A new Fairness Doctrine?

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chewybrian
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A new Fairness Doctrine?

Post by chewybrian » June 6th, 2018, 7:29 am

The Fairness Doctrine was imposed in the era of the not yet obese Orson Welles (late 1940's) with the rationale that the public needed to be protected from Rockefeller types who might have flooded the airwaves with their own political or religious beliefs. Since we had so few options for news and entertainment back then, it was important that they gave some voice to opposing views, and were of some service to the community. The government needed to step in and limit free speech, 'they' said, in order to save it, because new media outlets distorted speech by concentrating its power too tightly.

The era of parachute pants (late 80's) marked the end of the Fairness Doctrine, as we were clearly smart enough to figure out what to wear and how to think for ourselves at that point. With so many vehicles for broadcasting views, we could, 'they' said, rest assured that everyone could be heard and nobody should have felt brainwashed. Did it work out for us, though? Hasn't the sea of options simply allowed most folks to 'validate' their own views and ignore others' views without seriously considering them? Has too much freedom caused us to lose touch with objective reality, and lose the ability to make just compromises for the common good?

Fast forward to the era of the 'Tide Pod Challenge'. Say a new enlightened third party has taken control of congress, and they ask you to head a panel to decide if any new Fairness Doctrine should be implemented for our time.

Do you see a rationale for such action? If so, what ideas would you propose?

Is forcing opposing views into the public eye a form of censorship, or just the opposite? Is censorship, or 'reverse censorship' ever justified, and do we need it now? A little censorship is still censorship, so this is pretty serious stuff. What is your recommendation?

Eduk
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Re: A new Fairness Doctrine?

Post by Eduk » June 7th, 2018, 1:29 pm

Sadly fairness is hard to define and even harder to enforce. Plus even if it was possible I wouldn't trust the government to be able to do it.

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chewybrian
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Re: A new Fairness Doctrine?

Post by chewybrian » June 8th, 2018, 5:05 am

Eduk wrote:
June 7th, 2018, 1:29 pm
Sadly fairness is hard to define and even harder to enforce. Plus even if it was possible I wouldn't trust the government to be able to do it.
True, but that's why I threw out the Fairness Doctrine as an example where censorship was arguably necessary and effective, yet imposed with restraint.

I think it's easy to be a boiled frog and not realize how far we have fallen since it went away.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ys9O3OBmeLs

^A very serious issue discussed with respect; asking tough questions without calling names, etc.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beuvViuwpsE

^Teeball questions to push an agenda, and these kids are being exploited (not picking a side; you could do the same thing in the other direction, but should a news show operate this way?)

You could also find many examples where decorum and respect for others' right to have a different opinion has gone away.

We *could* take action. If we should, what should it be, would it work, and is it justified?

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Re: A new Fairness Doctrine?

Post by Eduk » June 8th, 2018, 5:23 am

I do take action. I rely on the news only to give a broad strokes summation of important issues. I rely on some of the specifics such as time and date and direct quotes and certain numbers. But the news is 99% conjecture which I assume to be wholly wrong or at best right, but by accident. As in I give the interpretation very very little credence.
Subjects which interest me I try to find actual information elsewhere.
It is awkward that I know of no good news sources for certain issues. But it is better to know that I don't know then wrongly think that I do know.

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Re: A new Fairness Doctrine?

Post by chewybrian » June 8th, 2018, 10:38 am

Eduk wrote:
June 8th, 2018, 5:23 am
I do take action. I rely on the news only to give a broad strokes summation of important issues. I rely on some of the specifics such as time and date and direct quotes and certain numbers. But the news is 99% conjecture which I assume to be wholly wrong or at best right, but by accident. As in I give the interpretation very very little credence.
Subjects which interest me I try to find actual information elsewhere.
It is awkward that I know of no good news sources for certain issues. But it is better to know that I don't know then wrongly think that I do know.
Your outlook seems correct. You are (usually, presumably) able to see the truth or falseness, or hidden agenda, in ideas presented to you. You should be considered for "Guardian" in Plato's Republic. But...

Are you the one for whom such law would be written? Aren't you projecting your outlook onto others who perhaps don't share it? If someone spends 3 hours a day listening to Rush Limbaugh, are they likely to carefully consider information before assenting to it? Think of younger people, or those with little education or intellect, or of people in a community of shared beliefs which define opinions. Are they able to withstand these assaults and maintain a wider perspective?

Does discourse need guardians, or are we all qualified and strong enough to charge in just as we are? We have no second thoughts about regulating the production and sale of goods or services to protect people from themselves. Think of something like laws against predatory lending practices--are they valid, or do people have a right to sign on for any fees, interest rates, etc. that they wish to accept? Aren't many of us equally ignorant of the nuances of politics or philosophy as we are of those of finance (which is arguably much simpler)?

The question is not whether you would be a worthy guardian or not, but if others might need a guardian or not, and, if so, does the need justify any action?

