Saturday, July 21, 2007

Fixing Fairness - A modest technology solution.

“It’s time to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine - I have this old-fashioned attitude that when Americans hear both sides of the story, they’re in a better position to make a decision.”
- Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) - The Hill

It is just fair. A simple concept. It is hard to believe that anyone would oppose simple fairness. Yet they do. There are politicians against fairness, like Senator Norm Coleman (R-Minn) who sponsored anti-fairness legislation saying:
"We live in an age of satellite radio, of broadband, of blogs, of Internet, of cable TV, of broadcast TV. There is no limitation on the ability of anyone from any political persuasion to get their ideas set forth," Mr. Coleman argued in support of the Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2007. "The public in the end will choose what to listen to."
This was fortunately stopped by fair-minded Democrats, much to the chagrin of bloggers against fairness, like Ed Morrissey of Captain's Quarters:
"Instead of going through that burdensome and expensive accounting, broadcasters will dump political talk for sports, or perhaps the inane "community" talk that almost always turns covertly political. The AM band will fade -- again -- and the broadcast industry will contract -- again. And all because the Democrats believe that Americans are so stupid that they can't find competing information on their own."
There are even meddling foreign mainstream media outlets like The Economist who oppose fairness in America:
"Nobody thinks that readers of the Nation should be forced to read the National Review as well. Whatever its problems, America does not suffer from a shortage of opinion or debate. The magazine racks of bookstores groan with political magazines. The radio waves buzz with comment from the left-wing Pacifica Radio to the far-right nutcases. Every man and his dog has a blog. The idea that the government should be hauled in to regulate a fraction of this exploding universe is absurd."
Obviously, we can summarily dismiss the views of anyone opposed to old-fashioned American values like fairness. I bring this to your attention, because, as obviously wrong headed as this anti-fairness coalition may be, they do make a point that we - the common sense Americans who believe in fairness - should carefully consider. Certainly there is a fairness problem with broadcasters, but if we look at this problem objectively, we see it cannot be solved by dealing with the broadcasters alone. The bigger problem resides in the listeners, watchers, and readers, who are so overwhelmed by the sheer volume of opinion and debate available in all kinds of media, that they fail to ingest a fair and balanced diet of divergent opinion. No worries. Information technology created this problem, information technology can solve it. DWSUWF presents the right technology solution for all fair-minded Americans.

Yes - exciting news - DWSUWF is branching out! We are announcing right here and right now the development of three new products that will (just like the wildly successful V-chip) soon be integrated into your life. And it will happen just as soon as our many bipartisan campaign contribution checks clear the bank. Without further ado:

From the DWSUWF Semiconductor division - announcing the FairChip
Under pending legislation, the FairChip will be required to be installed in every new radio, satellite receiver, television, cablebox, DVR, and VCR sold in America. As part of the same legislation, the FCC will be replaced by the Department of Fairness, which will rate every cable, broadcast, and satellite show on a patriotic red and blue partisan scale from 0-10. There will be no restrictions and no limitations on what you as a free American can watch or listen. But, as a fair American, your FairChip installed device will help you maintain the fair viewing and listening habits we all want. The FairMeter on the front of each device displays the red/blue balance of broadcasts viewed on that device. If your viewing habits create unbalanced viewing, for example by watching or listening to too much Red/Republican programming, the FairChip will only permit comparably rated Blue/Democratic programming to play on the device until your viewing is once again in balance. As fair as fair can be. Look for our ads and tag line: "Watch whatever you want, but watch Fairly!" That is what fair Americans do.
From the DWSUWF Software division - announcing FairBuy software
The problem of unfairly balanced consumption goes beyond broadcast media. Don't forget, there are a lot of partisan books and magazines out there. With the FairBuy software module installed in every internet retailer checkout page and every bookstore cash register in America, the problem is solved. How does it work? If you have ever bought a book on Amazon, you know. You've seen Amazon software suggest other books to buy, often offering a better price if you buy two. DWSUWF Software engineers have reverse engineered that software to require the purchase of of an equal and opposite partisan book or magazine with every purchase. The FairBuysoftware also offers free shipping and bigger discounts with each purchase, so Americans can save money while staying in partisan balance.
As exciting as these products are, we have even better things in store for the future:

From the DWSUWF BioTech division a pre-release announcement of FairThink ocular/cochlear integrated implants.
FairThink implants solve the thorny problem of mis-matched media imbalance. What if there is no right wing director with the movie making skills of a Michael Moore? Or no left wing radio personalities with the aural persuasive power of Rush Limbaugh? With FairThink implants it will be no problem! Watch a great Michael Moore movie, and stay in balance listening to two scintillating hours of Rush Limbaugh! Your FairThink implants will track your personally balanced viewing habits, regardless of the device or media.

Pictured here is a test of FairThink technology using an early prototype of the product (Full Discolsure: These images resulted from a product placement deal DWSUWF cut with Stanley Kubrick in the film A Clockwork Orange). In the top picture on this post, a left wing beta tester was watching Michael Moore's Sicko, and in the bottom picture he is watching back to back episodes of Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity. Nanotechnology and computing advances have improved the technology since the prototype appeared in the movie. The new FairThink implants will be discreetly installed subcutaneously with minimal, almost unnoticeable scarring.

What a convenience! No need to worry about keeping each individual device in balance, your FairThink implants track and balance it all. The FairThink implants communicate with all FairChip enabled devices through the FairTooth proprietary network. All part of the FairLife balanced life you know you want to live, because that is what fair Americans do.

Divided and Balanced.™ Now that is fair.

3 comments:

Queen of Dysfunction said...

Brilliant. I feel myself becoming more fair as I read. My fairness IQ and intellectual perception are, uh, sharpening as I type this. Or something.

Well, I'm off to balance out this post with something off of moveon.org! I would not, after all, want to be unfair.

The Libertarian Guy (tm) said...

Sweet! I can't wait for Hillary's goons to drag me off to one of these nifty machines...

Ned Hughes said...

If "fairness" applied to blogs as well, I think a lot of people would stop blogging just for lack of wanting to tell the other side. Or from being unable to.