One of the arguments in the current budget battle is over funding for public broadcasting, which fiscal conservative Republicans want to cut and Democrats and RINOs want to keep. Separate from the budget battle but still very active at the present time is the argument over the so-called “fairness” doctrine. This is the view that anyone with a broadcast license can be required to give “equal” time to opposing viewpoints on controversial issues. Conservative defenders of the First Amendment, who are also usually fiscal conservative Republicans, oppose the imposition of the “fairness” doctrine while statist Democrats seem to keep dredging it up.
Now we are told that, because of split control of the government for the next two years, we must compromise on budgetary matters. While I personally believe that we must instead make a stand and finally push back the bloated behemoth which is our federal government, I am willing to accept the wisdom of my betters in Washington and try to think of ways to compromise. And I think I have come up with one! Let PBS and NPR keep their government funding, but subject them to the fairness doctrine.
It’s a beautiful compromise. Leftists get taxpayer money for their public broadcasting and at least a partial implementation of the fairness doctrine. After all, if the fairness doctrine is so great, why not get it implemented whenever and wherever possible? Although conservatives may object to its imposition on private broadcasters, surely they can not complain about its application to taxpayer-funded broadcasting? And on my side, although my preference would be to end all taxpayer funding of any broadcaster, as a fiscal conservative I would consent to such a compromise in a spirit of “moderation” and “reasonableness,” and of course above all to avoid being called an extremist by Chuck Schumer.
So what would our beloved PBS and NPR look like under the fairness doctrine? Well, take as an example the 90 minute documentary I just watched on my local PBS station called “Journey to Planet Earth: Plan B: Mobilizing to Save Civilization.” Hosted by Matt Damon and starring “environmental visionary” Lester Brown, this documentary presented as incontrovertible fact the view that if we don’t reduce our CO2 emissions by 80% by 2020, human civilization is certainly doomed. (By the way, don’t worry. We can easily achieve this goal. All we need is a complete government takeover of the economy like in World War Two. Whew, what a relief!) Now I think it would be completely reasonable under the fairness doctrine to require PBS to give an equal amount of time in an equivalent time slot to a documentary questioning climate change science. Or any program sympathetically reporting on gay marriage would require a program of equal length and placement sympathetically reporting on the opposition to gay marriage. Any program warning of the dangers of right-wing extremism would require one reporting on the dangers of left-wing extremism. NPR commentators would have to be strictly allocated across the political spectrum, which means they would suddenly have to sign up a host of conservatives (maybe they could just make a deal to carry Rush Limbaugh?).
Yes, a beautiful compromise. Or maybe, as the man said in the covert video, they would finally agree that public broadcasting would be better off without federal funding.