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Putin’s new “fairness doctrine” serves as reminder that U.S. has never had a free press in broadcast, dangers of Internet regulation 4/22/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in Broadcast, Fairness Doctrine, FCC, Licenses, Net Neutrality, News, Putin, Radio, Regulation, Russia.

Journalists at Russia’s largest “independent” radio news network (apparently owned by cronies of President Putin), have been told that from now on at least 50 percent of the reports about Russia must be “positive,” opposition leaders cannot be mentioned on the air, and the U.S. is to be portrayed as an enemy. While some may scoff and say “it can’t happen here,” in fact all U.S. broadcasters have always felt government pressure that has denied us a truly free press and has chilled free speech. At the birth of broadcasting, the federal government quickly seized control of the broadcast spectrum, assigned licenses for the use of specific frequencies, and made license renewal contingent upon “responsible” programming. Network TV news was invented by CBS founder William Paley, not as a way to make a profit, but to demonstrate responsible behavior to the government, thereby protecting CBS’ licenses to broadcast their profitable entertainment programming. In 1949, the FCC introduced the “Fairness Doctrine” forcing radio stations to air contrasting views whenever political opinions were expressed. The extent to which this squelched free speech was not fully understood until the rule lapsed in 1987, immediately launching the new era of politically-charged talk radio. And, if you have ever wondered why the political talk shows on cable TV channels, which don’t require broadcast licenses, are so much more interesting and informative than those on the broadcast networks, now you know why. Something to think about for those who would invite government regulation of the Internet through the proposed, benignly named “net neutrality” legislation.


1. David S Johnson - 4/23/07

You nailed it . No to fairness as net neutrality is a fiction.
Give me the free exchange of ideas and let the listener in the market place decide what to believe or challenge.
Political correct expression is the most dangerous concept to originate in the western world and as expanded into every phase our life will create the totalitarian state.

2. Timothy Birdnow - 4/24/07

Outstanding! I`m going to link this at my site.

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