I’m usually not one for scare tactics (when I can avoid it), and I’m certainly not one for abject paranoia… but I do have a warning for those who think they are safe from the Government on the internet. Those days of safety from the governing machine may be coming to a close. What would make me say something so rediculous? The New York Times.
F.T.C. to require full disclosure for bloggers. So what’s the big deal? If you are writing a review of a product on your blog, you now have to disclose whether you are being paid by the manufacturer… not a bad idea, right? Here is where this gets scary. What the government regulates, the government has control over. What started as a mandate in 1994 to give more high-risk mortgages became the nationalization of the banking industry in 2009. What came in as “fuel standards” in the 1980’s became the “bail-out and reorganization” of the auto industry earlier this year. So now, why would the Government feel a need to start mucking about in the area of blogging and the new media?
The Fairness Doctrine.
… or as it is more popularly known amongst Conservatives, “that which shall not be named”. As I am sitting here, typing a mildly anti-government blog post, we have a number of politicians in office who have expressed a concern over “biases in the media”. Translation: Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity pissed off the wrong people… again. So the fairness doctrine is a policy that is regulated by the FCC that requires media outlets to give “equal time” to “all points of view” on a topic. For example, you are not allowed to have three hours of Rush Limbaugh on your station without also having three hours of George Stephanopoulis ranting about liberal hatred of all things conservative. So think about it, the FTC has basically made a ruling that the government has the power to regulate blogosphere to some degree; the liberals in Congress have made abundantly clear that they want to reinstall the Fairness Doctrine; unregulated blogosphere gives people like myself the ability to spout whatever crackpot right-wing evilness we desire… do you see the connection?
To spell it out, what happens if the government (after having passed this regulation of blogging) makes the “Fairness Doctrine” the rule of the day again? Since they are already regulating it, they already have the power to fine people for not doing what they like with their blog space. Which means, they will already have an infrastructure to nail your backside to the fence if you fail to follow the Fairness Doctrine to their own satisfaction. As a politically conscious blogger, I don’t want the government analyzing my blog with a magnifying glass so that they can compare it to an arbitrary standard of what is “fair”. As we learned with the political demonstrations in Iran following their Presidential elections, governments cannot be trusted to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” The Fairness Doctrine is a politically correct way of destroying free speech and gives the power to prosecute “irresponsible speech” to the constantly changing intellectual climate. Bloggers beware… Uncle Sam wants your money.