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The Daily Tar Heel

Letter: Response to "The Marketplace of Ideas" column


In response to Molly Looman’s, “The Marketplace of Ideas is failing the journalism industry.” 

While in truth, what Molly is suggesting is well-intentioned, it does not take account for the very human tendencies that she purports to being the causes of the issues. 

She is correct in saying that humans are not rational. However, to assume that policies will fix this problem is something that has had harsh and negative consequences for our nation in the past; for example, the Prohibition and Sedition Acts of Woodrow Wilson.

Molly’s assertion that “fairness” would be controlled by the media is simply ridiculous, as the point of a law is not to encourage decisions but to compel or force actions. There is no way to police the expression of ideas without ceding individual rights to the government in exchange for government-compelled “fair and balanced” narratives.

The marketplace of ideas is not a policy or some sort of legislation, it is simply the recognition that allowing a higher power to control what people get to say or hear is a breach of the individual rights that our government and constitution are meant to protect. Policies like the Fairness Doctrine do not help society, but allow the government to take advantage of narratives in news reportage. 

There is no nobility in deciding what people should or shouldn’t know. There is only nobility in presenting facts to the American people. The failure is on the journalists, not on an aspiration of freedom of ideas.   

Trent Brown

UNC Class of 2019, Journalism Major

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