Is the Fairness Doctrine inconsistent with the First amendment right to free speech?
I believe the Fairness Doctrine upholds Free Speech in the First Amendment. Radio stations should be able to broadcast both sides. For example, Rush Limbaugh is very vocal in his opinions and that is fine. Other people should be able to debate that.
The First Amendment gives everyone the right to free speech. In the Fairness Doctrine, the government mandates equal time to different views. This is without consideration to the percentage of the population that holds the views, or on the significance of the issue. This left 2 majority parties with over 40% of the population's support having "equal" time with minority parties that have less than 2% of the view, and taking time away from the candidates that most people wanted to hear more of. Minor issues on bus routes received equal debate time as major issues, like tax increases and corruption measures, taking time away from critical debates. To interfere with the availability of speech over the airwaves is to interfere with the First Amendment. The irony is that the Fairness Doctrine did nothing to address liberal bias in news reporting or any reporting in newspapers, while limiting talk radio and television.
The First Amendment was designed to protect Americans' views, without interference from the government. The Fairness Doctrine, however, lets government councils decide what is "fair" or not. This makes it difficult for radio and television broadcasters to air controversial or political shows, as they would be afraid of being punished.
I think the marketplace should be the judge of what programs are on our airwaves. When the government gets involved in trying to balance out the opinions of tv or radio the result would be to limit the freedom of speech. Stations would just not have any programs that had hosts with strong feeling so that they wouldn't have to balance them out with someone who felt the opposite. The result would be very dull programming.
The Fairness Doctrine does not uphold free speech. The Fairness Doctrine would actually decrease free speech. By implementing the Fairness Doctrine, you would be eliminating the forces of a free market. If you do this, certain radio hosts can not speak out as often as they like due to government restraints over the airwaves, even though the people demand freedom for all to speak.
The Fairness Doctrine basically stated that broadcast license-holders have a duty to present important issues to the public and and to give multiple perspectives while doing so. At present, when the broadcast license holders see nothing wrong with labeling their personal opinions as news, and when large multi-media corporations which are owned by out-of-country business interests have a vested interest in only providing one viewpoint and in trying to get people upset in order to get them to hold on until the next commercial, there is a considerable need for fairness. We have in this country a Democratic Republic... We say that we have a democracy yet without adequate representation in the media of all voices, the average voter has no chance of making an informed decision. The Fairness Doctrine provides for the first amendment rights of even minority candidates, unpopular candidates, and others, and gives all an equal voice. This is perfectly in line with the first amendment as well as fostering the democratic process.
The Fairness Doctrine is taking the issue of free speech from the First Amendment and saying that it has to be enforced. There is nothing about free speech that was intended to be a forced thing. The founding of our nation saw people who believed that you should speak your mind, without fear of reprisal from the government. The Fairness Doctrine says you better not speak your mind, unless someone who doesn't agree with you speaks their mind also. This is government intervention in free speech. This issue is exactly what the founders wanted to avoid for our country.
Whenever a group of people is allowed to decide what is fair and what isn't, that group will inevitably use their own prejudices to color their decisions. True freedom of speech allows individuals to express their opinions without being judged appropriate by someone else. The Fairness Doctrine would have government decide how much opinion of one side or another will be allowed - the antithesis of the First Amendment.
I think the Fairness Doctrine is inconsistent with the First Amendment. It censors what people say, which is against the right for free speech that all people have in the U.S. The only reason why it prevents people from saying what they believe is to keep the airways "clean." Because of this, I think it was established for the wrong reasons and is not consistent with the First Amendment.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees our freedom of speech. The Fairness Doctrine seeks to mitigate that by requiring broadcast networks to air opposing viewpoints. Although this, in no way, is harmful to free speech of individuals, it does tend to hamstring broadcasters by requiring them to air viewpoints that they may or may not agree with.
Although this thought is new to me, I see that requiring that both sides be presented is a violation of free speech. Broadcasters are certainly able to get around this though, so it isn't that significant a violation. It is a good and fair idea to make both sides be presented but probably isn't really possible in the real world. Some news station calls itself balanced, but it is as far from balanced as possible and rarely presents both sides of the issues. So, although in essence this may be inconsistent with the right to free speech, in practice, it seems to not violate this right.
The fairness doctrine forced TV broadcasters to show open topic debates about topics, which would be consistent to free speech opportunity. Freedom of speech is willing to speak openly about topics, in a controlled manner so long as it is peaceful. No one is forced to watch it, and people can learn from it.
I find it amusing that many feel that the Fairness Doctrine gives the government a hand in the reporting of the press... news flash, without the doctrine in place it is allowing the government to push whatever it wants and it doesn't need proof to do so. The news you are handed everyday is based upon what gets the ratings up. This isn't about freedom of speech, but the truthfulness in what is reported to the public.
The Fairness Doctrine doesn't impinge on First Amendment rights, because the doctrine applies only to broadcasts over the public spectrum. The spectrum is a public property, and the government is correct to issue licenses in a manner that serves the public. If restrictions like the Fairness Doctrine are not placed on those who successfully bid for licenses to use the spectrum, we could allow a situation where wealthy corporations use the spectrum for their benefit alone.
The fairness doctrine would actually decrease free speech. By using the fairness doctrine, you are eliminating the forces of the free market. If you do this, certain talk radio hosts can not speak out as much as they like due to government restraints over the airwaves, even though the people highly demand that person be able to speak. The free market is the only way to promote free speech, while the fairness doctrine would only diminish free thought and free speech.
In theory, the Fairness Doctrine is supposedly going to ensure that all views get an equal chance of being heard. I feel that we already have that now. We have freedom of speech already. If you don't want to hear someone's view, turn it off!
Simply because both view points need to be represented, it does not mean that a broadcaster needs to change his opinion. He can say whatever he wants, so long as he gives opportunity for the opposing side to say what they want to say also. This may actually enhance what he wants to say, by giving it validity, as the listeners become aware of the opposition.
I think that the Fairness Doctrine is nothing more than a nicely worded bill set to put government influence onto journalists. It deprives journalistic honesty, while claiming to do the opposite. It also contradicts the basic principles of journalism. Journalists are supposed to be free to provide criticism via facts, and that applies to criticism of the government. What the Fairness Doctrine does is allow the government to impede on journalist reporting, preventing them from objective and factual representation of what they are reporting on.
The Fairness Doctrine was not meant to stifle any beliefs from being broadcast, but only to present a diverse array of perspectives. Free speech is not affected by the Doctrine. Allowing multiple people to speak on an issue from differing sides of the issue instead promotes free speech by encouraging the representation of multiple perspectives, rather than whatever the dominant perspective is.
Freedom of speech does not, in my opinion, include the right to indoctrinate people with lies and propaganda in order to sway them to your side. Without the Fairness Doctrine, it would have been much more likely that broadcasters, especially in the years after it was instated (particularly with Korea and Vietnam and the Red Scare), would have presented a biased view toward major issues of the day. It is always important that a news source, in order to be credible, try to present the truth or at least present both sides in order to guide people to what they believe the truth to be.