McDowell: Fairness Doctrine, Net Neutrality Linked
FCC commissioner: Reimposition of Fairness Doctrine could affect Web policy.
By Joel Topcik -- Broadcasting & Cable, 8/13/2008 4:25:00 AM
Following a speech to bloggers at the conservative Heritage Foundation, in which he discussed Internet policy and the FCC’s recent ruling against Comcast, McDowell warned that an effort to reimpose the defunct broadcasting doctrine could sync up with efforts to regulate network management, resulting in “government dictating content policy” on the Web.
“This [presidential] election, if it goes one way, we could see a reimposition of the Fairness Doctrine,” McDowell told BMI, the economic arm of the conservative Media Research Center. “I think it’ll be intertwined into the net-neutrality debate … because there are a few isolated conservatives who might be cherry-picked in a net-neutrality effort, and I think the fear is that somehow, large corporations will censor their content, their points of view. I think the bigger concern for them should be if you have government dictating content policy -- which, by the way, would have a big First Amendment problem -- then whoever’s in charge of government is going to determine what is ‘fair’ under a so-called Fairness Doctrine.”
McDowell did not specify which "way" he was referring to with respect to the election. Although presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama has said that he does not favor reimposing the Fairness Doctrine, which the FCC scrapped as unconstitutional in 1987, conservative talk-radio community is convinced the Democratic majority in Congress will seek its return.
McDowell joined fellow Republican commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate in voting against the commission’s Aug. 1 ruling concluding that cable giant Comcast violated its Internet open-access guidelines by blocking BitTorrent peer-to-peer traffic.
He said the Fairness Doctrine “has not been raised at the FCC.”
Media reform group Free Press, which supports network neutrality and lauded the FCC's ruling against Comcast, took issue with McDowell's comments in a statement, saying, "Net Neutrality has nothing to do with empowering the FCC to regulate content. Net Neutrality is the First Amendment of the Internet, and has been part of the Internet since its inception.
"It is absurd to equate Net Neutrality--a principle that promotes and protects free speech on the Internet--with any effort to regulate speech."
THIS IS ABOUT CENSORING TRUTH!!! AND, GOING BACK TO THE GOOD OLE DAYS OF PROPAGANDA!!!! AND, MEDIA TOTALLY USING LIPPMANNS STYLE OF LYING!!! KEEP AMERICA IN THE DARK?? WHO ARE YOU KIDDING!!! THIS IS ABOUT THE END OF FREE SPEECH, FAIRNESS DOC?? JUST ANOTHER LYING PLAY ON WORDS!!! IT SHOULD BE CALLED -BACK TO LIPPMANN- SO MEDIA CAN CONTROL THE MESSAGE AGAIN!!! COINCIDENCE ITS BEING FORCED BEFORE 2012??? CORRUPTING OUR LAWS, TO INSURE AN ELECTION??? WHATS NEXT?? STALIN AT THE DOOR??
FAIRNESS DOC WANTS TO PROTECT THE LEFTS LIES - 8/8/2011 10:41:44 PM EDT
The issue here is that Comcast advertised "unlimited internet access", while intentionally limiting torrent traffic, which is internet traffic. This is about false advertising, and fear, uncertainty, and doubt won't help the populace.
Jimmy Zhong - 8/15/2008 4:42:00 PM EDT
McDowell's comparison of Network Neutrality is the dumbest thing I've heard all week.
The Fairness Doctrine, if applied on the Internet, would violate Network Neutrality principles! The network has never cared about the political positions of the senders of packets, and it would violate the neutral behavior of the network if it had to start caring. Today's free marketplace provided by the Internet ensures that no voices get blocked and that access to all voices are ensured to anyone who wants to listen. The fairness doctrine provided for "equal time" on a radio station, regardless if anyone was listening to it. That's not a free market, and McDowell definitely knows the difference.
Robb Topolski - 8/13/2008 6:10:00 PM EDT
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