Thursday, February 19, 2004

Now Here's a Good Idea (from today's Political Diary): "John Kerry is strongly hinting he wants to bring back the discredited 'Fairness Doctrine,' a New Deal-era FCC regulation that forced broadcasters to provide 'equal time' for opposing points of view. Ronald Reagan dropped the doctrine, leaving only a watered-down rule that exempt news and interview programs. Ending that exemption could force popular hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly to provide free response time to those they criticize."

How could this ever be enforced? Rush and Sean are perfectly happy to have liberals on their show--the liberals just won't ever show up. I heard Sean Hannity spend 20 minutes last fall try to convince Teddy Kennedy to come on his show. Kennedy refused emphatically again and again. When you'll chain Teddy down and let Sean interview him, then I'll support this idea.
I also oppose this on the grounds that I don't think American society is bipolar. For example, despite my being a rabid (yes, I can admit it) Republican, most of the Democrats I run into at school are surprised by how much our opinions coincide. Similarly, if I expressed some of my true views to Republicans I associate with, I might be shunned. So, how do you determine what an "opposing point of view" that warrants "equal time" is, exactly? Take, for another example, Bill O'Reilly. An opposing viewpoint to him would be someone who comes on the show just to say "I'm wrong about everything I've ever thought. In fact, I'm probably even wrong about this. I know nothing. Nothing at all." Now where are you going to find someone like that in politics?

No comments: