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February 15, 2006

The Left Wants To Shut Down The Marketplace of Ideas

They're losing, and so they are calling for their go-to corrective: governmentally-enforced regulations and monopolies.

Brian Anderson wrote about this in an excellent City Journal article. Basically, having lost their media monopoly -- they still basically control the media, mind you, but not completely as they once did -- the Left would like to reintroduce the "Fairness Doctrine" to stamp out right talk-radio, and use the power of the government to shut down FoxNews and other such Shadow Media ventures.

I interviewed him on Hoist the Black Flag about this, and it seems the Left is quite serious about this. And they have big-name backers for the their plan-- including Howard Dean.

Protein Wisdom recaps the controversy for you, quoting new articles on the subject (as well as Brian Anderson's) and adding his own thoughts.

I noted earlier today that as a remedy to our current state of journalistic affairs, which offers a legacy media proclaiming for “fairness” while practicing barely-disguised advocacy journalism, a more subjective and market-based approach could act as a potential corrective—though the issue is a debatable one (specifically, whether the idea of surrendering an avowed institutional desire to approach objectivity in favor of competing advocacy media is a wise one, as such a could easily lead to consumers seeking out echo chambers that simply parrot their views), what is clear is that deregulation has certainly been a boon to free speech. And any increase in free speech is, to an electorate we rely upon to keep informed and interested in public policy, both enabling and ennobling.

The fragmentation of news and information, with different people trusting different sources and operating under different default "facts" about the state of the world, does indeed present some problems. It's hard to talk to liberals these days, not just because they're angry, but because they operate within an entirely alien universe of "facts" and no intelligent discussion can proceed until the basic "facts" are agreed upon.

Then again, radio and music badly fragmented along tribal lines after having been unified (by corporate tastemakers, mostly playing from the same playlists) in the seventies, and we survived that.

Plus, it gave us Foghat. And for that we should always be grateful.

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posted by Ace at 10:26 AM

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