Monday, June 15, 2009

An interesting summer read?

Here's an interesting-looking book I just ran across on I'm considering putting on my summer reading list. It might just be a good beach read...hopefully. It's called "Censorship: The Threat to Silence Talk Radio."

According to its description, the book is a criticism of the Fairness Doctrine which, in my opinion, should never be reinstated. Its effect will certainly NOT be more ideas and points of view in broadcasting but less. This is a historical fact. During the years the Fairness Doctrine was in effect, there was a lot less politically oriented, opinion-oriented broadcasting than there is today. If broadcasters had to balance every single point of view with a counter argument, they just played it safe and easy and tried to avoid as much controversial talk as possible.

Today, of course, most of the folks afraid of the Fairness Doctrine are the conservative radio talk show hosts and their fans. Programs by Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity or other conservative pundits would not exist under the Fairness Doctrine.

Now the book Censorship appears to be a strictly conservative-point-of-view critique of the Fairness Doctrine. Hannity even writes an introduction to the book. To be fair, though, the back of the book jacket even carries an endorsing blurb by arch-liberal Alan Colms.

While I am opposed to the Fairness Doctrine on principle, I am only a little bit skeptical about the commitment to free speech of what has recently emerged as the "conservative base" of the Republican party. These, by the way are the Moral Majority types, the ultra-right-wing fundamentalists who also rail against the "smut," "indecency," and "filth" of so much of TV broadcasting and shock jocks on other radio programs. You know, the Parents Television Council types. So I'm curious if this conservative defense of freedom in broadcasting is honest, or if it's merely a few disingenuous ultraconservatives talking the talk to save right wing radio while they would back the censorship of anything else they deem "offensive."

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