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The Neutral Doctrine? The Fairness Doctrine for the Net
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2008-08-13 18:57
FCC Commissioner McDowell recently warned bloggers at the Heritage Foundation to look out for the Net neutrality issue to become intertwined with a possible push for the return of the Fairness Doctrine. He's right to lay down that marker.
The Fairness Doctrine was an FCC regulation that required broadcasters to "fairly" present both sides of controversial topics -- or be subject to FCC investigations and fines.
Why Commissioner McDowell is correct in linking the Fairness Doctrine to net neutrality is that, at core, supporters of both see Government regulation as necessary and the best way to "guarantee" free speech. (Never mind that the Constitutional concern of the Founding Fathers was that Government, not individuals or companies, was the biggest threat to free speech.)
Bottomline: Don't be fooled by the neutralism movement's retooling, rebranding, and updating their ongoing concern about media "fairness" as net neutrality, open access and Internet Freedom. At core, neutralists want Big Government to control the ecosystem for generating Internet media/content -- not free-market forces.
Think of The Fairness Doctrine of the 21st century as "The Neutral Doctrine."