Saturday, July 14, 2007

Fairness Doctrine

Fairness Doctrine

There has been a call from some asking for a restoration of the fairness doctrine. I really support this idea. The Fairness Doctrine was a standard put in place by the FCC to assure that the public airwaves wouldn't be used to advocated a specific political agenda. There was a fear that those in power, or those with enough money could limit free speech. Oddly, in the 1980's it was decided that the fairness doctrine (basically saying that if you give 1 hour of air time to the democrats, you have to give 1 hour of air time to the republicans) potentially could, somehow, limit free speech. Frankly, I don't get it. How does removing the assurance that both sides of an issue are presented assure free speech? I think we've discovered that the opposite is true.

Shortly after the fairness doctrine was lifted, radio stations filled their programming with republican apologists like Rush Limbaugh and people who take their show daily from the republican party talking points, like Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly. Station programmers claim that all this is appropriate because they can sell the ads and the ratings show that the programs are popular. All this may be true. But isn't dialog on the important issues of the day worth an examination of all sides of an issue?

Why are people so much against the fairness doctrine? It is pretty simple. If the fairness doctrine is back in place, Rush, Sean, Bill, Michael and all the other republican apologists either have to stop speaking directly for the republicans, or the stations will have to put on an equal amount of programming that comes straight from the democratic party headquarters. My bet is that the current talk stars would scale it back. Radio wouldn't be able to afford the dip in revenue. Here's the deal. The public good is frequently not cost effective. It is in the public good to provide national defense. No one person can afford a standing army. So we pool resources for the public good. It is also in the public good to assure that the public has access to good, information, showing as many sides of the story as possible. However, people don't like to be challenged. So, good information, fair treatment of issues, is in the public good. Reaffirming your audience's beliefs is very profitable, but doesn't really help with grow informed educated citizens.

I say, bring back the fairness doctrine. It may make afternoon drive-time a little less explosive. But we may become better citizens for it.

Sunday, July 08, 2007



It has been a little while since my last post. Frankly, nothing was inspiring me to write. Although I visited several inspirational venues. I visited Washington, D.C. and took a cruise on the Potomac. I visited the Truman Library for the first time in many years. I went to the newly remodeled and renovated WWI National Museum at the Liberty Memorial. I saw The Police live in concert (a personal quest since 1984). All of this was fun, inspirational, but none of these events inspired me write.

What finally got me excited about writing was a story that I saw on Real Sports on HBO. I really enjoy Real Sports. Frequently, people say sports are just games and are just entertainment or diversion. Real Sports frequently looks at issues social and societal issues that occur in sport, but have much wider impact and ramification. Most recently, Real Sports did a story on Boomeritis. The report was focusing on the aging baby-boom population and how many are obsessed with fitness and exercise. So much so that many of that generation are having sports related surgeries and operations frequently reserved for professional athletes. Here's the kick. Not only are the boomers having these procedures, some of them are having them multiple times in their fifties and sixties.

It's good to be active. It is good to exercise. However, these boomers are refusing to acknowledge that they are getting old. They refuse to slow down. No one is suggesting that the boomers should pull up a rocking chair the first time they have a twinge or pain. People should be active. One point that they made in the story was about the "greatest generation" and activity. Frankly, when they exercised, and they hurt the next day, they would relax the next day, and take it easier next time. Boomers ignore their body, get an operation, and try to run another marathon.

What's the problem, and why should I care? The
boomers are screwing us again. There is a group of boomers who are over eating and becoming diabetic and dying from heart problems simply because they won't modify their behavior. Then, there are other boomers who are going under the knife six or seven times so they can run marathons into their 80s. Both groups have common characteristics. They both refuse to listen to their bodies. They both want a pill or an external fix so they don't have to modify their behavior. They both are undertaking expensive medical procedures and taxing U.S. health care. As such, both are driving my insurance rates up. Again, it is all about the boomers (the most self-centered generation) and refusing to acknowledge that their choices impact others.

Thanks a lot baby boomers.