Monday, July 02, 2007

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The Fairness Doctrine

The problem with what is on the air today is there is a blurry line between news and opinion. What should occur is as follows:

NEWS programs should be forced to be NEWS programs and not opinion factories. If they wish to have opinions expressed, there should be CLEAR visual/audio statements that the following is an OPINION and NOT news, like when the news programs once upon a time had a segment clearly labeled opinion or editorial. If there is to be an interview of someone representing a specific point of view, equal time must be given to the opposing viewpoint, or else the program becomes a biased opinion show and not a news program.

OPINION programs (like Rush and others), as long as they are CLEARLY marketed and explained as OPINION and not NEWS programs, are fine, because listeners or viewers know that they are tuning in to an opinion show.

The above also applies to print media and Internet media. If a publication bills itself as a NEWS publication, then it should be reporting news, with a clearly defined opinion/editorial section for such opinions/editorials. If a publication bills itself as an opinion/editorial publication, then it is clear that is what it is.

Richard Kuper
The Op Ed Page