The OC on the Fairness Doctrine

He regards fairness about as favorably as I regard equality:

With two days to go before the election, I felt it was time to bubble this one back to the top. I do so now because one party in this election has made it a stated goal, if it wins the Presidency and gains fillibuster-proof control of the Senate, to reinstate the Orwellianly misnamed “Fairness Doctrine.”

As someone who once held an FCC broadcaster’s license and was required to learn the Fairness Doctrine as catechism, this disturbs me deeply. The Fairness Doctrine sounds innocuous enough. “Oh, it’s just about making them give equal time to both sides.”

Wrong! The Fairness Doctrine was always, from its inception, about suppressing domestic political dissent, and for 50 years it did so very effectively.

Allow me to backtrack a moment. I held an FCC broadcaster’s license. What this means is that while the station’s engineers held a different class of license, and the station owner held yet another kind of license (and I believe those requirements remain), I — and all other on-air personalities at the time — was required to have a license from the government simply in order to be allowed to speak live and on the air.

Of course, being a government license, it could be suspended or revoked at any time on the whim of a single government bureaucrat, and if it was suspended or revoked, I was off the air. After all, the engineer and the station owner didn’t want to risk having their licenses suspended or revoked for allowing me to speak.

So imagine that. Having to get a license from the government in order to exercise your First Amendment rights, and having to live in constant fear of having it revoked every time you opened your mouth in front of a live microphone. That is what the so-called Fairness Doctrine is all about.

Actually, I suspect the Fairness Doctrine will be among the least of our concerns now that Obama has announced his plans for a New Obamanation Army. And, to be honest, I find it more than a little ludicrous to look to John McCain, the author of McCain-Feingold, as the great guardian of free political speech. The amusing thing would be if McCain somehow won, but then signed the Fairness Doctrine into law anyhow.

Speaking of the presidency, I’ll post the oft-requested prediction later this morning.