Should we be forced to listen to both sides of an argument?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2006

There used to be a &uot;thing&uot; called the &uot;Fairness Doctrine,&uot; that required radio broadcasts to devote a reasonable amount of time to the discussion of controversial issues of public interests … and that the broadcaster be fair by offering reasonable opportunity for opposing viewpoints to be heard. That idea hung around from 1949 until 1987. In that period, the government told you what to say and still called it &uot;free speech.&uot;

Recently, the camel has tried to get its snoot back under the tent via a congressman from New York (that explains it) with a bill called, &uot;Media Ownership Reform Act.&uot; He’s after Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Matt Drudge, Laura Ingraham, and Bill O’Reilly. He wants me, and millions of others forced to listen to the likes of Al Franken, Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, and political scientists Barbara Streisand, and Whoopi Goldberg. He wants the listenership &uot;evened up.&uot; That will never happen, and the bill will never make it to the floor.

If it were to fly, you’d find yourself listening to only half of a broadcast no matter what side you are on. I don’t just hit the mute button when Cindy shows up; I turn the TV off, fearing my home will be contaminated.


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If government forced journalists to give both sides, you’d stop reading rather than get yourself all upset by nitwits.

As an opinion writer, my objectivity is not to be &uot;fair.&uot; I offer my thoughts, like writer David Brinkley, who wrote, &uot;Everyone Is Entitled To My Opinion.&uot;

I think I’m right, straight, truthful, as I see it. And, of course, many will disagree; and that’s OK … I might hear their opinion and mutter curses.

Justice William O. Douglas said, &uot;A function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger … that is why freedom of speech, though not absolute … is nevertheless protected against censorship.&uot;

In other words, it’s OK if I write to rattle a few cages.

So, why do I write when it’s work and takes time? There is an answer. I’m retired, and have been for 20 years. I’ve plenty of time, until the hourglass empties. I keep an eye on politics and what I consider wasteful city spending.

I don’t like the idea that Suffolk has become the &uot;Mecca&uot; for those fed up with city living, even though that’s why I am here. I resent my property taxes being higher than my mortgage was and stealing 11 percent of my income.

I don’t like the fact that seven average people make final decisions for all 80,000 citizens, and all I am allowed is a chance to kick out my borough chief if someone else runs.

I despise most an educational system that costs millions and allows the obvious lack of discipline that leads to a majority of below average &uot;students&uot; and drives good teachers out.

I have no beef with cops, firemen, rescue squads, and most city employees. I agree city managers have their hands full. All you have to do is drive around in the 430 square miles … makes you wonder how the city officials keep track of things and keep it under control.

What is happening to the great plains of Suffolk? An epidemic of escalating high-priced houses is sweeping across the 430 square miles, fracturing many lives.

Actually, I write for the fun of it. I’m very ordinary, a foreigner by virtue of being a displaced Yankee. If I appear negative on some city spending, it’s because I believe there is more to Suffolk than downtown. I will admit that I write mainly to and for folks who, like me, have trouble keeping up with increasing costs of everything. So, I’ll keep at it a while longer.