Glenn Beck went on again about the Fairness Doctrine for longer than I could stand, but at least he did add something unusual to the argument: a scintilla of evidence.
It wasn't entirely clear from Beck's account whether the mayor of Toledo actually wanted the Fairness Doctrine restored -- what he said on radio was that he wanted Congress to look at the "fairness principle" -- but the newspaper account seems pretty clear. So there is at least one high-ranking official in a mid-sized American city who thinks the Fairness Doctrine is a good idea. As Toledo goes, so goes the nation.
If you haven't been keeping up with comments to my last post on this topic, you should scroll down a bit and take a look. Mark Tokarski, in particular, has some thoughtful things to say.
I have to admit that, given right-wing radio hosts' relentlessly wrong approach to just about everything in recent years, their shrill opposition to the Fairness Doctrine is beginning to make me think that maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea. One particular annoyance is the repeated insistence by Beck, Hannity, etc., that restoring the Fairness Doctrine would silence my voice.
How's that? I have absolutely no voice in right-wing radio. Limbaugh openly acknowledges that the calls he takes are specifically designed to reinforce his points. Beck is too clownish to handle a serious call. Savage is insane. Hannity will take calls from people who hold opposing views, but he repeatedly cuts them off, mocks them and distorts their arguments. The only power I have over any of those shows is to simply not listen to them in hopes that sagging ratings will drive them away. I don't think that's exactly what the founding fathers had in mind.
I still think that restoring any sort of Fairness Doctrine with strict equal-time provisions would be a bad idea. But I don't see what's wrong with being able to go to the FCC at license renewal time and arguing that KBLG and KBUL, by flooding the airwaves with conservative talk with virtually no alternative voices, aren't serving the public interest. And that Billings would be better served if the FCC would award those licenses instead to, for example, me.