The Fairness Doctrine, R.I.P.

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Well, it looks like “the fairness doctrine” died a quiet death today. White House spokesman Ben LaBolt told Fox News that President Obama was not interested in restoring the Federal Communications Commission rule that basically requires broadcasters to give equal time to opposing points of view.

If enforced, the rule would obviously create havoc in talk radio land where conservatives dominate the airwaves. Not surprisingly, the right has been in a tailspin about this, predicting that Obama would somehow take away half of Rush and Sean and Laura and but liberals in their place. Talk about redistribution! But despite some congressional interest in the measure, the idea of restoring it was never really in play.

Intellectually, I think the idea is weak and the administration seems to think so, too. After all, it hearkens back to a pre-internet era when finding an opposing view was harder. But there were some lingering questions about what Obama would do. David Axelrod got asked about it on Fox News Sunday–yes, this is a News Corp obsession–and he punted, saying it was a decision best left for Julius Genachowski, Obama’s not-yet-announced nominee to chair the FCC. (Genachowski is a close friend, for what it’s worth.) But it looks like the decision’s already been made. Seems sensible to me but the right loses something to fulminate about. I’m curious to see how much disappointment there is on the left.

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