Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) recently remarked that it was time bring back the Fairness Doctrine, the old regulation that used to require broadcasts to provide equal airtime for opposing political viewpoints. As an editorial from the Examiner points out today, this idea is utterly ridiculous. (Hat tip: Power Line)
The Fiarness Doctrine was a product of a different broadcasting era. Talk radio, cable news, blogs, and the internet had not even been invented yet. The only sources of broadcast news besides commercial radio stations were the three major broadcast networks. National Public Radio had not been created until 1970. Any balanced presentation of political viewpoints needed to be guaranteed by government regulation.
But the proliferation of media outlets, particularly on cable and the Internet has made the Fairness Doctrine obsolete. No longer does a citizen have to rely on very limited sources of information.
The real motive behind the move to resurrect the Fairness Doctrine has absolutely nothing to do with fairness. Because liberals (i.e. Democrats) have been unable to successfully compete with the likes of conservative talk radio stars such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity they want to rely on government regulation.
And as the Examiner points out, if Democrats succeed in bringing back the Fairness Doctrine to talk radio they won't stop there. Then they'll target television and the Internet, also. Given their dislike for Fox News, how long would it be before they figure out a way to put them out of business through government regulation?
The bottom line is this: when Democrats can't compete whether it's in talk radio or the arena of ideas, they always go back to government regulation as a way to impose their will on the American people. It's unlikely that this time they will be able to succeed.