American public from cradle to grave.
Some claim they are only trying to make certain the airwaves are fair for all. After all, they say, the airwaves belong to the people. Good. Then let the people choose. Not some partisan Washington bureaucrat pencil pusher with a biased agenda against free expression.