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Re: A new Fairness Doctrine?

Post by chewybrian » June 12th, 2018, 7:57 am

I guess I'll answer my own question to see if it sparks anyone else to answer.

I would recommend only that we put out public service announcements about respectful discourse, along the lines of those about the dangers of drunk driving, or the effects of smoking. Show clever scenarios where someone could have benefited from hearing an opposing view, and their closed mind instead led them into trouble, or they ignored good advice because it was given disrespectfully.

"Hey, don't use that elevator, fatty!"
"Don't tell me what to do!"
(Fat man falls down open elevator shaft).

Actually, it should be more clever than that, but you get the idea. That's my only recommendation. Just try to get the word out that you might learn something from the other side, and that they can only learn from you if you present your views with respect and civility.

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Re: A new Fairness Doctrine?

Post by Eduk » June 12th, 2018, 8:28 am

Sorry chewybrian, I had meant to respond. It is of course a very complex question but I lean towards my previous answer that a government cannot perform the task adequately and are more likely to cause harm than good. Individuals however could take it upon themselves to do their best, and I think to a large extent people do. It is not a perfect system.
If I could do anything it would probably involve the school syllabus. But most of the ideas off of the top of my head are hopelessly idealistic.

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Re: A new Fairness Doctrine?

Post by -1- » June 13th, 2018, 3:38 pm

chewybrian wrote:
June 12th, 2018, 7:57 am
I guess I'll answer my own question to see if it sparks anyone else to answer.

I would recommend only that we put out public service announcements about respectful discourse, along the lines of those about the dangers of drunk driving, or the effects of smoking. Show clever scenarios where someone could have benefited from hearing an opposing view, and their closed mind instead led them into trouble, or they ignored good advice because it was given disrespectfully.

"Hey, don't use that elevator, fatty!"
"Don't tell me what to do!"
(Fat man falls down open elevator shaft).

Actually, it should be more clever than that, but you get the idea. That's my only recommendation. Just try to get the word out that you might learn something from the other side, and that they can only learn from you if you present your views with respect and civility.
Where is the respect and civility in your example? One calls the other fatty, and other rebuffs haughtily.

How would you like to hear you are fat, or, conversely, that you are a control freak?

I actually am not committed either way to your proposal, as I don't understand what you are proposing.

But your example shows only either that you have a disregard to your own opinion, or else that you can't tell disrespect and lack of civility from respectful speech and civil discourse.
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ThomasHobbes
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Re: A new Fairness Doctrine?

Post by ThomasHobbes » June 13th, 2018, 7:38 pm

One man's liberator is another man's terrorist.
One man's left wing looney is another man's balanced centrist.
Whose voice gets determined as moderate? And by whom?
It was not long after Mr Wells' ideas of Fairness that the establishments view of what was fair and balanced saw 100s of artists and public figures blacklisted by what is now known as "The McCarthy Witch hunts".

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Re: A new Fairness Doctrine?

Post by chewybrian » June 13th, 2018, 9:19 pm

-1- wrote:
June 13th, 2018, 3:38 pm
chewybrian wrote:
June 12th, 2018, 7:57 am
I guess I'll answer my own question to see if it sparks anyone else to answer.

I would recommend only that we put out public service announcements about respectful discourse, along the lines of those about the dangers of drunk driving, or the effects of smoking. Show clever scenarios where someone could have benefited from hearing an opposing view, and their closed mind instead led them into trouble, or they ignored good advice because it was given disrespectfully.

"Hey, don't use that elevator, fatty!"
"Don't tell me what to do!"
(Fat man falls down open elevator shaft).

Actually, it should be more clever than that, but you get the idea. That's my only recommendation. Just try to get the word out that you might learn something from the other side, and that they can only learn from you if you present your views with respect and civility.
Where is the respect and civility in your example? One calls the other fatty, and other rebuffs haughtily.

How would you like to hear you are fat, or, conversely, that you are a control freak?

I actually am not committed either way to your proposal, as I don't understand what you are proposing.

But your example shows only either that you have a disregard to your own opinion, or else that you can't tell disrespect and lack of civility from respectful speech and civil discourse.
I was giving an example of incivility, and that was the point of the exercise. It is intended to show that the person could have benefited from the message, but the tone caused them not to listen to the message. It's a "what not to do", like a "don't drink and drive" message. It's supposed to be a bad example. It all seems simple and clear enough.

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Re: A new Fairness Doctrine?

Post by -1- » June 13th, 2018, 10:37 pm

chewybrian wrote:
June 13th, 2018, 9:19 pm
I was giving an example of incivility, and that was the point of the exercise. It is intended to show that the person could have benefited from the message, but the tone caused them not to listen to the message. It's a "what not to do", like a "don't drink and drive" message. It's supposed to be a bad example. It all seems simple and clear enough.
Thanks, got it.
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