Saturday, July 28, 2007
Will the Fairness Doctrine Be Resurrected?
Over the years I have enjoyed conservative political talk radio. I think I discovered Rush Limbaugh while driving long commutes to area hospitals back in the early 90's in Michigan. Sean Hannity was my next discovery a half dozen or more years ago. It was refreshing to hear intelligent counterpoint to the singular point of view given by the major newscasters.
Conservative talk shows are still largely limited to radio. If you are lucky and can get FOX, you can pick some of it up on TV or Cable. But the big three - ABC, NBC, and CBS - still dominate the regular air waves. I wouldn't imagine that they would feel threatened. Their influence remains widespread.
But alas! there are rumbles within the ranks on Capital Hill that the Fairness Doctrine might be resurrected to counter the conservative talk radio success. The Fairness Doctrine was originally part of a 1949 FCC regulation that required broadcasters to "afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views of public importance." The FCC, thankfully, overturned this 'doctrine' in 1989. But could it see a revival under the power of the party currently controlling much of government? Some lawmakers think so.
The implications of such action could easily spill over into other broadcasting realms, especially those with religious messages. My observation is that conservative religious broadcasting has enjoyed much the same success as politically conservative talk radio when compared to their more liberal counterparts. And conservative Christian media is often at the forefront of 'hot button' issues that divide conservative and liberal churches, such as the abortion debate and the homosexual issue. The lines on these matters are sharply drawn with vocal proponents on both sides of the isle.
However, the present political climate in our country considers certain areas to be virtually settled and off limits to dissension. Abortion on demand is the law of the land. Homosexuality cannot be considered anything but a genetic condition enjoying the same minority needs as gender and religion. Add to this the theory of evolution, which commands the status as the only legitimate scientific point of view allowed in a respectable classroom, and the newest kid on the block, Global Warming, the driving force of panic for any number of changes to the way we currently live.
Yet the health of a nation is determined, in part, by the free flow of debate on issues of interest to the general public. To squelch such discussion is dangerous and harmful to the truth. I pray that this old 'doctrine' is not resurrected, for if it does it will artificially stifle the clarity of the truth. The proponents of limitations are only afraid of what the truth might do.
[Source: National Liberty Journal, August 2007]