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Tuesday, August 12, 2003

The Last Broadcast

As a blogger, I suppose it's time to start writing about the California recall election circus. But before I plunge into the fray, I just wanted to make one interesting observation...

Looks like television stations won't be seeing movies featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger during the next campaign.

The old Fairness Doctrine, which mandated a form of viewpoint neutrality among broadcasters, was jettisoned in the 1980s as part of a slew of dergulatory policies. However, the Equal Time Rule is still in effect.

It was most famously used in In re Weiss (1976) against a television that intended to broadcast the film "Bedtime For Bonzo," which starred Ronald Reagan, during the 1976 presidential primary season, in which Reagan was a candidate. The station, when told that to air the film would entitle opposing candidates to equal time, declined to air the movie. It's less established, though, that a channel only available to cable subscribers would fall under the same obligation. (If I were them, I'd probably avoid the issue for two months just to be on the safe side, since the potential benefits don't come near the potential costs.)

Then again, if I were going to run an anti-Ahhnold campaign in California, perhaps I might choose to make his dubious choices of movie roles an issue.

Do you, voters of California, really want to give this kind of power to someone who thought that starring in "Junior," "Jingle All The Way," "End Of Days," "The 6th Day," and "Collateral Damage" were good career moves?


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