The “fairness doctrine” is a huge misnomer that poses a grave threat to one of the underpinnings of our society – free speech. The policy lauded here by the always talkative Charles Schumer purports to create fairness when it comes to radio broadcasting by requiring stations to have an equal number of voices from the right and left. So in a country in which free speech is supposed to be a protected Constitutional right, the government believes it should be able to regulate the political content of radio stations? This is utterly ridiculous. Why should a station really have to be “fair and balanced”? Why must the government take away the last bastion of conservatism in the media in the form of messing with our radio stations? Must there be a Colmes for every Hannity?
The fact of the matter is that the fairness doctrine while perhaps well-intended puts an unnecessary burden on networks to change their content and their reporters, and further is inherently unfair because it forces stations to be bipartisan. The great thing about having at least a relatively free media is that people can choose to get their information from a variety of sources. Liberals can read the Times and listen to NPR, while conservatives can read the Journal and listen to Rush. If there was such a demand for bipartisanship on the radio then there would be more bipartisan radio stations. People are self-selecting when it comes to the information they consume. It’s no business of the government to alter this information. One would think Schumer would already be pretty satisfied with how liberal 99% of the media is as we saw in the most recent election. But 99% just isn’t enough.