Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Good News: New and Improved 'Fairness Doctrine' Could Apply to Web Content

Nothing would ignite a fire under the behinds of a million bloggers more than threatening them with the idea of having to provide "balance" on their sites.

Good luck with that.

Mark my words. Any politician dumb enough to vote for something like this should take the time to enjoy their final term in office. I'm almost curious to see them try, as the backlash would be so swift and enormous the notion of resurrecting this long-outdated scheme would never again see the light of day.
There’s a huge concern among conservative talk radio hosts that reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine would all-but destroy the industry due to equal time constraints. But speech limits might not stop at radio. They could even be extended to include the Internet and “government dictating content policy.”

FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell raised that as a possibility after talking with bloggers at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. McDowell spoke about a recent FCC vote to bar Comcast from engaging in certain Internet practices – expanding the federal agency’s oversight of Internet networks.

The commissioner, a 2006 President Bush appointee, told the Business & Media Institute the Fairness Doctrine could be intertwined with the net neutrality battle. The result might end with the government regulating content on the Web, he warned. McDowell, who was against reprimanding Comcast, said the net neutrality effort could win the support of “a few isolated conservatives” who may not fully realize the long-term effects of government regulation.

“I think the fear is that somehow large corporations will censor their content, their points of view, right,” McDowell said. “I think the bigger concern for them should be if you have government dictating content policy, which by the way would have a big First Amendment problem.”

“Then, whoever is in charge of government is going to determine what is fair, under a so-called ‘Fairness Doctrine,’ which won’t be called that – it’ll be called something else,” McDowell said. “So, will Web sites, will bloggers have to give equal time or equal space on their Web site to opposing views rather than letting the marketplace of ideas determine that?”
The notion is so insane, so anti-freedom that only some pointy-headed libs could be stupid enough to dream it up.

I can see the left trying to stifle dissent by attempting to silence talk radio. After all, they hate free speech. But the idea that blogs would ever have to provide balance? With the sheer volume on both the left and right it would just not be possible. Considering it's the World Wide Web, how would they possibly control content that extends across the globe?

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