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Use of the airwaves

March 09, 2009

Re "Talk radio in the balance," Opinion, March 3

Brian C. Anderson fails to mention three basic facts. First, the airwaves are owned by the public and not the broadcasters. Second, radio stations have a no-fee lease from our government that allows exclusive use of a particular broadcast spectrum. And finally, in return for this exclusive free use of public property, broadcasters are required to serve the public interest. Talk-radio hosts who mislead, take stuff out of context, ignore significant facts and just plain lie are not serving the public interest. This describes Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, among others.

The Fairness Doctrine may be problematic, as Anderson suggests, but our nation is ill-served when the public airwaves are used to confuse and mislead.

Bill Stanton

Garden Grove

Anderson's article regarding talk radio and the Democratic Party's apparent desire to return to the Fairness Doctrine was well written. He quotes Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) as saying, "I think it's absolutely time to pass a [fairness] standard." Interestingly, Stabenow's husband, Tom Athans, was the co-founder of Democracy Radio and an executive vice president with Air America before it went bankrupt.

Stabenow's interest in requiring broadcasters to provide airtime for opposing views clearly crosses the conflict-of-interest line. It's like the Chick-fil-A cows telling us to eat more chicken. Please.

Michelle Seaton

Rancho Palos Verdes

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