02 July 2007

More Thoughts on "Fairness"

Just listening to a segment from Bill Bennett’s radio show (podcast here) concerning the possible re-implementation of the so-called Fairness Doctrine. As part of the conversation, the obvious point was made concerning how to handle equal time for opposing views.

One very troubling aspect of this idea of opposing views is that, given a limited interpretation of the Fairness Doctrine, there are only two views to any controversial subject. Granted that’s a very specific interpretation, but I think it is also a realistic one, especially as the current political climate in the US is one of distinct camps. It is assumed that one is either liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, with all of the ideological baggage that comes with these terms.

In reality, I don’t believe that most people would want to toe the line with any political agenda full time. The ability to disagree in part or in whole on a subject is the key to investigating and developing a point of view on a topic. If under a resurrected Fairness Doctrine Americans are forced into even more black-and-white discussions, it can be expected that points of view will either become more ideologically lock-stepped or that people will simply tune out. Either way, the discussions in a “Fairness” world would be, I expect, horribly predictable and counterproductive.

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