President Obama was wise to say he does not intend to pursue reenactment of the fairness doctrine. It should defuse the right wing blogosphere at least on this issue.
It does not go to say that they may not try to achieve the same result by other means, but it never made any sense anyway.
If the right wing radio talking heads had that much influence then how do you explain the Democrats’ success in both houses and the White House? Obama was foolish attributing as much power and credit to Rush Limbaugh as he did.
And how do you enforce fairness? Is Rush’s competition ONLY radio or is he also competing with television, print media and the internet. Will other media also be expected to be fair? Will Newsweek have to balance column inches based on political criticism? Will I be forced to balance my criticisms in my blog?
What about foreign media that has American access? Will Al Jazeera or the Guardian (for those who can tell the difference) have to be fair and balanced? (Wouldn’t that be nice?)
What if there are more than two sides to an argument? Will every side have to be covered equally, regardless of merit?
We have a wide competition of ideas and they will gravitate to the most receptive media. There is a competition of not only ideas and views, but of media portals and outlets.
With this widespread proliferation there is widespread misinformation and bias, but the open market has also humbled old media. Ask Dan Rather. Who broke the story on Monica Lewinski and John Edwards? How many such stories never saw the light of day in the days of old media domination and “fairness”.
The widespread market of ideas has its problems, but ideas are like toothpaste and it is impossible to get it back in the tube.
The only way to enforce the fairness doctrine is to be anything but fair.