EVEN GEORGE WILL…. We’ve past the point at which this can reasonably be described as foolish. Now, conservative apoplexy about the non-existent drive to reinstate the “Fairness Doctrine,” is just annoying. George Will, who one might expect to know better, devoted 740 words in a nationally syndicated column to railing against a legislative initiative that no one seriously wants or expects to pass.

Because liberals have been even less successful in competing with conservatives on talk radio than Detroit has been in competing with its rivals, liberals are seeking intellectual protectionism in the form of regulations that suppress ideological rivals. If liberals advertise their illiberalism by reimposing the fairness doctrine, the Supreme Court might revisit its 1969 ruling that the fairness doctrine is constitutional. The court probably would dismay reactionary liberals by reversing that decision on the ground that the world has changed vastly, pertinently and for the better. […]

If reactionary liberals, unsatisfied with dominating the mainstream media, academia and Hollywood, were competitive on talk radio, they would be uninterested in reviving the fairness doctrine. Having so sullied liberalism’s name that they have taken to calling themselves progressives, liberals are now ruining the reputation of reactionaries, which really is unfair.

I haven’t the foggiest idea what compelled George Will to write such nonsense. It’s not only ridiculous, it neglects to mention to the reader that no one is seriously trying to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine.

TNR’s Marin Cogan recently wrote a great piece, noting that she couldn’t find anyone on the left who really wants to reinstate the policy. Cogan explained, “The prospect of being in the opposition often brings out the worst in conservatives — paranoia and self-pity.”

In fact, Will ignores the point, because it would make his column appear ridiculous, but let’s keep in mind that Barack Obama doesn’t want to see the Fairness Doctrine brought back, and both Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have said this isn’t going anywhere in either chamber of Congress. We’re talking about a liberal campaign that exists only in the overactive imaginations of paranoid conservatives.

To reiterate a point from last week, far-right activists mislead people about progressive policy ideas all the time, but as Yglesias recently noted, “I’ve never heard of anything like the current conservative mania for blocking a particular legislative provision that nobody is trying to enact.”

George Will ought to be embarrassed.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.