Crazy Ideas: Fairness doctrine for Universities

Ward Connerly writes:

Personally, I oppose the “Fairness Doctrine” for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that it presumes the ignorance of the public and our inability to discern facts from horse manure. But, most significantly, broadcast stations are not owned by the government and should not be considered as government activity. With so many different sources of information – newspapers, major television networks, cable television and talk radio, for example – it is difficult for any one source to give us a “snow job.” But, there is one area of American life where I believe something equivalent to a “Fairness Doctrine” ought to be applied: the college classroom.

Despite the clamor for “diversity” on college campuses, one of the most homogenous facets of American life is the college faculty and the perspectives that they teach in the classroom with regard to controversial subjects such as “affirmative action.” In fact, college professors have one of the most protected monopolies in our nation. They are protected by tenure, “academic freedom,” and our respect for their right to impart their knowledge without infringement by the trustees, the university president or anyone else responsible for university governance.

I am not proposing to abridge the freedom that these classroom dictators enjoy. This would be an instance in which the cure would be worse than the disease. But, unlike someone sitting on the couch with a remote control in hand, a student has little choice but to sit and listen when his or her professor spews forth about the inherent evils of “American imperialism” and how our nation is responsible for many of the things that are wrong on our planet, or why “equity” and “social justice” are being denied to women and “minorities.” In short, it is widely acknowledged that there is little intellectual diversity among university faculties.

In other words a Fairness Doctrine for universities. Perhaps an easy way to make sure it reflects the balance of the country would be to force the professoriate of universities that accept federal funds to have roughly the same ideological balance as the Senate or House of Representatives. When nine out of ten professors at almost every university and college (other than b-schools) is to the left of Cynthia McKinney there is a problem. And since the academy is the home of the intellectual life of the nation, it must be diverse in order to survive and in order for the nation to thrive.

While considering one crazy idea, why not consider another?

Who are the most (self) important persons in the United States government? The House and Senate, of course. And how do we ensure that all the most “important” professions and jobs in America, like bridge building and ditch digging and bus driving and working in a government bureaucracy, are performed by persons whose minds are unclouded by illegal intoxicants? Mandatory drug testing. Mandatory drug testing for the Senate and House is another crazy good idea.

In the words of Pooh Bear, “Think, think, think…”

H/T: RealClearPolitics

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4 responses to “Crazy Ideas: Fairness doctrine for Universities

  1. It’s confusing to me when I hear people call for government to stay out of the broadcasting business. Broadcasting as we know it would not exist were it not for government involvement in assigning exclusive use of portions of the public airwaves and enforcing those rights against any encroachers. By contrast, newspapers don’t rely on the exclusive use of public property to provide service. If the government owned all of the printing presses in the country and gave them out on an exclusive basis to certain selected citizens, the analogy to broadcasting would be more accurate.

    This government-created system permits the government to impose fiduciary duties on broadcasters that it could not impose on newspapers under the First Amendment.

    . A license permits broadcasting, but the licensee has no constitutional right to be the one who holds the license or to monopolize a radio frequency to the exclusion of his fellow citizens. There is nothing in the First Amendment which prevents the Government from requiring a licensee to share his frequency with others of his community and present those views which would otherwise, by necessity, be barred from the airwaves

    No one has a First Amendment right to monopolize a broadcast frequency. Unlike newspaper owners, every broadcaster knows going in that his ability to pursue his private interests are constrained by the obligation to serve the public

    And we should not be deterred in this critical task by those who would use specious constitutional arguments

  2. Pingback: Why the Fairness Doctrine is totally totally totally unnecessary « Wolf Pangloss

  3. Congress relaxed the rules limiting the number of stations owners can accrue, allowing for the makings of behemoth companies that could save money by syndicating the same shows into hundreds of markets.
    “It’s no longer a free market but a highly controlled non-competitive market. It’s not like anyone can set up their fruit stand and compete.”
    Radio licenses are granted by the Federal Communications Commission, and stations are supposed to prove they are serving the public interest.
    Stations used to air more public service shows, even if they crammed them into the most-unlistened-to hours. These days they don’t even do that.
    Many barely air news, and most prove that they serve the public by showing their ratings and raising some money for poor people during holiday drives.
    So what can be done to restore some balance?
    Congress to restore the limitations of how many outlets a radio company can own, back down to 5 percent of a local market and 10 percent of the national market.
    should guarantee more diversity of voices and more local voices.
    Some conservatives will argue that radio is the right’s only bastion against the rest of the “liberal media,” but I don’t buy it. I offer two words in argument: Rupert Murdoch, whose ever-increasing empire includes television, print and movies.
    The real problem is that with fewer owners, there are fewer choices and fewer voices.
    I’m surprised that conservatives who usually argue for the rights of the individual aren’t more afraid of the media takeover by just a few companies.
    It’s really not free speech if you can only hear one side.
    Concentrated ownerships dominate radio, forcing national programming into markets where local voices once prevailed. One company – Clear Channel – owns more than 1,200 radio stations; other chains monopolize small markets. Programming is fed from central locations; most stations offer little local content. Syndicated talkers get massive audiences from chains, which set the agenda for local audiences who might like another choice.
    The real problem is with the consolidation of media in the hands of a few. Roughly five companies control most of the media in the United States. This isn’t the independent press that our forefathers spoke of. The answer is to set policies that put the powerful voices of the media in the hands of as many as are possible. A plethora of voices equals a plethora of opinions.

