Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Sharp Stick In The Eye Would Be Better

The fairness doctrine is dead, but that doesn't mean some other doctrine can't and won't emerge to regulate content. Aside from free speech issues, which are plentiful, the last thing radio needs is the government keeping tabs on what radio hosts are saying or playing. PERIOD.

You may have read the lead story on Tom Taylor's Taylor on Radio-Info this morning:

How fair is this?

Balanced Talk Radio“It won’t be called the Fairness Doctrine…”

One D.C. expert is convinced that some leading Democrats have a grand plan to re-institute a rule requiring balance on the airwaves – just the thing that conservative talkshow hosts have made such a boogeyman out of. This may sound like a paranoia alert, but the D.C. guy says “I’ve never seen such communication between the FCC and the White House.” I asked how often they’re talking, and he says “daily.” He describes a constant stream of people from the Portals (the FCC) visiting the White House. He acknowledges that both President Obama and new FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski have waved off a return of the Fairness Doctrine as it existed until 1987. But he believes “they’ll have something like it, under the guise of the FCC’s Localism initiative or something else. It might even be a rider onto some bill in Congress.” Would that be constitutional? Probably not. But more and more folks seem to think there will be an effort from Congress and/or the FCC to “restore balance” to radio – particularly talk radio. If you think the conservative talkers have made a lot of noise about the Obama birth certificate, wait until they see a law or regulation about “balance.”

I am not looking to turn this into a political debate, at least not here in this forum, but the idea of the government telling a station [owner] they have too much or too little conservative or liberal talk on a particular station is chilling. I don't care if it's Randy or Ed or Rush or Sean...keep your stinkin' paws off of free speech. Let the marketplace of ideas sort itself out. It always does.

This is not an issue just for the ideologues to wrestle with. This is an issue for ALL of us to stand together and oppose. We must let OUR government know we don't want nor will we tolerate regulating what can be said and in what amount.

Think it can't happen? Nobody thought General Motors would go bankrupt either.