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The Left Doesn’t Like the “Fairness Doctrine” When Applied to Michael Moore

Posted on January 28 2011 11:00 pm
Walter Hudson is a political commentator and co-founder of Minnesota's North Star Tea Party Patriots, a statewide educational organization. He runs a blog entitled Fightin Words. He also contributes to True North, a hub of Minnesotan conservative commentary. Follow his work via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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A town in Connecticut has backpedaled away from an attempt at censorship. The incident involved a public exhibition of the Michael Moore film SiCKO.

The town forced the Enfield Public Library to abandon a January screening of Moore’s documentary. Enfield Mayor Scott Kaupin told the Journal Inquirer that the film is a “poor choice” and that if the library didn’t reconsider it would face “repercussions” from the Enfield Town Council at budget time(…)

In the days since Enfield’s censorship of its library made national headlines, politicians in this community are shifting their argument… Their back-up argument is that the library needs to present balancing, opposing ideas.

That was the essence of the so-called “Fairness Doctrine,” a policy which has been ironically evoked here against the work of a prominent leftist. Typically, when we think of the “Fairness Doctrine,” we think of talk radio and opinion news programming, where the Left has had difficulty finding an audience and sought to impose themselves through legal mandate. However, this Enfield incident shows how the principle can be applied against the Left as easily as the Right.

If town leaders intend that each and every screening involve a double-feature with documentaries with opposing outlooks, well, that’s both difficult and stupid. If filmgoers are treated to a documentary about the Holocaust, it may be impossible to find a film that praises Hitler, Nazis and Aryan supremacists(…)

If you heard that a government was limiting the public’s access to books or movies, you might suppose you had parachuted into a Third World dictatorship, a communist country or some other totalitarian regime, not an American town in the Constitution State. Enfield should be ashamed of itself.

Whether the above cited author would feel the same way were the film, say, The Passion of the Christ is anyone’s guess. Regardless, it should be apparent that any attempt to impose “fairness” in media is a euphemism for censorship. Someone will always have to determine what “fair” is, and it will always be a subjective standard. The question then becomes by what right ought one person’s subjective standard trump another’s?

No doubt succumbing to nationwide criticism, the Enfield town council is giving ground on their anti-SiCKO stance. The question I have is whether the same critics would come to the defense of a Glenn Beck documentary screening. Whether they would or not, at least we have in the Enfield example a demonstration of the “Fairness Doctrine’s” universal absurdity.

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