    In 1983, the great majority of all media — newspapers, magazines, TV and radio — was controlled by 50 corporations; in 1990, by 23 corporations; in 2004, by five corporations; and in 2008, one?
    Increasing concentration of media ownership puts actual radio stations in fewer corporate hands, and corporations are inherently more eager to disseminate a right-wing viewpoint than one from the left.
    Although the right-wingers love to claim that they simply balance NPR it’s an argument that commercial programmers know is specious. NPR never has and never will run hour after hour of a single commentator ranting about the wonders of one party and the horrors of another.
    In other words, if they don’t want to be subject to local criticism of how they are meeting their license obligations, they should pay to support public broadcasters who will operate on behalf of the local community. Commercial broadcasters want to be trustees of public property but without responsibility.
    The broadcasters like the free license and the free protection, but they just don’t want the public involved in telling them whether they are actually serving the public interest..
    They broadcast over the public airwaves [which are] worth billions of dollars.” In return, “these broadcasters are public stewards. They have to give us our money’s worth” in community service.

    “Verizon Wireless pays $5 billion or more to be able to use the public airwaves
    By contrast, “the broadcasters pay zero, and therefore, we need that billion dollars’ worth of public service. Right now, they’re not giving it to us.”
    And if station owners choose not to do so”then we’re going to have to get the money from them just like we get the money from all the other licensees of public airwaves.” The money raised from such fines, could be used “to promote the public media.”
    complete breakdown of the public trustee concept of broadcast, the elimination of clear public interest requirements for broadcasting, and the relaxation of ownership rules including the requirement of local participation in management.

    In 2004, Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone candidly explained why, while he admired Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, he was compelled to support George W. Bush: “A Republican administration is better for media companies than a Democratic one”
    During his years as Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels
    employed a simple, but highly cynical set of rules. He said:

    * There is no truth, only what people believe to be true.
    * Control people’s perceptions of the world and you can control their beliefs.
    * A big lie is as believable as a small one.
    * Tell people what they want to hear; give them simple solutions to complex problems, enemies on whom they can blame their discontents, and promises to satisfy their narrow aspirations…
    too many radio stations are in the hands of too few owners. In many markets, only one or two companies own all the radio stations.

    Despite the dramatic expansion of viewing and listening options for consumers today, traditional radio remains one of the most widely used media formats in America. Arbitron, the national radio ratings company, reports that more than 90 percent of Americans ages 12 or older listen to radio each week, “a higher penetration than television, magazines, newspapers, or the Internet.” Although listening hours have declined slightly in recent years, Americans listened on average to 19 hours of radio per week in 2006.
    Free Speech? Free Speech for whom?
    Clear Channel is the largest radio station owner in the country. It runs more than 1,200 channels, which together account for 9 percent of the market. Its CEO contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Bush’s election campaign. When hundreds of thousands of American citizens took to the streets to protest against the war on Iraq, Clear Channel organized pro-war patriotic “Rallies for America” across the country. It used its radio stations to advertise the events and then sent correspondents to cover them as though they were breaking news.
    The Fairness Doctrine would not prevent a single person on talk radio or television from expressing his or her point of view. What it would do is provide a format that would prevent the one-sided arguments, half-truths and non-truths, and personal attacks that make up much of today’s heated media format. prevent the indoctrination of single-view political ideaology’s – and the ability to hear both sides, or multiple sides, of a position. Americans should be thinkers, and not followers, on important issues that affect the country and the world. Once educated and able to form an opinion, then falling on either side of an issue is okay by me.

  4. stations in fewer corporate hands, and corporations are inherently more eager to disseminate a right-wing viewpoint than one from the left.

    Bullscheisse. Conglomerate mega-corporations are interested in the status quo only, and one easy way to beat off competitors is raising the cost of doing business via excruciating government regulations. That is a Leftist agenda in case that wasn’t clear.