By Charles Sykes
The attempt by Senate Democrats to target Rush Limbaugh over his "phony soldiers" remark backfired badly on Harry Reid team.
But it was an early indicator of the extraordinary willingness of Democratic politicians to use their power to punish speech -- the political speech of critics and a preview of what the fight over the restoration of the "Fairness Doctrine" might look like.
The term "fairness" is, of course, a misnomer here: the doctrine demands heavy-handed, content-based speech regulation by the Federal Communications Commission. At best, the Fairness Doctrine would be Affirmative Action for Air America. At worst, it would be a cudgel to bludgeon troublesome political opponents and stultify political debate.
But despite the current enthusiasm for its restoration on the left, the Fairness Doctrine is both legally and technologically obsolete, based on principles that have already been rejected by the courts, and justifications that have been swept away by the transformation in the media over the last two decades.