Last updated: March 3, 2009 - 9:48am
[Commentary] A new Fairness Doctrine, which could be imposed either by legislation or through Federal Communications Commission rule changes, wouldn't achieve more balance. Rather, it would obliterate political talk radio. If a station ran a popular conservative show it would face pressure to run a liberal alternative, even though almost all left-leaning efforts to date have failed to capture either listeners or advertising revenue. Now imagine all the lawyers that stations would have to hire to meet the new requirements, not to mention the burden involved in measuring and reporting just how much time was devoted to this topic or that. Many radio executives, already fighting for profits in a world of intense competition, would find the expense unsupportable and switch formats to sports or entertainment. Some might get out of the business entirely. The Obama administration may say that it doesn't back a new Fairness Doctrine, but it has suggested it might support another reform, called "localism," which should also worry defenders of media freedom. Localism would impose greater "local accountability" on broadcasters -- that is, it would force stations to carry more local programming. Localism, as sketched out in a recent FCC report, also could require stations to set up permanent community advisory boards (including "underserved community segments") that would have to be regularly consulted on "community needs and issues."
[Brian C. Anderson is the editor of City Journal and the coauthor, with Adam Thierer, of "A Manifesto for Media Freedom."]
- Fairness Doctrine Returns to Front Burner
- FCC's Chessen: Fairness Doctrine talk is 'conspiratorial'
- Limbaugh Is Right on the Fairness Doctrine
- Commissioner McDowell At The Media Institute Luncheon
- Bush Advisor Warns Against Re-Instating Fairness Doctrine
- Free Press Sends Letter to FCC, Congress in Support of Mark Lloyd
- Senate Rejects Second Attempt To Ban Fairness Doctrine
- Air Wars Break out over Fairness Doctrine
- Bills Would Block FCC on Fairness Doctrine
- The Coming Counterrevolution To Hush The Alternative Media
- Schumer on Fox: Fairness Doctrine 'fair and balanced'
- Martin Reinforces Opposition To Fairness Doctrine
- Senate backs ban on media 'Fairness Doctrine'
- Don't fear the fairness doctrine
- Obama Restates Opposition to Return of Fairness Doctrine