Friday, January 9, 2009

DeMint warns Christian groups on Fairness Doctrine

The most potent grassroots constituent could become a whole lot louder.

South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint notes that at a time when Christianity has become controversial, a revived Fairness Doctrine could be used to press Christian stations to air anti-Christian views.

Conservative talk show hosts worry that government-mandated balance would prompt stations to drop their programs.

Lately, we've been hearing a lot from liberals who think conservatives are paranoid about any return to the doctrine, but Americans who believe in free speech merely need look to Canada for how fucked up things can get when the government begins deciding what's fair.

The Canadian government has ordered a Christian ministry that teaches doctrine and the differences between Christians and cults shut down because its reference materials were "critical" of the beliefs of those who are not Christian.

Or this.

In May 2002, a Catholic high school in Whitby, Ontario, was forced by the Ontario Supreme Court to allow a homosexual student, Marc Hall, to take his boyfriend to the graduation prom, even though the church-run school has strict prohibitions against condoning any kind of homosexual behaviour.

And marriage commissioners, who are public employees licensed to perform civil marriages, were told by Frank Quennell, the Saskatchewan Minister of Justice, to resign if they intend to refuse to perform same sex marriages. Several have already. The new legislation currently being considered by the Canadian government provides no protection for civic officials who for reasons of conscience or religious belief will not perform a same sex marriage.

So maybe Obama and the FCC won't impose the Fairness Doctrine. But you can see why Christians, in particular, and free speech advocates, in general, are so sensitive to any hint of its return.

Now onto the current liberal meme that any return of the Fairness Doctrine is silly guff from conservatives, who are getting bent out of shape for nothing. The Huffington Post has been especially dismissive the past few weeks.

Well, just run a simple "Fairness Doctrine" search on Huffington Post, and you'll see the disingenuous schizophrenia. Articles scoffing at the notion that liberals want to impose the Fairness Doctrine are juxtapositioned with articles advocating its return.

Dave Johnson wrote a piece for Huffington, "Restore the Fairness Doctrine!" which is as exclamatory as its title suggests.

In 2007, Charlie Reina wrote a piece: "Bring back the fairness doctrine -- for cable, too", which begins:

Rep. Dennis Kucinich's stated intention to revisit the Fairness Doctrine is part of upcoming hearings on media reform is welcome news.

Or consider a Huffington piece from Sherman Yellen, written in November of 2008, and titled "Life isn't fair, but media should be".

All of this is just a preamble to my view that we must restore the old Fairness Doctrine.

Liberal efforts to impose a Fairness Doctrine might not be unanimous, but in some powerful corners they are very real. And if I'm counted as abnormally sensitive to the issue, don't complain to me; complain to all the men and women who've sacrificed their lives for this country.