We’re from the government, and we’re here to help

Big Brother, here to helpWould Barack Obama’s election lead to revival of the “Fairness Doctrine” — and if so, how would that affect bloggers, who basically didn’t exist as of the last time the Fairness Doctrine governed political speech in the media?  The FCC’s chairman, Robert McDowell, suggests that bloggers wouldn’t be too happy about such a development. (Hat tip to Van Helsing.)

McDowell is a Bush appointee, and was speaking to the conservative Heritage Foundation.  Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, what exactly is the principled defense of the Fairness Doctrine?

Originally posted 2013-02-12 16:34:16. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Ron Coleman

I write this blog.

5 thoughts on “We’re from the government, and we’re here to help”
  1. Thank you for posting this so that I may state the obvious, Chairman McDowell was rallying the conservative Heritage Foundation with pure fiction.

    There is no legal basis for the FCC to be positioned as an approver of private statements made on web sites. He’s unable to explain how that would happen, or to manufacture a connection to the net neutrality debate.

    The FCC regulates public communication infrastructure, not every microphone, press or flat screen display. This is simply a lame attempt to worry people around a manufactured issue. Yes, I’m sad to say that after watching the video again, “lame” is exactly the right word. He’s just not that good at it.

  2. There’s also no legal basis for the Fairness Doctrine, Dave… until there is one. It wasn’t that long ago that bloggers were sweating over the application of McCain Feingold to blogs, and the submission of blogs to the authority of the Federal Election Commission. Why is it unthinkable that if the Fairness Doctrine were mandated by statute — which it would have been twice if not vetoed by Presidents Reagan and G.W. Bush — that it would once again be put under the aegis of the agency that invented it, the FCC, with new responsibility for all media which require government intervention to insure content “fairness”?

  3. If I were to assay a principled defense of the Fairness Doctrine, I would approach it from the “duty” angle, rather than a “freedom” angle.

    Essentially, the Fairness Doctrine rests on the idea that a publisher has a duty to provide information that is as unbiased as possible. Where differences of opinion exist, that publisher has a duty to provide a fair hearing to those differences of opinion. This duty, in turn, springs from the publisher’s duty to his audience.

    I didn’t say it squares with the Constitution or even that I believe in the Fairness Doctrine, let alone the concept of a publisher’s “duty.” I just said that it’s the defense is based on a principle …


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