CONTAINS WHAT MIGHT BE PERCEIVED AS EDITORIAL ELEMENTS   It seems only fair and balanced to observe, from the imagined perspective of a Neal Boortz or John Ziegler, that Minow's old distinction reflected exactly the sort of controlling, condescending, nanny-state liberal attitude that makes government regulation such a bad idea. For how and why does a federal bureaucrat like Newton Minow get to decide what "the public interest" is? Why not respect the American people enough to let the public itself decide what interests it? Of course, this sort of objection depends on precisely the collapse of "the public interest" into "what happens to interest the public" that liberals object to. For the distinction between these two is itself liberal, as is the idea of a free press's and broadcast media's special responsibilities—"liberal" in the sense of being rooted in a concern for the common good over and above the preferences of individual citizens. The point is that the debate over things like the Fairness Doctrine and the proper responsibility of broadcasters quickly hits ideological bedrock on both sides.

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