Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Fairness Doctrine Defeated in House

Well, kind of. There was no vote on the fairness doctrine, but the House added an amendment to an appropriations bill specifically forbidding the FCC from imposing the fairness doctrine. The vote was 309-115, which means more than half the Democrats in the House voted for the ban as well. That should pretty much bring all discussion about reimposing the doctrine again to a halt. It isn’t gonna happen. Nor should it, as I wrote earlier this week. And now hopefully this will also stop the scare-mongering from the right on the issue as well (but I’m not holding my breath).


  1. #1 Coin
    June 30, 2007

    What I would like to see is simply an increase in media diversity– i.e. roll back the 1996 rules on exactly how much of the media one entity can own, and maybe even take some steps beyond that (i.e. do more to encourage low power / public radio). The focus should be not on the content of individual broadcast licenses, but rather diversity in who receives broadcast licenses. Diversity in content is likely to result from this.

  2. #2 doctorgoo
    July 1, 2007

    From the cited article:

    “We ought to let right-wing talk radio go on as they do now,” he said. “Rush and Sean are just about as important in the scheme of things as Paris Hilton, and I would hate to see them gain an ounce of credibility by being forced by a government agency or anybody else to moderate their views enough that they might become modestly influential or respected.”

    I hope he was just making a joke by comparing Limbaugh and Hannity to Paris Hilton. Because unfortunately, they DO have a lot of influence. A lot of uneducated and ambivalent voters listen to them, think they’re funny, and end up agreeing with them just because they never hear (or listen to) another point of view.

  3. #3 John P. DuLong
    July 2, 2007

    Last weekend I heard a radio interview from someone from the Center for American Progress which is the group that released the recent report that over 90 percent of Talk Radio is conservative. To the point, this chap said that contrary to what many conservative radio hosts are saying, this report does NOT call for the renewal of the Fairness Doctrine, but rather suggests the following: (1) “Restore local and national caps on the ownership of commercial radio stations.” (2) “Ensure greater local accountability over radio licensing.” And (3) “Require commercial owners who fail to abide by enforceable public interest obligations to pay a fee to support public broadcasting.” For more details point your browsers to http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2007/06/talk_radio.html.

  4. #4 raj
    July 2, 2007

    At base, the entire FCC licensure and ownership regime is a violation of the 1st amendment. It is the spectrum analog of the federal government limiting the availability of newsprint and who can purchase it, in the print media. The problem might be ameliorated somewhat if radio–particularly talk radio–were to be regulated as “common carriers,” but that isn’t going to happen any time soon.

    Fairness doctrine as a substitute? Yes!

New comments have been disabled.