George Will on Fairness Doctrine

by on December 7, 2008 · 10 comments

George Will’s weekly Washington Post column focuses on the Fairness Doctrine and calls out those on the Left who would support its reinstatement:

Because liberals have been even less successful in competing with conservatives on talk radio than Detroit has been in competing with its rivals, liberals are seeking intellectual protectionism in the form of regulations that suppress ideological rivals. If liberals advertise their illiberalism by reimposing the fairness doctrine, the Supreme Court might revisit its 1969 ruling that the fairness doctrine is constitutional. The court probably would dismay reactionary liberals by reversing that decision on the ground that the world has changed vastly, pertinently and for the better.

Mr. Will was kind enough to cite my new book with Brian Anderson, A Manifesto for Media Freedom [more info here] on the explosion of media outlets and options since the Supreme Court’s disastrous 1969 Red Lion decision, which blessed the Fairness Doctrine.  Some of those stats: today there are about 14,000 radio stations, twice as many as in 1969; 18.9 million subscribers to satellite radio, up 17 percent in 12 months; and that 86 percent of households with either cable or satellite television receive an average of 102 of the 500 available channels.

No need to be putting the “Unfairness Doctrine” back on the books with unprecedented abundance like that.

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