In the days before deregulation, hordes of economists at the CAB and the ICC set tariffs and determined the “correct” amount of service on city pairs for the airline and trucking industry respectively. One of the few gifts Jimmy Carter gave us was to replace these clunky and inefficient regulatory agencies with a far more rational and efficient system that is market driven. Unfortunately we are about to lurch back into the past, though not necessarily in those industries.
The one agency that is jumping at the opportunity to reregulate the market is the FCC. With all its newfound zeal, it now has a perfect opportunity to redress a true market imbalance. There are five TV/Cable news operations: ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News and CNN. 4 of the 5 are certifiably liberal and only one conservative. Yet the latest Gallup Poll shows there are twice as many conservatives as liberals (40% to 20%). Surely the FCC should use its club of license renewal to persuade say NBC and CBS to join the conservative club. Still, that would give only a 3 to 2 conservative preponderance, rather than a deserved 2 to 1, but we could live with that.