One of the founding executives of liberal radio network Air America has taken to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to concur with Rush Limbaugh. Jon Sinton said there is no more love for the Fairness Doctrine on his side of the ideological spectrum than exists on Limbaugh’s side. Sinton didn’t beat around the bush – he entitled his OpEd piece “Limbaugh Is Right on the Fairness Doctrine.”
“As the founding president of Air America Radio, I believe that for the last eight years Rush Limbaugh and his ilk have been cheerleaders for everything wrong with our economic, foreign and domestic policies,” wrote Sinton. “But when it comes to the Fairness Doctrine, I couldn’t agree with them more. The Fairness Doctrine is an anachronistic policy that, with the abundance of choices on radio today, is entirely unnecessary.”
Sinton provided a history lesson, noting that the Doctrine was born in 1949 when most markets outside the very largest cities were served by only three or four AM stations, and it was crafted with the memory of German Nazi propaganda fresh in everybody’s memory. He said it later became an issue not on music-oriented radio, but on television, where talk-oriented political programming thrived.
Sinton said that the very existence of Air America is predicated on the demise of the Fairness Doctrine. Just as conservative news-talk stations need to maintain a conservative format to hang on to core listeners, Air America needed to do the same for liberal listeners.
RBR/TVBR observation: There has been a lot of hot air expended on the Fairness Doctrine lately, everywhere but the home of the prime exporter of hot air: Capitol Hill. Every now and then a legislator mentions it, but there still is no active movement to revive it, and those who you’d expect to be supporters, like Barack Obama (who regularly jokes about Fox News Channel), Air America (witness this article) and watchdogs like Common Cause all oppose its revival. We do not expect it to be exhumed any time in the near future if ever.