Things I wish people knew about the Fairness Doctrine

The whole history of the old broadcast Fairness Doctrine is one of regimenting opinion to benefit political insiders and favor establishment views. Unless that’s your goal, keep it away from the Internet. Paul Matzko explains at Cato, with many historical details.

One Comment

  • I’m not sure this kind of control is appropriate for the Internet. The Fairness Doctrine was design to equalize access to a limited resource. However, the Internet is not limited in the same way. Anyone can post on the Internet, and the post itself consumes few resources. Bandwidth to access the post is where the limited resource is consumed. Since the most popular articles/topics/posts consume the most bandwidth, the system is self-regulating.

    We don’t need a control on bandwidth; that will manage itself. Perhaps what we need to consider is control on access; in other words, providers should not be able to restrict access to the de facto means of communication i.e.: social media platforms.

    Think about it: how would you feel if the phone company refused to give you a phone because of what you might say over it? It’s particularly concerning when such action is taken after threat of regulation by the government under the guise of limiting “hate” speech (effectively, an end run around the first amendment).

    At what point does an access system (Facebook, etc.) become such a default or standard tool for communication that it takes on the character of a monopoly?