A real fairness doctrine
By Bruce Walker
The Left, which is unhappy unless it has a monopoly on everything and complete thought control in American society, has raised the risible notion that the success to talk radio is overwhelmingly conservative and so the discredited "fairness doctrine" should be applied to talk radio. There are so many intellectual and ethical holes in this argument that it is hard to know where to begin.
The fairness doctrine, presumably, is only to apply to talk radio and not radio in general. Most rock music is decidedly Leftist and also decidedly hostile to religion, conventional morality and family values. So, if we are going to regulate the content of talk radio, then surely we must also regulate the content of radio music, which is intended to send a very clear message about politics, society, etc. If Leftists object to that, then perhaps Rush and Sean et al. could simply "sing" their commentary and call it music instead of commentary. Who defines the difference between commentary and art?
Beyond that, if the fairness doctrine applies to radio broadcasts then it applies to television broadcasts as well. In short, it would have to apply to CBS, ABC and NBC television news as well. Those three networks have no conservative anchors, few, if any, conservative reporters. This has been the condition of television for the last fifty years, which is why Leftists also seek to purge Fox News, which is not talk radio at all, but simply the only non-Leftist television news.
Decades ago conservatives asked corporate media giants to bring genuine balance and fairness into their newsrooms, but all declined. Moreover, even when CBS News would have an egregious error that defamed a conservative, like in the odious "documentary" called The Selling of the Pentagon, ABC and NBC, well aware of the failings of their "rival" declined to expose the corporate wrongdoings at CBS News. When ABC News a few days before the 1972 Presidential Election had a documentary so full of outright fabrication that I identified half a dozen errors before the first break – all favoring the Leftist position – there was never a peek out of the two "rival" networks.
There is genuine collusion between the octopus of Leftist media as evidenced by the deafening silence during the 2004 Presidential Campaign when Dan Rather tried to foist forged documents on the American people. Not only have the television networks not adhered to the fairness doctrine, which applies to them as well as to radio networks, but they have not even tried to act in the public interest (another requirement to have a license) and have engaged in monopolistic conspiracies of silence which Leftist themselves have declared criminal.
But fairness in television news is just the tip of the iceberg, if we want federally licensed entities to be "fair." What is entertainment television anymore? All network programs are thinly veiled propaganda films for Leftist ideas. Shows like West Wing were obvious examples, but for decades network commentary, masked as entertainment, has presently an unrelenting picture of Leftist ideas as good and conservative ideas as bad. So, if we are going to apply a "fairness doctrine," then CBS, NBC, ABC and all other networks who used licensed entities to get out their news and their "entertainment," which simply promotes one ideological point of view, to give equal time to conservatives.
If we have fairness by licensees, then surely we should have fairness as well in those public entities or organizations that survive almost entirely on tax dollars, meaning schools and colleges. If fairness is important in talk radio, then surely it is important as well in teachers and in professors in the classrooms. So for every Leftist school book, there should be a conservative schoolbook. For every Leftist school teacher, there should be a conservative school teacher. For every Leftist professor, there should be a conservative professor. And these teachers and professors should cover specifically those areas in which fairness is most important: history, political science, sociology, psychology and government.
Would conservatives be happy with a federal mandate that required that half of the network news staff, staff writers, editors, entertainment producers, screen writers, and entertainment programs push conservative themes and disparage Leftism? Would conservatives be happy with a federal mandate that required that half of all school teachers, half of the curriculum, half of college professors, half of college "social science" classes and textbooks be conservative and half Leftist? Yes, most of us would probably be willing to concede that tiny niche of public entertainment and debate that is talk radio for an equal seat at the table of other federally licensed and funded information, commentary, entertainment and education activities.
Even this, however, would be unfair to conservatives. Why? Sixty percent of the American people, according to every Battleground Poll, are conservative while only thirty-five percent are liberal (moderates and "no response" make up the balance.) What on earth is "fair" about a small minority of the American people, a group who declines to even call itself liberal or Leftist and instead uses the meaningless term "progressive," having an equal share of these public assets and resources with the overwhelming majority of Americans who call themselves conservatives?
If fairness is what Leftists want, then sixty percent of all television time would be available to advance conservative ideas, sixty percent of all school and college resources would be used to advance conservative ideas, and sixty percent of radio time – not just talk radio, but music radio and all other radio – would be used to advance conservative ideas.
The Left is correct in this respect: the allocation of licenses, tax dollars and other finite resources is hopelessly unfair. What Leftists will not admit, or perhaps are simply so brainwashed that they cannot see, is that the Left itself is on life support and without the overwhelming bias in favor of the Left that permeates network television (news and entertainment), music radio, public schools and universities, the Left would quickly evaporate into the shrill madness of sick fringe.
Perhaps our response should be to push for a comprehensive fairness doctrine that covered every aspect of public communication, entertainment and education. Even if the exchange rate was one for one (one conservative professor for one Leftist professor, one hour of conservative network entertainment for one hour of Leftist network
Bruce Walker has been a published author in print and in electronic media since 1990. He is a contributing editor to Enter Stage Right and a regular contributor to Conservative Truth, American Daily, Intellectual Conservative, Web Commentary, NewsByUs and Men's News Daily. His first book, Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie by Outskirts Press was published in January 2006.
Get weekly updates about new issues of ESR!