(I'm sorry about the photo, but it does have something to do with this topic)
Democratic leaders are pushing for a so-called "Fairness Doctrine", which will require any FCC-licensed broadcasting company to "present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that is honest, equitable, and balanced."
This proposed law is obviously in response to various right-leaning broadcasters, such as FoxNews, to extreme right-wing radio talkers like Rush Limbaugh.
Several things immediately spring to mind regarding this proposal.
First, it deeply offends my somewhat Libertarian leanings. Barack Obama has come out against it, saying through his spokesman that he "does not support reimposing the Fairness Doctrine on broadcasters. He considers this debate to be a distraction from the conversation we should be having about opening up the airwaves and modern communications to as many diverse viewpoints as possible."
Not to mention it will be difficult to impossible to enforce equally. There's no doubt that the political party in charge will have a huge influence on the enforcement of this law. The FCC is famous for selective enforcement of their rules, and the fact that you can't specifically codify "fairness" means that there will be a quagmire of legal challenges and entanglements.
Do we need to tie up our courts with this sort of nonsense?
Next, the biggest complaint I see from many supporters of the doctrine is in the talk radio arena. Politicians tend to be on the back end of the curve when it comes to informational technologies, and because of their myopia they don't see that the biggest new influence on news and opinion is the Internet. Talk radio is slowly dying out and becoming less of an influence than it was historically. Basically, people who gather most of their information from talk radio belong to a rapidly shrinking demographic.
I'm guessing that by the end of the next decade, political talk radio will almost be analogous with the radio serials of the 1930s and 40s. Along with flying cars, everyone will have a wrist-internet device that allows for net surfing while relaxing in our space-age quasi-futuristic Mylar clothing, and we'll have all our nutritional requirements met by a single daily pill. (I possibly may be wrong on this one.)
Finally, there is the issue of Constitutionality. How can government limit free speech that is essentially composed of opinion? If we attempt to regulate broadcast mediums, then can the Internet be far behind? Can you imagine the disaster THAT would entail?
Regardless of how infuriating right-wing talk radio often is, I'm firmly of the opinion that we should leave it alone, and simply ridicule it mercilessly like we've been doing.
It's been working out fine so far.