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Whatever you may think of the Fairness Doctrine,

11/20/2008

balance and fairness do not exist by its absence, and the Free Market ensures nothing but that the biased, albeit varied, will of the people can affect the content and direction of the media. However, it is because not all people think alike that competition and some semblance of the aspired to goals of balance and fairness can even exist. While It is not correct to assume complete balance and fairness are the default benefits of F.M. competition, that F.M.C. aids in achieving those goals, is probably correct, as a challenge to preconceived notions, as F.M.C. inherently brings, can wrest us from ignorance, and committees whose purpose is to impose balance and fairness can have the ironic consequence of preventing both, as their own ignorances can cloud them from seeing the folly of their own understandings of what balance and fairness are. But to accept competition alone as being what brings truth, perhaps more important than either balance or fairness, about, is to allow yourself to be readily mislead by a flawed premise: Reading a  thousand dishonest sources cannot make you more knowledgeable of the truth, merely more skeptical of what truth is, and a thousand honest ones cannot disagree with each other in any substantive way, if honesty refers to what is factual, and not to the sincerity of the opinions of sources, thereby making their value to you negligable, unless you accept them as honest.

All three terms, balance, fairness, and truth, and any of their synonymous words and phrases, may exist within any given medium, not by deflecting to the biased nature of other media, as a means of protection against criticism and scutiny, but by how well that given medium strives to live up to those goals. Fox News, the New York Times, print media, talk radio, etc., any of them, cannot have their fair stories made unfair, nor can their unfair stories be made fair, by the amoral quality of their competitors, nor even by their own internal character. Each source is responsible for itself. If two siblings give both halves of the truth of a matter to their parents, when both know the full truth, both siblings are liars, and will be so even if the parents learn of the whole truth at nearly the same time.

My intent is not to advocate for the Fairness Doctrine, but to express my rejection of the notion that F.M.C. will create what the F.D. can’t either, and that the aforementioned goals can exist in the media as a whole. With or without the F.D., they can’t.

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