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Free Liberal: Coordinating towards higher values

Free Liberal

Coordinating towards higher values

Fairness vs. Freedom

by Paul Jacob

Beware of "fairness." Especially when it comes to basic rights, like freedom of speech. Freedom is better than fairness.

I'm referring to the Fairness Doctrine. It was something that the Federal Communications Commission used to impose on radio and television broadcasters in this land of the free. The doctrine was that any time an issue was aired, both sides must be presented.

I guess nobody told the bureaucrats that a few issues might arguably have more than just two sides.

The Fairness Doctrine was repealed by Ronald Reagan’s FCC in 1982. Remember Reagan running for president, refusing to be silenced, saying, "I paid for that microphone"? The Gipper understood the importance of the right to speak freely.

Paul Weyich, chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation, points out in a recent column that when the Fairness Doctrine was repealed, many conservatives complained. They were afraid they’d be largely shut out of the mainstream media.

"What they didn't understand," writes Weyrich, "was that the FCC action paved the way for Rush Limbaugh . . . and the hosts of other syndicated radio shows."

In other words, freedom allowed more voices to be heard by more people; it rejuvenated AM radio. Under the so-called Fairness Doctrine, stations couldn't offer political talk programming any more exciting than a never-ending series of League of Women Voters debates.

Now Weyrich warns that the new Democratic Congress may seek to re-institute the unfair Fairness Doctrine. Don't do it. Stick with freedom.

Paul Jacob's "Common Sense" is published by the Sam Adams Alliance. Their website can be visited at

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