Feb 6 2009
Iran’s government dictates what artists can say because it claims it needs to “strike a balance“ between domestic and Western culture.
U.S. Government-Enforced “Balance”
“Our massive strategy was to use the Fairness Doctrine to challenge and harass right-wing broadcasters and hope the challenges would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue.”--Bill Ruder, Democratic campaign consultant and Assistant Secretary of Commerce, Kennedy Administration
Many supporters of the Fairness Doctrine are concerned about this explosion of information because they see it as the wrong kind of information. Many are frankly concerned about the amount of “conservative” programming, especially in talk radio, and would like to see a different balance.
Certainly, conservative-oriented talk radio has been more successful than left-leaning radio programming. But broadcasting is only one small part of today’s media universe, which includes not just radio and television broadcasting but print, cable, and Internet sources.
Moreover, arguments that the Fairness Doctrine is needed because certain types of media are too conservative, too negative, too partisan, or too anything actually strengthen the case against the regulation. Any law that is targeted at media based on the content of what is being said raises greater constitutional concerns and is much less likely to pass constitutional muster–and for good reason. Regulating speech in order to alter its content is exactly the sort of meddling that the First Amendment is meant to prohibit. It is simply not the job of politicians to “correct” the mix of opinions being expressed in the marketplace of ideas, even if–and especially if–they disagree with those opinions.
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