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Unfairness — and Anti-Freedom — Doctrine

Here’s a letter that I sent recently to the Los Angeles Times:

Seth Hill writes that “Every time I’m surfing channels and I happen by  mistake to land there [on the Fox News channel], I have to watch a commentary by [Newt] Gingrich or former Vice President Dick Cheney.  That channel makes me long for the days of the Fairness Doctrine”
(Letters, June 19).

Mr. Hill’s attitude is the seed of totalitarianism: unable to distinguish what he does voluntarily from what he is coerced into doing, he wants to use force to save himself from the annoyance of fleetingly encountering disagreeable ideas as he flips his channel changer – and to use force to hamper other persons’ access to those ideas.

There’s nothing fair about that.

Donald J. Boudreaux

Writing in the January 1997 issue of the Journal of Legal Studies, my GMU colleague Tom Hazlett and co-author David Sosa found that the Fairness Doctrine chilled public discourse.