Wednesday, October 6

Several of the progressive blogs are buzzing about Bush's BIG SPEECH scheduled for tomorrow and demanding that the media give equal time to John Kerry. The discussion brings back memories. Here's the story I told my kids tonight after reading The Buzz:

When I was a first-grader my boyfriend (now a nationally syndicated cartoonist) was the son of the local TV weatherman (Mr. B), who eventually became a personality on the morning show. A few years later, the daddy decided to run for county tax collector. But because he had such a huge advantage in name recognition, his opponent sued, and the courts ruled that the TV station that employed my friend's father had to give his political opponent an hour per day airtime to compensate for the backlog of airtime Mr. B. had accumulated over his career (a precursor ruling to the Fairness Doctrine). The opponent tried to fill the time for a few days until he must have concluded that he was making a fool of himself and surrendered his "right to air." The Fairness Doctrine was a natural extension of this ruling, and even though Mr. B's case was an extreme application of it, the ruling was right and just. The advantage of a campaigner who has constant exposure to the public must be redressed, in fairness, in order for a challenger to present a viable choice to the public. It has been our great loss that the Fairness Act is no more.

But don't expect the media to understand that. Their idea of fairness is "on the other hand." They think they're better qualified to tell us their INTERPRETATION of what both sides say -- not to provide both sides equal access to the airwaves and let us decide what to believe for ourselves.


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