Conservatives are in a lather about The New York Times' decision not to print an op-ed by John McCain that attacks Barack Obama's Iraq policy. (Apparently the paper would have considered a different draft). Putting aside the quality of the op-ed, which in typical style attacks Obama without putting forth any definite policy, there's some irony in seeing conservatives complain about being kept out of the media after years of bashing the FCC's old Fairness Doctrine, which requires "broadcasters to present opposing viewpoints on controversial issues of public importance"

Conservatives argue (often with comparisons to communist states) that the doctrine, which hasn't been in effect since 1987, forced the state to mandate speech. It really just provides for reasonable discussion of views, but the Right demagogues the issue to raise money and keep Rush Limbaugh on the air unopposed.

But now that McCain can't get his stuff in the Times, it's a terrible moment for American media! The FCC's regulation wouldn't affect a print newspaper, obviously, but it's rank hypocrisy for McCain to complain that he's not getting a fair shot, especially when he is co-sponsoring legislation to permanently ban the Fairness Doctrine. Apparently, equal time is only a bad idea when liberal views are being silenced.

--Tim Fernholz

You may also like