FD - Can we move on already

A. Joseph Ross joe@attorneyross.com
Mon Mar 2 13:45:52 EST 2009

On 2 Mar 2009 at 12:16, Bob Nelson wrote:

> One thing is true: He is on 600 stations because he draws ratings
> and advertisers. If the Left got their own Limbaugh, who would wind
> up on the same amount of stations, then great: it would be the free
> market in action. Having "opposing views" foisted on radio by
> government isn't right, though. One could only imagine a Fairness
> Doctrine applied to TV, newspapers, magazines, movies, music, and
> ALL radio as well. 

Even when the left gets ratings, a number of corporate advertisers 
refuse to advertise on left-leaning talk shows.  There were a large 
number of advertisers who instructed their agencies not to buy 
programs on Air America stations, regardless of ratings.
> The day NPR gets conservative political talk (equal to liberal talk)
> is the day we will indeed be fair and balanced :) Political talk that
> attracts listeners and advertisers, not mandated by Big Brother.

One example of the Fairness Doctrine in action was during the major 
battles around condominium conversion around 1979-1980 or so.  As 
president of the Brookline Tenant Union, I appeared on a talk show on 
WBUR with landlord and condo developer Harold Brown.  The Brookline 
District Court had recently issued a criminal complaint against Brown 
for some sort of violation of Brookline's rent control laws (I don't 
remember the details).  When the subject came up in the program, 
Brown said that the issuance of the complaint was "coerced."  This 
was a serious accusation, for which Brown had no backup at all.  I 
knew the magistrate who had issued the decision, and while he and I 
often disagreed, I knew him to be a person of integrity.  I responded 
to that effect and said that he was not one to be "coerced" into 
issuing a criminal complaint against anyone.  

I later learned that WBUR sent a cassette of the program to the 
magistrate and asked if he wanted to reply.  He chose not to, but he 
liked the fact that I defended him.
> I just don't like the idea of government regulating speech. President
> Barack Obama and former President Jimmy Carter don't either. They
> didn't support the Fairness Doctrine. Are we being alarmist here?
> Maybe so, but you can't be too careful.

I thing the greater danger in this country, and in this day and age, 
is of large private enterprises regulating speech.  I am comfortable 
with government redressing that imbalance.

A. Joseph Ross, J.D.                           617.367.0468
 92 State Street, Suite 700                   Fax 617.507.7856
Boston, MA 02109-2004           	         http://www.attorneyross.com

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