Technology with attitude

The Fairness Doctrine: Coming To A Radio Station Near You?

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For those who don’t know what it is, go here. Personally, I’m strongly against it because I think the marketplace should determine the content we hear, not a doctrine devised by politicians, pundits and lobbyists.

Still, it seems like the country is evenly split on this issue, at least according to a new Rasmussen Poll:

Americans are evenly divided as to whether or not the government should “require all radio and television stations to offer equal amounts of conservative and liberal political commentary.� The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 41% favor that proposal and 41% are opposed.

The concept, known as the “Fairness Doctrine� in legislative circles, has been gaining ground on Capitol Hill ever since public opposition forced the Senate to back down on the immigration issue. The news has not attracted a lot of public interest�just 16% say they’re following stories about the Fairness Doctrine Very Closely while another 21% say they’ve been following it Somewhat Closely.

A large segment of the public would like to extend the concept of the Fairness Doctrine to the Internet as well. Thirty-four percent (34%) believe the government should “require web sites that offer political commentary to present opposing viewpoints.� Fifty percent (50%) are opposed.

Extend it to the internet? Heh, yeah, okay. Good luck with that.

However, I think it can be argued that the internet and radio are very different animals because one requires a lot of upfront costs to create content and broadcast it, while the other requires some patience, insight and maybe just a touch of web savviness. And since radio programs are broadcast over public airwaves, shouldn’t the content be representative of the public? At least that’s going to be the argument. Again, I don’t agree with it AT ALL.

What’s interesting is that the moderate blogosphere essentially represents the fairness doctrine in action, but without all the messy legislation. But as you can see, the traction here is decent, but nothing like the extremes of the political spectrum. People gravitate towards strong, one-sided opinions. They always have, they always will and no law is going to change that.