The “Fairness Doctrine” Power Grab
©2007 Christopher G. Adamo
When the Soviet Union was at its pinnacle, one might think that the greatest fear among its leaders was the nuclear capabilities of the United States. But this was not the case. While the Soviets recognized the formidable war-making abilities of the Americans as an obstacle to be overcome, they feared, and thus diligently hunted and eliminated the presence of something much more threatening to their existence... the printing press.
For the biggest danger to their continued facade of power and success lay in the possibility that some little person, needing neither the horrific power of an atom bomb nor the massive resources to develop and deliver it, could nonetheless shine the light of truth on them and thereby prove to be their undoing.
Empires of oppression and intimidation, built upon real threats and empty promises, simply cannot endure the scrutiny of an informed public.
Thus, the only means by which they can hope to preserve their hold on power is to maintain a monopoly of information. And while their effort at maintaining this monopoly is formidable and imposing, that very fact indicates its ultimate fragility. Hence, the paranoia of the Soviets, lest the people became informed by any source other than the state “news” agency known as “Tass.”
For most of the latter half of the twentieth century, American leftists fared better than their counterparts inside the Kremlin. A veritable monopoly of information evolved through the growth and expansion of the “big three” networks, CBS, NBC, and ABC. Over time, the networks developed a decidedly liberal bias, dominating the perspective through which they and their audiences viewed the world.
Quite apart from any governmental oversight, the networks were constitutionally guaranteed unrestrained freedom to present the “news” as they saw fit, which eventually meant a leftist interpretation to virtually every event they covered. Sadly, this remains unchanged to the present.
Had technology and society remained completely stagnant, their stranglehold on the dissemination of information would have been absolute. But of course that was not the case.
Primarily during the past decade and a half, a veritable communications explosion has permitted engaged Americans access to numerous alternative information sources other than the archaic and predictable mouthpieces on the nightly news and in the major newspapers. Of course the key players from the old media were not happy about the competition.
Moreover, during that same time, Washington liberals were rudely awakened to the fact that the American people could not be gathered and herded like sheep into their socialist “utopia.” Beginning with Hillary’s “healthcare” scheme in the early 1990s, D.C. insiders were suddenly faced with the stark prospect of accountability to the public, and they did not like it.
By then, Rush Limbaugh had established an alternative-media empire utilizing talk-radio, which had been largely left unguarded by the left since it was considered comparatively antiquated among those with access to the TV networks.
Shortly after the demise of “Hillary Care,” murmurs of reviving the “Fairness Doctrine,” a past means of stifling free speech on the radio, were being voiced inside the Beltway.
Such an obvious effort to put this “genie” back into its bottle, once liberals realized the threat he and his kind posed, were quickly identified and reported to Limbaugh’s enormous audience who reacted loudly and fiercely. The mere mention of the “Fairness Doctrine” caused an immediate firestorm of calls and letters to Capitol Hill, whereupon its advocates scattered. Since that time, they have done little more than grumble and whine.
But, last week’s vote against amnesty for the illegals, and the bizarre path it cut across political lines, made those on the left believe that they might have a chance to reinstitute the “Fairness Doctrine” with the help of now-receptive Republicans.
Liberals sought to “channel” the anger among the elites from both parties, generated by the strident public opposition to the amnesty bill, in hopes that such unsolicited public meddling with their political agenda could be permanently shut down.
Ultimately, this very manner of response to the situation tells much about what the liberals know they need in order to resume their unquestioned dominance of the American political process.
Conversely, the nature of their comments, intended to take advantage of the tensions between D.C. and the Heartland over the amnesty bill, demonstrate a despicable willingness to forcibly suppress political discourse that does not abet their interests.
Once again, liberals are spouting their disinformation that the obvious dominance of conservatives on the radio somehow prevents citizens from access to the truth. And once again, such propaganda must be countered with the truth.
Liberals dominate, almost to the point of exclusivity, every other form of broadcast and print media. It is not the absence of liberal viewpoints on radio, but the presence of truth, either on the radio or anywhere for that matter, which the liberal agenda cannot tolerate.
Overwhelming dominance of the information market simply is not good enough for the left. For their propaganda campaign to succeed, its proponents must possess nothing less than total control of information being force-fed to the public.
Senator Diane Feinstein (D.-CA) asserted that the fairness doctrine would return America to “much more serious and correct reporting to the people.” Similarly, Senator John Kerry (D.-MA) claimed that it would fix the “imbalance in the public eye.” Kerry further went on to endorse something he called the “Equal time doctrine.”
Needless to say, Feinstein and Kerry were not alone. Their alarming comments merely represented the undercurrents among the Washington elite who want their political empire returned to its unaccountable glory. Far from maintaining a level playing field, the real goal of those who advocate the “Fairness Doctrine” is to completely suppress any point of view that might vary from their orthodoxy.
Never mentioned when invoking innocuous terms like “correctness,” “balance,” or “fairness” in reporting is the inescapable conclusion that, for such standards to be defined and upheld, some hideous force must be empowered to ensure compliance. On the day “Big Brother” oversees and controls political discourse on the airwaves or anywhere else, free speech has ended.
Christopher G. Adamo is a freelance writer and the former editor of "The Wyoming Christian," state newsletter for Christian Coalition of Wyoming. Chris is also a member of the Wyoming Republican Central Committee. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and resides in Wyoming. Archives of his articles are available at www.chrisadamo.com .