Vincent Patsy’s latest column is another in an increasingly long line of — frankly — garbage (Switching the frequency, 04/07/2009).

Of course I understand the importance of free press and the practice thereof. In fact, I applaud Patsy for using the tools available to him to share his opinions. I simply wish he or someone else would read those opinions before troubling the general public with them.

The beauty of this particular column is that it practically defeats itself. Patsy explicitly defines the difference between land and capital, and then proceeds to compare radio and television waves to a copper mine. Even in the loosest terms, broadcast waves are no more property as part of land than an airplane is flying overhead. As Patsy put it, “capital is the stuff put on to that space.” Radio and television waves are generated. They do not exist like natural resources. The “strict” economic arguments fall through by definition.

As for the argument that parents would make better mediators than the federal government — look around. Parents already can’t monitor everything their children are exposed to in today’s digital age — how many “To Catch a Predator” specials do we need to see? How many kids need to disappear after agreeing to meet someone they met online? This is not the fault of radio or television. But it certainly is not perfectly defended by parental supervision, either.

The idea of freeing the airwaves from government control is as old as the airwaves themselves. The arguments expressed by Patsy are interesting, to say the least. But I had hoped that the right to free thought would have been exercised as liberally as the right to free speech.

Michael Howley
Engineering sophomore

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