The Fairness Doctrine was a regulation of the United States' Federal Communications Commission which required broadcast licensees to present controversial issues of public importance, and to present such issues in an honest, equal and balanced manner. It has since been repealed by the FCC and aspects of it have been questioned by courts. Wikipedia
For the uninitiated, the dreadfully named Fairness Doctrine, first passed by Congress in the 40's, was intended to apply to the few broadcast networks so that people would get accurate reporting on important issues of the day. Now, the Democrats intend to renew the Doctrine and apply it to talk radio. Why? Because liberals cannot compete on the talk radio free market...nobody listens to their mindless, hateful drivel. So now they are using the Fairness Doctrine to demand equal air time. Here's how it would work...
Talk radio stations are in business to make money. Under the FD, they would be forced to air appallingly dreadful liberal shows like Al Franken's and Janine Garafalo's. Liberal shows make no advertising money because nobody listens to them. Democrats know that radio stations will have no choice but to cancel the successful conservative shows rather than lose money airing liberal shows to which nobody listens. Liberals don't particlarly care whether Al Franken is successful, they just want to insure that conservative radio is off the air. Why don't they care? Because they already have NPR, CBS, NBC, ABC, MSNBC, CNN, and most big-city fish wrappers, all who have abandoned all pretense of journalistic objectivity and openly advance the Democrats' pinko-commie agenda. Without conservative talk radio, liberals and their willing accomplices in the media will be the sole sources of information for consumers.
"But Ed", you query, "the word 'fairness' implies subjectivity. Who would decide what is fair and what is not in the free market?"
Excellent question! Under the Fairness Doctrine, the congressional majority(Democrats) would determine what's fair. It's not the government's business to be the arbiter of fairness in the free market. The listeners, and only the listeners, decide who wins in the radio market. If the liberal message cannot compete successfully for listeners, tough luck.