ATR — Fairness Doctrine 2.0: “Nudging” What You Read Online

The Fairness Doctrine was a rule abandoned in 1987 that required broadcasters to give equal time to opposing points of view. While the stated goal was to expand discourse in the name of the “public interest,” the policy trampled all over basic property and First Amendment rights. It has been pushed in recent years primarily as a means of silencing prominent talk show hosts that don’t share the same political views as the politicians in charge.

Despite President Obama’s statements in opposition to reinstituting the Fairness Doctrine (at least on broadcasters), it appears his regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, holds a different take when it comes to the Internet. An uncovered clip from a radio program has found Sunstein declaring:

“Sites from one point of view agree to provide links to other sites so if you are reading a conservative magazine they would provide a link to a liberal site and vice versa…If we could get voluntary arrangements in that direction it would be great. …But the word ‘voluntary’ is a little complicated. Sometimes people don’t do what’s best for our society… And the idea would be to have a legal mandate as the last resort and to make sure it’s as neutral as possible…”

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