FAIRNESS? YEAH RIGHT!By Edward L. Daley Less than half a month has passed since the Democrats took control of Congress, and already they are proving to everyone just how far to the left their party has slid over the years. In typical neo-communist fashion, Representative Maurice Hinchey of New York  has decided to drag the long-buried - but apparently not quite dead - Fairness Doctrine  out of its tomb, dust it off, rename it the Media Ownership Reform Act (MORA) , and attempt to replace free speech in the media with what he and his ilk like to refer to as "fair speech".
Of course, neither Mr. Hinchey nor his bill's 16 liberal co-sponsors can explain why they believe free speech is so unfair to begin with that they feel compelled to replace it with something else. And it should come as no surprise to anyone that clearly delineating the criteria by which someone in the media may be deemed "fair" is also something they're unwilling to do, since determining the difference between what's fair and what's unfair is purely subjective in nature.
For instance, is it fair that members of Congress get huge salaries for doing next to nothing, while the vast majority of their constituents have to work much harder for far less money? Many people would say no, but I'm betting Maurice Hinchey and his cronies on Capitol Hill don't feel that way.
In my opinion, forcing the children of poor people into a public school system which condemns most of them to a life of quiet desperation and, at best, mediocre employment prospects is unfair in the extreme, but you won't see the new Fairness Police in Washington D.C. offering any of America's underprivileged kids the opportunity to attend private schools anytime soon.
Mr. Hinchey states that MORA "seeks to restore integrity and diversity to America's media system by lowering the number of media outlets that one company is permitted to own in a single market," but he fails to point out that no company is going to be successful enough to buy very many media outlets in any market unless it gives its audience what it wants. Fed up with the left-wing bias that has permeated the television news industry for decades, today's media consumers demand both diversity and integrity from the people who provide them with news and information. That's why talk radio programs are so popular these days. Shows like Rush Limbaugh's afford their listeners with a wide variety of viewpoints, and their hosts routinely cite articles from the most reputable news sources around.
While it's no secret that Mr. Limbaugh is a staunch right-winger, half of the news stories he reads over the airwaves come straight from the New York Times, the Washington Post, and many other left-leaning publications, and just as many liberals call into his program as conservatives. If they didn't, his ratings would plummet! Nobody wants to listen to three hours of people agreeing with each other about everything. Folks tune into Rush to hear him argue with liberals - and sometimes other conservatives - not to listen to a bunch of saps tell him how wonderful they think he is.
Comrade Hinchey also relates that his bill "reinstates the Fairness Doctrine" in order to "protect fairness and accuracy in journalism," yet there is at least as much accuracy in news reporting today as there was before 1987 when the original Fairness Doctrine was done away with. Does anyone really believe that the now infamous Bush National Guard document story of 2004 would have been exposed for the fraud it was if the media of today resembled the media of the 1970s?
And need I remind anyone that the main reason why the FCC discarded its rules concerning (supposed) fairness was because they actually discouraged debate on the more controversial issues of the day? Broadcasters didn't want to risk being punished by the federal government for not being "fair enough" when it came to exhibiting ideological balance in their programming, so they simply avoided many hot-button issues altogether.
Between cable television, newspapers, talk radio, and the Internet, we have more access to information than at any time in our history, and although much of it is inaccurate, most of it is not. While it is difficult to know for sure, I suspect that the modern media brings us more truth than the Jurassic media ever did, because today's technology provides millions of average citizens with the means to do something that Dan Rather apparently never learned how to do... fact-check.
Gone are the days when average Americans had no choice but to accept what was spoon-fed to them by the media elite. In case Mr. Hinchey hadn't noticed, this is the year 2007, and I personally have access to more information today than the entire CBS television network had only a few decades ago.
Isn't that "fair" enough for you, Congressman, or do you think I need Al Gore to come to my home personally and preach to me about the dangers of human-caused global warming until my freakin' ears bleed?
Edward L. Daley is the owner of the Daley Times-Post http://www.times-post.com