FCC Drops 'Fairness Doctrine'
What does this mean for broadcasters?
- Duration 5:57
- Date Aug 30, 2011
What does this mean for broadcasters?
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Cool and interesting story straight ahead we're gonna go straight to our -- help.
Okay joining us now doctor Alex MacFarlane who's gonna talk to us about something good to see doctor thanks for joining us your world religion expert in and talk radio host your Twitter handle -- Alex -- great to have you with us.
Thank you very much it's could be with the -- talk to me about something that brings back memories from law school.
But you don't have to be a lawyer to care about this it's the Fairness Doctrine.
And there are some changes -- with the Federal Communications Commission that.
Could change the -- me watch television or hear you on the radio tell us first what the -- -- tennis.
We'll look at this doctrine was implemented in 1949.
Largely at a time and do predominant media at least broadcast media was radio there was some 2000 radio stations in the country back then.
And it it was found ostensibly.
-- -- to make sure that listeners heard from people divergent.
Equal coverage for divergent viewpoints and everything years.
-- you know -- a lot of people recognize that that was.
Not only an unnecessary things that could actually be a hindrance -- the First Amendment our right of free speech and so on during the Reagan years.
A more than twenty years ago it was.
Repealed but only officially scrubbed from the books this month August when the weapon and I think it's that they -- we have a Fairness Doctrine the First Amendment.
Debt that guarantees the right of free speech and actually I would say the Fairness Doctrine was an impediment to free speech.
So it's kind of one of his old laws that have been on the books and on its usefulness was long past but only is officially.
Exploring -- at this moment.
Does everybody agree with you -- are those who want it back.
Oh and not everyone agrees that mean there are those in if you you know get in the Blogosphere you can see pros and cons on on both sides that.
Yeah there there -- more than 141000 radio stations now and certainly at the time and Fairness Doctrine was was drafted down bad no.
Our knowledge of the Internet and you know the point is this the Fairness Doctrine might -- -- and are good in theory but it it was flawed in practice -- execution because.
-- local stations.
Had the opportunity to circumvent the Fairness Doctrine for instance.
If an assignment editor had -- an ideology they wanted to promote or an ideology they they want it to maybe silence.
Sure give equal time to different viewpoints but maybe they would give.
You know an opportunity to a very -- they're here present your.
To get their viewpoint and then for each point with which they disagree they might give time for a -- very you know what you're here present her and -- it was still ample opportunity for -- and you know skewing the news in favor of this viewpoint or ideology.
And seven we don't need it any good ideas inevitably come to the top.
And you know really in a country that was built on freedom of speech the free exchange of ideas.
I that was absolutely counter to what our democratic.
Republic -- -- -- all about.
I understand that you feel that without the Fairness Doctrine we have the First Amendment to keep things in check.
But what about equal time as we look to the political season that's forthcoming.
Well in -- -- equal time it is a different issues and it's it's also an issue which I disagree because for one thing here's the piece that position that the American people aren't smart enough to make up their mind.
That the American people aren't smart enough to.
T sifting the ideas and think critically and reach reasoned conclusions mean there's this -- position in the minds of some.
Debt the American people have to be spinning -- and indicted along and and -- that -- vehemently disagree.
Let me say this there have been studies.
About this supposedly liberal bias of the media that's supposed conservative bias of the media.
I will say this you know I think -- -- actually people vote with your pocketbooks is it is true.
And a steady and in 2008.
Showed -- among the three traditional.
Two presidential candidates.
It was -- -- to wind depths of the three major networks.
Financial contributions to political candidates tend to Warren favored.
Liberal democratic candidates -- conservative Republican candidates.
Now I'm not saying that necessarily.
That is going to -- worked painful -- the coverage.
Pro -- -- given different candidates.
You know clearly.
-- none of us operates in a vacuum and we are offering our world view into.
The things -- -- -- good things we say that conclusions we reached.
And in journalism what we need to do I think we need to make it.
As conducive as possible.
To a I have an unbiased presentation of the news and ideas and way to do that is to get the government out of trying to control the media.
Let the media operate -- free market economy.
And you know.
Networks and media outlets are they succeed by getting an audience -- keeping an audience.
And out a way to do that is not to spin things -- try to cope with what thing but to present communities as unbiased as possible and let people think for themselves.
Doctor Alex McFarland.
Talking to us here where we believe in fair and balanced thank you so much.
-- -- -- thanks for let me be on Skype without -- -- next time I'll have.
And your piece and not -- -- next to my hip how's that not a problem for us.