Category Archives: Fairness Doctrine

Macho Sauce Productions….

Surfing the net, I eventually landed on a rant the likes of which you’ve never seen before. Liberal positions on the Fairness Doctrine and other issues are skewered entertainingly and enthusiastically. You’ve gotta watch this….

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Fairness Doctrine update

On Wednesday, Fox News reported that President Barack Obama opposes re-instating the Fairness Doctrine. Here is today’s Fairness Doctrine news:

Given the issue’s importance and recent visibility, I may consider making this a regular morning feature. Please let me know what you think in the comments section, or by emailing me at brian.teague.johnson@gmail.com

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Filed under Fairness Doctrine, Principally Political

GOP Senator wants Dems on record in Fairness Doctrine fight

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) will pursue a vote on the Fairness Doctrine next week

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) will pursue a vote on the Fairness Doctrine next week

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) says he will force a vote on the Fairness Doctrine, hoping to get Democrats on the record. He plans to offer his proposal as an amendment to the D.C. Voting Rights bill next week, according to the Business and Media Institute.

While President Barack Obama recently announced that he would not pursue revival of the controversial policy that regulates balance on broadcast airwaves, many Democratic Senators have openly advocated its return. Among them are Tom Harkin (Iowa), Debbie Stabenow (Michigan), Dick Durbin (Illinois), Chuck Schumer (New York) and Jeff Bingaman (New Mexico).

This is a smart move by DeMint, and it is similar to efforts by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) in the House during the last Congress. Pence’s Broadcaster Freedom Act – the name DeMint’s bill also uses – was technical in nature and didn’t permanently ban the Fairness Doctrine. Its victory was nonetheless significant in putting Democrats on the record on the issue.

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) has fought to protect broadcaster freedom

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) has fought for broadcaster freedom

The beauty of this is in the timing: some Democrats will presumably not want to vote for the doctrine so soon after Obama recently announced his opposition – or at least disinterest – in it. If DeMint prevails in getting his amendment to the floor, it could be a another successful preemptive strike against the doctrine’s return. The fight would not be over by any means, but a small first battle will have been one.

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Filed under Fairness Doctrine, Mike Pence

The latest Democrat to call for Fairness Doctrine?

Bill Clinton.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) was on Bill Press’s show Wednesday, when he called for it or something like it as well.

The tremors continue.

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Bill Press didn’t get the memo

Liberal journalist Bill Press has been on the war path to shut down other people’s free speech rights. He penned a Washington Post column last week in favor of re-instating the Fairness Doctrine, only a few days after pressing the issue in an interview with Michigan Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow.

He must have not gotten the memo.

Bill, the Left has determined that its newest attempt to suppress political speech it disagrees with will be in the form of media ownership caps, or other similar efforts. Calling for a return of the actual “Fairness Doctrine” is so two years ago.

Speaking of the Doctrine: National Religious Broadcasters president Frank Wright warned at the group’s first convention since the November elections that that the new “regulatory arena and the legislative environment” are hostile to the proclamation of the gospel. While some Christians fear the doctrine could be used to undermine the message of their on-air programming,the NRB board declared that the organization will “obey the command of Christ to preach the gospel, even if human governments and institutions attempt to oppose, constrain, or prohibit it.”

The AP has the story Broadcasting and Cable had a more extensive piece with some Q&A with Wright.

While Democrats control the White House and both branches of Congress, we do have one thing going for us in this battle: Those under attack are those who do have a voice to speak out – indeed, they are targeted for that very reason. It’s good to see Wright and the NRB speaking out. Let all those who believe in the 1st Amendment do the same, before it is too late.

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Filed under Fairness Doctrine, General & Miscellaneous

Fairness Doctrine, ownership caps update

FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell warned against a return of the Fairness Doctrine and related media industry regulations that would limit free speech, in remarks to the Media Institute on Wednesday.

“Should it return again, as several current Members of Congress have called for, I doubt it would wear the same label. That’s just Marketing 101: if your brand is controversial, make a new brand. The Doctrine could be intertwined into other communications policy initiatives that are more certain to move through the system, such as localism, diversity or net neutrality,” said McDowell.

Here’s the latest:

Here’s a good background piece from George F. Will on the subject, from late last year.

As I’ve discussed and as indicated by McDowell, this effort to regulate speech and the media industry may come in a variety of names: Fairness Doctrine, ownership caps, localism, diversity and network neutrality, among others. So as a sidebar, for the benefit of future discussion I would like to develop a single term that refers to all such efforts. Perhaps “free media restrictions,” “media freedom restrictions,” “free speech regulations” or “Fairness Doctrine, etc,” or “free speech industry regulations.”

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Filed under Fairness Doctrine, Media, Statism

Fairness Doctrine

The advent of complete Democrat control in Washington, D.C. portends a possible return of the Fairness Doctrine, and in the coming weeks I will devote a series of posts on the potential re-imposition of this nasty bit of statism. My interest is to learn more about the issue, inform my readership of the same and prepare to write a feature commentary about efforts to revive this and other restrictions on media.

The Fairness Doctrine was a Federal Communications Commission regulation on licensed broadcasters requiring that an equal voice be given to both sides of any controversial issue. In place from 1949 to 1987, the rule stifled programming while pushing the limits of constitutionality. Leading Democrats on Capitol Hill have signaled that they favor a return of the regulation, while Republicans are generally opposed. Beyond philosophical reasons for support or opposition (belief in governmental control vs. belief in freedom from such) are purely political ones: the Fairness Doctrine would likely destroy talk radio, a lively, popularly-aimed conduit of conservative thought.

While still a senator, Barrack Obama‘s press secretary wrote that Mr. Obama did not support re-imposing the Fairness Doctrine but did support caps on media-ownership, among other things. Ownership restrictions could similarly suppress the dynamic forum that is talk radio, and this may be the strategy Democrats pursue to do so. In a public debate, Democrats would probably have a much easier time defending innocuous “media ownership rules” than a regulation like the Fairness Doctrine which could easily be as censorship and a violation of free speech rights.

As I track developments and continue to comment in the days ahead, please share your opinion and any suggested sources on this issues. Thanks!

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Filed under Fairness Doctrine, Obama, Statism