Michael Tomansky argues that instead of looking to the FCC to institute fairness on TV, liberals should look to the private sector.
Something’s in the air. This is exactly the right time for some liberal multimillionaire or -aires to try to start a cable channel. Yes, it’s a lot of money. But far from being some act of charity, such a channel could prove that progressive ideas can actually survive in the private market and turn a profit. Besides, it’s a lot less money than, say, a presidential campaign or a lie-based war.
I say, go for it. I would actually be very curious to see how a liberal cable news channel would go over. Whatever liberals may say about FoxNews, its financial success, from an objective microeconomic standpoint, is a textbook case of a market response to consumer demand. There were a lot of conservatives out there who weren’t satisfied with the available news sources. My hunch, and this is reinforced by the bankruptcy filing of Air America, is that liberal positions are adequately represented in the media and therefore there isn’t enough pent up demand to make a liberal cable news channel a success. Perhaps Tomansky’s right, and a a liberal alternative would succeed, but that’s the beauty of the free market–consumers get to decide, not politicians or pundits. Kudos to Tomansky for chosing private enterprise over the government.