Good Sense from Pence: Ban the Fairness Doctrine

by on June 26, 2007 · 4 comments

The debate over the Fairness Doctrine has up until now had a bit of a shadow-boxing quality to it. While opposition to the FCC rule has been abundant — it’s hard to turn on the radio without hearing some discussion of the issue — actual legislative proposals to reinstate the rule have been scarce.

Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum, however. So, rather than wait for advocates of the doctrine to make their move, Rep. Mike Pence, a Republican from Indiana, has decided to take the offensive by introducing his own legislation to ban the FCC from reinstating the rule. Specifically, Pence’s bill, to be introduced later this week, provides that the Federal Communications Commission “shall not have the authority to prescribe any rule, regulation, policy, doctrine, standard, or other requirement that has the purpose or effect of reinstating or repromulgating” the Fairness Doctrine.

While the bill’s chances for passage in the Democratic-controlled Congress are unclear, Pence’s bill is significant. First, it gives opponents of the Fairness Doctrine a clear goal around which to rally — endng the “will they or will they not” guessing game. Perhaps more importantly, the legislation potentially redefines the question at hand from “should regulation be imposed?” to “should regulation be allowed?”

It’s a good question, and a debate well worth having. Stay tuned.

  • Bill Surina

    I assume that the fairness doctrine will encompass all broadcasting, but somehow I think the only target is talk radio. Will it mean that every time a network or cable news program reports about global warming that it will also have to report from opposition to the theory. I doubt it. Does it mean that anytime a news anchor refers to Bush the liar that it will have to be countered with someone who does not believe that he lied? Somehow I doubt it. Apparantly broadcast news will become a thing of the past, or be extended to continuous so that all opinions on all subjects can be covered. Sure it will.

  • Bill Surina

    I assume that the fairness doctrine will encompass all broadcasting, but somehow I think the only target is talk radio. Will it mean that every time a network or cable news program reports about global warming that it will also have to report from opposition to the theory. I doubt it. Does it mean that anytime a news anchor refers to Bush the liar that it will have to be countered with someone who does not believe that he lied? Somehow I doubt it. Apparantly broadcast news will become a thing of the past, or be extended to continuous so that all opinions on all subjects can be covered. Sure it will.

  • Bill Surina

    I assume that the fairness doctrine will encompass all broadcasting, but somehow I think the only target is talk radio. Will it mean that every time a network or cable news program reports about global warming that it will also have to report from opposition to the theory. I doubt it. Does it mean that anytime a news anchor refers to Bush the liar that it will have to be countered with someone who does not believe that he lied? Somehow I doubt it. Apparantly broadcast news will become a thing of the past, or be extended to continuous so that all opinions on all subjects can be covered. Sure it will.

  • Bill Surina

    I assume that the fairness doctrine will encompass all broadcasting, but somehow I think the only target is talk radio. Will it mean that every time a network or cable news program reports about global warming that it will also have to report from opposition to the theory. I doubt it. Does it mean that anytime a news anchor refers to Bush the liar that it will have to be countered with someone who does not believe that he lied? Somehow I doubt it. Apparantly broadcast news will become a thing of the past, or be extended to continuous so that all opinions on all subjects can be covered. Sure it will.

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