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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Equal Time on the Airwaves Again?

American statists never cease to amaze me with their pervasive blind faith in and blind obedience to goverment as well as their blind ignorance to the true meaning of human liberty and economics. According to the latest Rasmussen Reports poll, nearly half of all Americans want the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine on television and terrestrial talk radio, although they are against it being applied to the Internet -- specifically, political blogs, websites, and online talk radio shows as well.

Here's the article in its entirety:

47% Favor Government Mandated Political Balance on Radio, TV
Thursday, August 14, 2008

Nearly half of Americans (47%) believe the government should require all radio and television stations to offer equal amounts of conservative and liberal political commentary, but they draw the line at imposing that same requirement on the Internet. Thirty-nine percent (39%) say leave radio and TV alone, too.

At the same time, 71% say it is already possible for just about any political view to be heard in today’s media, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Twenty percent (20%) do not agree.

Fifty-seven percent (57%) say the government should not require websites and blog sites that offer political commentary to present opposing viewpoints. But 31% believe the Internet sites should be forced to balance their commentary (full demographic crosstabs available for Premium Members.)

Please sign up for the Rasmussen Reports daily e-mail update (it’s free)… let us keep you up to date with the latest public opinion news.

In a July 2007 Rasmussen Reports survey, Americans were evenly divided on whether or not the government should require political balance on TV and radio stations. A survey this week has shown that voters consider media bias a bigger problem than large campaign contributions.

Conservatives have expressed alarm in recent months over congressional Democratic efforts to restore the so-called Fairness Doctrine which would mandate politically balanced commentary on the airwaves.

Just this week Robert McDowell, a Bush appointee to the Federal Communications Commission, suggested that the restoration of the Fairness Doctrine, abolished in 1987 by the Reagan administration, could lead to government regulation of content on the Internet.

Democrats are more supportive of government involvement in the airwaves than Republicans and unaffiliated voters. Fifty-four percent (54%) of Democrats favor it, and only 26% are opposed. Republicans and unaffiliated voters are fairly evenly divided.

Even Democrats say hands-off the Internet though but by a far smaller margin than Republicans and unaffiliated voters. Democrats oppose government-mandated balance on the Internet by a 48% to 37% margin. Sixty-one percent (61%) of Republicans reject government involvement in Internet content along with 67% of unaffiliated voters.

Only 45% of Americans say they are following recent news stories about the Fairness Doctrine even somewhat closely, while 15% say they are not following the story at all.

Democrats have been pushing the Fairness Doctrine in part because of the long-standing complaint by liberals that conservatives dominate talk radio. Conservatives counter that their political foes are just trying to use the government to push liberal talk radio even though it has been rejected by the marketplace.

In the new survey, 42% say there are more conservative radio talk shows because they get better ratings, but 28% believe it is because stations owners are biased. Seventeen percent (17%) attribute it to an unspecified other reason, and 13% are unsure.

Most Republicans (61%) believe conservative talk radio has flourished because of the ratings, with only 11% saying it is due to bias. Democrats, on the other hand, see bias as the reason over ratings by a 42% to 28% margin. Among unaffiliateds, 42% say ratings and 27% say bias.

Voters in all categories agree by sizable margins that it is possible for just about any political view to be heard in today’s media.

With the Congress expected to stay firmly under Democratic control, the responses of those who plan to vote for the party’s presidential candidate Barack Obama versus his Republican opponent John McCain suggest what direction the Fairness Doctrine debate is likely to take in the coming year. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of likely Obama voters believe the government should make all radio and TV stations offer equal amounts of conservative and liberal commentary, as opposed to 40% of potential McCain voters who feel that way. But 63% of McCain voters and 53% of Obama voters reject similar regulation of web sites and bloggers.

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll shows that the race between Obama and McCain remains close and stable.

See survey questions and toplines. Crosstabs are available for Premium Members only.

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.

The Rasmussen Reports ElectionEdge™ Premium Service for Election 2008 offers the most comprehensive public opinion coverage ever provided for a Presidential election.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.

I'm opposed to this entire nonsense, considering that the statists who are pushing their utopian view of a "fair and balanced" (Oops, that's Fox News' copyrighted term now) viewpoint by the restoration of this vile regulation.

Considering Let Liberty Ring is a ideologically pure libertarian blog but allows libertarian bloggers of all stripes to post on here, what makes Americans think that the Fairness Doctrine wouldn't also apply to the Internet? The doctrine would require me by law to allow "liberal" and "conservative" viewpoints on the site, in order to provide that "balanced" viewpoint for my blog readers. But that means this blog would no longer be called Let Liberty Ring. It would instead be called Let Statist Bloggers Ring or some ridiculous title for this blog.

Moreover, perhaps the members of the "Left" have forgotten that they have their Huffington Post blog, which provides extensive "liberal" viewpoints on the Net. Don't forget MSNBC and CNN, as those are "liberal" networks espousing "liberal" views. Of course, you have the failed Air America network, which has been an enormous failure, but it's no secret that they have "liberal" talk radio show hosts who espouse "liberal" beliefs on the air. The reason that AA failed is that, since "leftists" don't believe in the free market but rather government control and ownership of the radio shows, they believe their talk shows should be subsidized by the government, a la PBS but in a talk radio format.

Not only that, it's not as if they haven't been able to provide their points of view on television, on talk radio, and on the blogs. Radio shows, TV talk shows, and blogs voluntarily provide a balanced view of the ideas on those shows anyway, especially when libertarian ideas seep into the discussions. There are plenty of mediums that offer that (like NowLive and Blog Talk Radio). How many Internet and terrestrial talk radio shows, TV talk shows, and blogs provide opinions that are "liberal" and "conservative" on a daily basis? There are lots of them in the online alternative media. To say that's not the case makes you quite either disingenuous or clueless.

And the "leftists" and their Democratic sycophants believe in free speech? Right. And I'm Ghenghis Khan reincarnated.

No, Democrats and the "Left" in that party are hardly ever champions of free speech. They believe in politically-correct free speech, not the First Amendment. Besides, they support the Fairness Doctrine to squelch those individual rights to express their point of view while the "liberal" point of view must take precedence over libertarian or even conservative views.

Not that conservatives are champions of free speech either, especially on talk radio, television, and in print. This is because they love to push for morality down every American's throat by flexing their politically-charged authoritarian muscles.

What gets lost in this discussion is the issue over private property rights. The doctrine, if imposed, would violate the private property rights of the network hosts who own those shows and the publisher of the blogs who provide their sites to readers at now charge. If this law gets passed, those sites would probably find that their costs are going up and have to charge their readers and users all because of the "need" for "liberal" and "conservative" viewpoints, which are just basically rhetoric anyhow. Can any progressive who sometimes go by the label "leftist" please tell me how this is "fair"? What makes this measure "fair" for the listeners and readers of these mediums? What about what the listeners want? Why should it *only* be what the callers and the guests want?

It's too bad that about half of our populace advocates this. Thanks to the government schools and the government-coddled and government-regulated media, it's not a surprise that this has become the rule rather than the exception.