There is nothing in the First Amendment which prevents the Government from requiring a licensee to share his frequency with others…. It is the right of the viewers and listeners, not the right of the broadcasters, which is paramount. [Red Lion Broadcasting Co v. FCC, 1969]
You might know what this is, but get used to seeing it. The landmark Red Lion v. FCC case established that the federal government could mandate that private broadcasters of television and radio provide equal airtime to all sides of an argument.
In 1987, the Fairness Doctrine (as it came to be called) was rejected by the FCC and became part of the history books. The Congress tried to codify the Doctrine in 1989 and again in 1991, but both attempts failed.
But get ready because the FCC is reconsidering the doctrine. The new FCC head, Julius Genachowski, is a former aide to Chuck Schumer who had attempted to have the doctrine reinstated in 1989. It is more than likely that some form of the doctrine will be reinstated, and if this happens, you can expect chaos.
The Fairness Doctrine is not about freedom of speech. It is about requiring a private medium (such as TV station, which is owned by a corporation) to give time to people whom their listeners may not like to hear or see.
Look, I can’t stand Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannitty or Alan Colmes or any number of other talk show nitwits. For the most part, their narrow-minded idiots who can’t say anything without verifying it with their party line. I also detest Christian broadcasting in just about every form.
But the last thing we need is some government bureaucrat running around putting Dr. Phil on equal time on our local Christian station as Focus on the Family.
This would mean that for every minute of Limbaugh at the 12:00PM timeslot, there would have to be a minute of a liberal talk show host at the same or comparable timeslot on the same channel. Enforcing it would be a logistic nightmare; and the result would be total chaos.
Does this mean that for every half hour of UFC fighting, the VS. CHANNEL should also run a half hour of Teletubbies? When does this madness end?
And what about the internet? Currently, it is not regulated by the FCC. It is actually one of the few bastions of free speech still available to us the people. If the FCC begins interfering with the internet, who knows what will happen?