The Fairness Doctrine will come up again and again over the next few years–mostly invoked by Republicans. Barack Obama says he opposes the Fairness Doctrine. But expect everything that he asks of broadcasters and the Internet to get called the Fairness Doctrine anyway. You can also expect conservatives to see the Doctrine in any telecom proposal that sounds too regulatory: requiring a minimum of local radio fare, restrictions on product placement, caps on how much junk food advertisers can hawk to children on digital TV, etc. All these sinister ideas, plus net neutrality, will be boiled in the same rhetorical broth.
In the final analysis, this debate isn’t about an extinct FCC policy. Right now it’s about scoring political points. And, most importantly, it’s about prolonging the fantasy that our nation’s broadcasting/telecommunications infrastructure can effectively serve us without government playing a constructive role.
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