The Fairness Doctrine

I guess it was inevitable that with the Democrat takeover of Congress, we would soon start hearing about “The Fairness Doctrine”.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) instituted the Fairness Doctrine many years ago in an effort to give equal time to both sides of an issue. It rescinded it in the 1980s. Free from the shackles, a boom in politically-oriented talk radio ensued. Of course, the lion’s share of talk radio is right of center, which angers the American left.

The FCC could re-instate the Fairness Doctrine any time it wishes. It isn’t really a Congressional matter. If the Democrats win the White House in 2008, I would say re-instatement is a strong possibility.

There has always been a dichotomy in the broadcast industry. Even though Rush Limbaugh and the genre he created saved AM radio from extinction, many in the industry let their own ideology get in the way, and are opposed to conservative talk radio.

If the Fairness Doctrine (also known as “hush Rush”) returns, it will be cheered by many in the industry, even though it could well mean the end of a great institution, terrestrial radio.

And, with so many different kinds of media now available (Internet, satellite radio, iPods, etc.) talk radio hosts will never be “hushed”. It will just move to a medium other than terrestrial radio. The over-the-air industry could be destroyed, to cheers by its own practitioners, without having the desired effect.

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