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February 8, 2009

Corporate Radio Not Balanced

-- by Dave Johnson

Corporate radio is using OUR airwaves to present only right-wing propaganda. The airwaves are used to tell us we should support right-wing Republican policies, and to mock the majority of us for wanting democracy.

See Another Right-Wing Conspiracy in Washington?

Companies are given a license to operate public airwaves -- free! -- in order to make a profit, yes, but also, according to the terms of their FCC license, "to operate in the public interest and to afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views of issues of public importance." Stations are not operating in the public interest when they offer only conservative talk.

For years, the Fairness Doctrine prevented such abuse by requiring licensed stations to carry a mix of opinion. However, under pressure from conservatives, President Ronald Reagan's Federal Communications Commission canceled the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, insisting that in a free market, stations would automatically offer a balance in programming.

That experiment has failed. There is no free market in talk radio today, only an exclusive, tightly held, conservative media conspiracy. The few holders of broadcast licenses have made it clear they will not, on their own, serve the general public. Maybe it's time to bring back the Fairness Doctrine -- and bring competition back to talk radio in Washington and elsewhere.


Posted by Dave Johnson at February 8, 2009 8:54 AM


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