FD - Can we move on already

Garrett Wollman wollman@bimajority.org
Mon Mar 2 13:57:46 EST 2009

<<On Mon, 2 Mar 2009 13:26:48 -0500, "Dan Billings" <billings@suscom-maine.net> said:

> The airwaves may be a public resource, but that alone does not just the FD. 

It did when Justice White was writing for the court in /Red Lion/.
Here's the logic:

1) The airwaves are a public resource.

2) The government's responsibility is not to impede freedom of speech
or of the press.

3) But for technical reasons, stations must be licensed somehow, or
nobody would be able to use the airwaves to communicate their message.

4) Given (2) and (3), the government could, if it so chose, give
everyone who wanted to speak a license, and require everyone to share

5) But this would be inefficient, so instead the government gives
licenses only to a few parties, with the requirement that they be used
in a way which reflects the views not only of the licensees, but of
that majority of speakers who did not receive broadcasting licenses.

What's changed in the years since 1968, besides a much more
conservative Supreme Court, is that there are now so many more ways of
spreading one's message to a wide audience, that the restriction of
speech caused by the system of broadcasting licenses is no longer so
onerous as to present an insurmountable barrier for minority
viewpoints to be heard.


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