Democrat's 'Fairness Doctrine' is Far from Fair By: Sen. Roger Wicker Filed 12/26/08 GCN
Leading members of the Democratic congressional majority are attempting to silence talk radio by resurrecting the so-called “Fairness Doctrine.” Contrary to its name, this arcane regulation would limit free speech by injecting government control over programming on our airways.
Freedom of speech, one of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, is part of the foundation our country was built upon. Our government does not, nor should it ever, have the responsibility to modify that right and thus regulate content of speech.
ANYTHING BUT FAIR
The Fairness Doctrine was a Federal Communications Commission rule that was first put into effect in 1949. Its intent was to mandate “fairness” over the airways by requiring broadcasters to provide equal airtime for opposing points of view on controversial topics. In short, the federal government mandated that a conservative viewpoint was countered by a liberal viewpoint (and vice versa) in an attempt to be “fair.”
The justification for the rule was the “scarcity” of broadcast channels in the 1940s and the perceived need for the government to ensure broadcast fairness. At the time the Fairness Doctrine was put in place, television was in its infancy and there were only a limited number of AM radio stations. As time went on, the advent of FM radio and cable television drastically increased the number of channels available to consumers, making the scarcity argument less and less defensible. The rule, which was in place for nearly four decades, was finally repealed by the Reagan Administration in 1987.,.................Read More
Democrats are serious about trying to reinstate the long-defunct FCC regulation,
which can more aptly be described as the “Censorship Doctrine” because of its
chilling effect on free speech. In effect from 1949 to 1987, the Fairness
Doctrine was an obstacle to open discussion of public policy issues on the
radio; its removal in the Reagan years spawned the robust talk radio marketplace
of ideas now enjoyed by millions.
While talk radio hosts often warned during the campaign that
free speech could be trampled by an all-Democratic majority, the broadcast
networks have failed to react to this dangerous threat to the First Amendment. A
review shows the broadcast networks — whose affiliates could also be regulated —
have failed to run even a single story mentioning the push for a new Fairness
Doctrine. The most recent mention of the Fairness Doctrine was on May 30, 2007,
when in an interview on CBS’s The Early Show, Al Gore bizarrely called it
a “protection” that was removed during the Reagan years.
But there has been news to report, as Democrats have been more
than candid about their plans. On Election Day, for example, New York Senator
Charles Schumer justified regulating political speech. “The very same people who
don’t want the Fairness Doctrine want the FCC to limit pornography on the air,”
Schumer told the Fox News Channel. “You can’t say, ‘government hands off in one
area’ to a commercial enterprise, but you’re allowed to intervene in another.
That’s not consistent.”
"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go
outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens,
nature and the Divine. Because only then does one feel that all is as it
should be and that the Divine wishes to see people happy, amidst the
simple beauty of nature."
Edna St. Vincent Millay
My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!