The Fairness Doctrine: The Best Thing that Could Have Happened to Conservatives?

Yesterday during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C., a panel of three media personalities spoke on the implications of The Fairness Doctrine and their views of what the Republican Party must do in the next four years.

The first speaker was Joe Scarborough, former congressman and host of Morning Joe on MSNBC. While he was short on the actual issue of The Fairness Doctrine he was long on what Republicans should be doing now. “The future belongs to conservatives,” he said. But he also made it clear that the type of big government spending that went on during the Bush administration is not true conservatism. His call to the party was “reform or die.”

Reformation was a theme of the next speaker as well. Radio host Roger Hedgecock said he was glad that there were so many young people in the audience concerned with this topic and the topic of reform because they were “waking up to the fact that change is going to come out of [their] pockets.” He went on to speak about how talk radio has always been where Conservatives have gathered and the left believes there is an audience imbalance because of this. Yet Hedgecock said, “There is an audience imbalance out of choice.”

Both Hedgecock and Scarborough talked about the dangers of The Fairness Doctrine, calling conservatives to speak out against it and to defend their First Amendment rights. So when writer and CNN correspondent Tucker Carlson took the stage he drew boos and gasps when he said, “I am here to say that I support the Fairness Doctrine.” He continued on to explain himself saying he supports it not “because it’s fair, but because it’s not fair.” He believes that, had the Fairness Doctrine passed, it would have “instantly taken a conservative movement and brought it together.”

Carlson went on to echo the other two speakers on redefining the Republican Party. He said, “The Republican Party has failed.” But this failure has brought the party to a point in which it can ask itself, “What am I?”

Carlson urged Republicans to figure out what is going to bring the divisive camps within the party together, if not the Fairness Doctrine, then something else. But at the heart of it all, if Republicans are truly going to reconfigure the party, Carlson believes that they must be unafraid to say, “Don’t interfere with me,” because this is “the highest calling of a political movement, there is no shame in telling people to back off.”