The Linear Canvas
This journal is about the wrongs and rights of the world, as I see them.

The Linear Canvas

Where is the Fairness Doctrine When You Need It?

March 6th, 2006 . by Alexander Fisher

The Fairness Doctrine, was eliminated in 1988 by the hired guns of the broadcast industry with the help of the Industrial War Complex(aka The Reagan/Bush administration). It was known as the Equal Time rule in broadcasting.

I heard someone mention the fairness doctrine on the radio recently, implying that the loss of the doctrine was directly responsible for the creation of the FOX (Propaganda) News Network on cable. I have been in cable television and broadcasting, building and operating wireless, copper and fiber networks for almost thirty years. I know a little about the Fairness Doctrine.

The fairness doctrine was created to allow opposing viewpoints on television and radio broadcasts. It was enacted without any thought of closed circuit distribution systems like cable television, which was never regulated by the fairness doctrine. Although I agree that the effect of eliminating the fairness doctrine allowed FOX News to be a much more partisan network overall, and spawned such broadcast personalities as Rush Limbaugh, FOX News was not created solely by the elimination of the fairness doctrine. It could have existed previous to that, albeit on cable only.

It actually could be argued that the creation of a politically unregulated mass closed circuit television distribution network in general, i.e. cable television, is what made it easier to eliminate the fairness doctrine. It was like test-driving public opinion to make sure no one minded eliminating the doctrine for broadcast stations. I just don’t think anyone was paying attention to the effect cable was going to have on politics and government in the future.

The Democrats had eight years to reinstate the Doctrine after the Reagan regime, but chose not to bother. That either says they are in just as deep with those that profit from the elimination of fair access to the airwaves, or they were asleep at the wheel. I can’t believe that they were truly unaware of the impact that corporatism was going to have on the broadcast industry. I distrust Democrats on this one just as much as Republicans.

Free speech doesn’t fit in the long range plans of our current corporate government. The Fairness Doctrine was protection against the worst propaganda abuses of an aggressive administration. What and who is protecting us now?

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