The Fairness Doctrine applied to bloggers

by the Night Writer

David Foster at Chicago Boyz noted this disturbing news:

Obama has nominated Cass Sunstein, who he knows from the University of Chicago, to be “regulatory czar.” Apparently, Sunstein has proposed that web sites be required to link to opposing opinions. He has argued that the Internet is anti-democratic because users can choose to view only those opinions that they want to see, and has gone so far as to say:

A system of limitless individual choices, with respect to communications, is not necessarily in the interest of citizenship and self-government,” he wrote. “Democratic efforts to reduce the resulting problems ought not be rejected in freedom’s name.

The forced-linking proposal makes about as much sense as requiring that when you buy a political book at a bookstore, the store must also require you to buy books of contrary views. (And anyhow, how to you force the person to read the book or follow the link? Will there be a test? Penalties for failing to pass? Withdrawal of book-buying or web-browsing “privileges?”) Sunstein’s proposal is almost certainly unconstitutional–moreover, it is philosophically primitive. There are not one or two dissenting views from any opinion: there are thousands of them, incorporating widely differing conceptual frameworks. Who, in Sunstein’s world, would decide which views, as expressed by which authors, would be required to be linked? Probably either a government agency or a “service” run by a politically-well-connected corporation. A better way to suppress innovative thought would be difficult to imagine.

Fortunately, Sunsteim has backed away from this position and admitted its constitutional hurdles. This may or may not make you feel better, as Foster also says that Sunstein is also being considered as a candidate for the Supreme Court seat being vacated by Justice Souter.

HT: Stones Cry Out

One thought on “The Fairness Doctrine applied to bloggers

  1. Sunstein is an old U of C hand and knows Obama well from Hyde Park. I have a very good friend who is a U of C law school graduate and he had a bunch of classes with Sunstein. My friend used to tell me Sunstein stories all day long. Unfortunately, my friend is a big-time liberal.

    I fully expect that Sunstein will get one of the 3 slots that Obama will likely fill in the coming 18 months or so. And it will be three, because Ruth Bader Ginsburg is very ill and John Paul Stevens is about 497 years old now and has just been waiting for a Democrat to get into office. And they have to get it done before 2010, in case the mid-term elections don’t go the well for the Democrats.

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