Adam Theirer, a scholar at the Progress and Freedom Foundation, notes that the Fairness Doctrine was part of a regulatory paradigm being pushed by the left and, in particular, the group Free Press. This fight is not over. Adam’s piece is worth reading:
Of course, the radicals at the (Un)Free Press weren’t about to let one of the Left’s old favorite regulations go so away without asking for something in return. One of the reasons that Silver and Ammori are suddenly willing to give their blessing to the Doctrine’s burial is because they want to get on with the more far-reaching agenda of micro-managing media markets using a variety of less visible regulations.
Indeed, in their paper, Silver and Ammori go to great pains to try to show that the Fairness Doctrine supposedly has nothing to do with all the other regulations that they want Congress and the FCC to continue to enforce, or even expand. These goals include media ownership restrictions, diversity mandates, local programming regulation, and so on. Recognizing that the Fairness Doctrine was not only ineffective but also a useful tool for many on the political Right to whip their base into action, the Free Press moved to preemptively divorce their other pet projects from the Fairness Doctrine.
It’s a brilliant tactical move by Free Press; lull Limbaugh and other conservatives into a deep sleep by throwing them the bone of a Fairness Doctrine win, and then push a far more radical regulatory agenda through the back-door once they’ve stopped paying attention. Of course, these things cannot be as easily divorced as the Free Press radicals want us to believe. The Fairness Doctrine was just one part of a much grander regulatory paradigm that so-called progressives have pushed for under the banner of “public interest regulation.”