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Opening Arguments

Fairly scary

Keep using that First Amendment, bloggers, while you still have it:

There's a huge concern among conservative talk radio hosts that reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine would all-but destroy the industry due to equal time constraints. But speech limits might not stop at radio. They could even be extended to include the Internet and “government dictating content policy.”


     FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell raised that as a possibility after talking with bloggers at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. McDowell spoke about a recent FCC vote to bar Comcast from engaging in certain Internet practices


Bob G.
Wed, 08/13/2008 - 11:18am

"Fairness Doctrine"...Right up there with "military intelligence" & "female logic", then, right?



Wed, 08/13/2008 - 12:28pm

I see the rationale for it in the context of broadcast radio. There is a limited amount of broadcast spectrum. Those who license the spectrum gain a benefit from the government excluding everyone else from using the public spectrum. The government provided monopoly on that piece of spectrum comes with strings attached -- one of those is that speech isn't limited to the views of those wealthy enough to buy the license.

There's certainly an argument to be made that the downside of such regulation -- being deprived of the comedy stylings of entertainer Rush Limbaugh, for example -- outweigh the upside.

The Internet has no such problem with scarcity or the need for government to keep other people from using it in order to allow your piece of it to work.

Wed, 08/13/2008 - 1:12pm

Now someone is trying to conflate network neutrality with the spectre of fairness doctrine? That's just... silly. And FUD.

Network neutrality is the opposite of government dictating content. It has to do with protocols, not politics.

Comcast and other ISPs want to throttle protocols to make more money, that's all. They also want to propagate the myth of bandwidth crunch to justify the throttling. Even though bandwidth consumption appears to even be leveling off... http://techdirt.com/articles/20080811/1953451953.shtml

Harl Delos
Wed, 08/13/2008 - 1:32pm

The Fairness Doctrine just says that licensed monopolies providing content have to provide equal access to all content. Blogs are not licensed monopolies. Comcast is trying to block users from certain content, and since they're a licensed monopoly, that's a problem.

I was surprised to see this coming from the Heritage Foundation. They're generally not that stupid. I can't say that of all conservative groups calling themselves think-tanks. There's one right now that's claiming global warming is exacerbated by illegal immigration, apparently arguing that illegal immigrants fart more than legal immigrants, and more than they would if they had not immigrated.

Most volcanos, by the way, are under the oceans rather than under the thicker layer of land. When they erupt, they don't send ash into the air so much as they send water vapor. Water vapor is a significant greenhouse gas, so much so that CO2 is an insignificant factor, except in the middle of a desert.

One of the reasons Hansen's faith-based science is so wrong is that he's collecting CO2 measurements on the side of a volcano in the middle of the ocean: Hawai'i. If the temperature of the ocean rises just one degree, the ocean outgasses far more CO2 than mankind could possibly produces, and the ocean's temperature rises (or falls) with solar flares. That's why global temperatures were rising - and why they've been falling again since 1998.

But do you need global warming as an excuse to want clean air? Some of us, you know, actually breathe the stuff.

That's why we need to develop a standardized nuclear plant design and build nukes like crazy - and put money into developing the technology for fusion-based power plants. We've only got a century of uranium available - but there's enough deuterium in the Atlantic alone to power mankind for a hundred millenia.

Leo Morris
Wed, 08/13/2008 - 1:51pm

In all fairness to the Heritage Foundation, they are responding to warings from an FCC commissioner: "Then, whoever is in charge of government is going to determine what is fair, under a so-called

Wed, 08/13/2008 - 8:59pm

So ...are we going to have a Fairness Doctrine for television network news and the print media. How about a Fairness Doctrine for the faculties of most of our universities. Are we going to have a Fairness Doctrine in closed-shop workplaces such as our public secondary schools?

Liberals are willing to be "fair and open" just as long as we agree with them. The First Amendment is good ...until it gets in the way.

Harl ...you probably know that a great many people do not believe that global climate change is unusual or harmful. This is like deja vu all over again as in 1987 when a barge named the Mobro 4000 traveled the ocean seemingly forever unable to dump Long Island's stinking garbage; thus began the trash recycling experiment which will never end regardless of its devastating economic effects.

Until technology catches up and investors are permitted to make a buck, we need to continue to burn coal, oil and natural gas. Even T. Boone's windfall requires old-fashioned electric generating plants to provide power when the wind stops blowing. I do agree with you about nuclear plants, but your environmental whacko buddies have all but shut down that option.

Harl Delos
Wed, 08/13/2008 - 11:15pm

How about a Fairness Doctrine for the faculties of most of our universities.

Most universities are not public but private - and they have a mechanism for fairness already. There's no shortage of empty classrooms. If you have academic credentials, which are fairly easy to get, you can propose almost any course, and they'll be glad to schedule it, and pay you to teach it. If, however, there aren't enough students signing up for the class, it'll get dropped, and you won't get any money.

And yes, it's about that simple. You can even do it if you don't have much in the way of academic credentials but you have sufficient professional credentials. How do I know? Because I've done it.

Are we going to have a Fairness Doctrine in closed-shop workplaces such as our public secondary schools?

The state pretty much defines exactly what has to be taught, and there's not a whole lot of flexibility in that. Public secondary schools are different from universities in that they are tax supported instead of grubbing for every dollar.

Until technology catches up and investors are permitted to make a buck

The process by which technology catches up is called "disruptive technology", and when that happens, it's not a matter of investors making a buck, it's a matter of investors losing a buck. Don't like the game? Go play another.

I do agree with you about nuclear plants, but your environmental whacko buddies have all but shut down that option.

Everybody's my buddy, gadfly.

And I'm not against people making a buck, but when you're making a buck by making me cough and gasp, and shortening my life by polluting the air that I breathe, I'm not going to go quietly. I'm going to point out that turnabout is fair play, and take a dump in the middle of your living room.

You say that they've all but shut down that option, but that's not true. In fact, even without having a standard reference design that would allow rubberstamp nuclear power stations to be built, there are currently 19 nuclear power stations in the process of getting licensed and built anyway. I have them listed here

It's pretty evident that there is global climate change occurring, and it's fairly unusual in that during the early 20th century, the climate was pretty much unchanging. The folks that worship at The Temple of Hansen, chief acolyte being Al Gore, seem to think that the climate change is manmade, and caused by CO2 emissions.

I think it's wrong to claim that Al Gore filled that movie with lies; he seems to think he was telling the truth. However, when I tried to substantiate all those statements, I found that they were not statements of fact.

It's no coincidence that Teddy Roosevelt founded both modern conservationism and modern political conservatism. Both of them are about protecting what has proven itself to be good and valuable.

When I see idiots like Newt and Dubya advocating reckless political policies and calling that conservative politics, or when I see idiots like Gore and Hansen advocating reckless environmental policies and calling it conservation, I see red. In either case, it's fraud, with people being dishonest in order to gain money and power they have no right to.

"Drill here, drill now" isn't good conservative policy, and it's not good conservation policy. It's a con game, designed to separate the rube from his dollar, rather than to solve an actual problem.

And if Boone wants to build his wind farms, with his own money, fine with me. But I notice that the ads don't mention that Boone has just made a big investment in taxicabs that run on natural gas....