Monday, April 25, 2005

Regulation of Speech, de-regulation, and the effects they have

PowerLine, a conservative blog in the Twin Cities, today posted Part One of an interview with Brian Anderson, author of South Park Conservatives : The Revolt Against Liberal Media Bias. Along the way Anderson mentioned the reason we now have the phenomenon of talk radio, but didn't before Ronald Reagan partially deregulated speech on the airwaves:
Political talk [radio is] so much part of our national fabric these days that people forget how new it is. [It] owes its existence to Ronald Reagan, whose FCC phased out the Fairness Doctrine in the late 1980s. That doctrine required broadcasters airing political opinions to provide equal time for opposing views. In practice, this would mean a station that broadcast, say, Sean Hannity, and had millions of listeners for his show would also have to air Al Franken or some other left-wing equivalent, even if the ratings stunk, as Air America’s do...What station could run the risk? Better to broadcast blandness.

With the Fairness Doctrine lifted, talk radio exploded: in the early 1980s, there were only 75 or so stations broadcasting talk shows of any kind on the airwaves; today, there’s roughly 1,400, and there are more than 4,000 hosts broadcasting.
As I recall, Reagan was roundly- and viciously- denounced for ending "fairness". It is funny how so many ppl -not all of them Democrats, by any means- are so threatened by something as simple as freedom that they demand the government end it. Putting an end to one dry little regulation had quite an effect.

What other regulations are out there which we would be better off without?


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