Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

The Liberals Outdated Fairness Doctrine Campaign

Posted by Adam Graham on April 17, 2007

Captain Ed writes that he may have joined Blog Talk network just in time:

It wasn’t that long ago that Democrats extolled the Information Superhighway. The man who popularized that phrase, Al Gore, took credit for creating the Internet and its beneficial streams of information at the fingertips of ordinary Americans. It didn’t take long before they discovered that democratizing information would unleash the electorate — and they apparently fear that shift in information control.

Not many remember the era of the Fairness Doctrine, but I certainly do. It produced multiple flavors of vanilla on public airwaves, with hosts like Michael Jackson (not the singer — trust me) insisting that they were non-partisan and apolitical. (As soon as the FCC lifted the Fairness Doctrine, Jackson declared himself a liberal — and his show didn’t change a bit.) We got call-in psychologists and funny DJs like Mark and Brian, and offensive ones like Howard Stern. What we didn’t get was open political debate, because the headaches of monitoring who got what airtime for what purpose made it almost impossible to manage.

Ending the Fairness Doctrine and relying on the market to manage the message allowed AM radio to rise from the dead. It took an increasingly abandoned medium and revived it with another product, and consumers rewarded those whose products they preferred. Mostly, those talk shows were conservative, and why? The public perceived that the mainstream media presented enough opportunity for the liberal perspective to get air time. Even to this day, liberal talk radio struggles to gain an audience, with a few notable exceptions like Ed Schultz.

Now, with the multiplicity of media channels available, a Fairness Doctrine makes even less sense. With blogs, podcasts, and all sorts of options for all perspectives to publish their perspective, the last thing any of us need is the government replacing the market for political speech. Re-regulation of the airwaves will kill political talk radio — and while that might please those who cannot compete in the marketplace, it still sets a dangerous precedent for government intervention in political speech.

The I-pod and it’s related inventions is about to make the Democrats rush to regulate speech an utterly absurd issue. In fact, it may work out to be WORSE for the Democrats.

Do Rush fans love their Rush so much that they’ll go out and buy an I-pod to listen to him? Yes. What about Hannity? Beck? Yessiree. Good, well-liked hosts will be heard, but what about Radical Russ? What about little known liberal hosts? Growing an audience will be harder. It’s not getting on the air.

Live Talk is the one thing that makes Radio a viable medium. It’s not as easily replicated in Cyberspace. If libs get their way, several things will happen:

-Less Politics on Radio
-A further migration from radio on all fronts in favor of I-pods.
-A revision of the old classic with the new line, “Liberals killed the radio star.”

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2 Responses to “The Liberals Outdated Fairness Doctrine Campaign”

  1. I do some work with the NAB, and Democrats seem to be operating under the impression that reinstating the Fairness Doctrine will suddenly create a market for liberal talk radio, despite the fact that the failure of Air America suggests otherwise. As you stated, such a move would serve only to homogenize the content available over the airwaves to the benefit of no one, Republican or Democrat.

  2. Adam Graham [Member] said

    That was Ed who stated it. I think it would really hasten radio’s demise.

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