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Big media has unfair advantage

July 26, 2007

Re "It's not fairness," editorial, July 24

It's amazing that, out of all the conceivable arguments to make against restoring the Fairness Doctrine, your editorial picked the worst: "No matter what your point of view might be, you have free or inexpensive outlets available today to express it -- maybe not a radio or TV station but certainly a website, a video blog, a podcast or an e-mail newsletter."

The idea that somebody's home-made Internet content can ever have the wide audience and reach of a paper like yours, a TV network like Fox or a radio show like Rush Limbaugh's is merely a variation of the old argument that the rich and the poor are equally free to sleep under a bridge. Under today's privatized, hyper-concentrated U.S. media system, the views of those with money and power are disproportionately represented. Those who oppose U.S. imperialism and pro-corporate trade policy, and who advocate labor rights and serious pro-consumer regulation of corporations, have to struggle to be heard at all.

To say we don't need a Fairness Doctrine because opinions censored by private owners of big media companies like yours can still appear somewhere on the Internet -- even though only a tiny fraction of your audience will ever encounter them -- is to proclaim yourselves communications bullies.

Mark Gabrish Conlan

San Diego

Has it occurred to you that, while practically everyone can afford a radio, a large segment of the population does not have access to a computer and therefore to websites, blogs, podcasts or e-mails? Additionally, while one can listen to the radio while driving or doing a large number of manual tasks, it takes leisure time to sit down and deal with a computer. Not everyone has that leisure.

Bea Ferguson

Pacific Palisades

The Fairness Doctrine is an obvious and pernicious offense to free speech. But even if you wanted to keep score, how many "at bats" do Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have compared to all the rest of the liberal media, Hollywood and most college professors? Add Anna Quindlen, Maureen Dowd, Arianna Huffington and Rosie O'Donnell, and liberals have a big edge. And still they want the Fairness Doctrine.

Jack Weber


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