Fairness Doctrine Debate: Less and More than Meets the Eye

by on June 25, 2008 · 25 comments

Human Events’ John Gizzi is reporting today that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “signalled her strong support” for revival of ‘The Fairness Doctrine,’” yesterday at a breakfast meeting hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.  The report sparked a flurry of activity by supporters of Rep. Mike Pence’s stalled Broadcaster Freedom Act, which would permanently ban re-institution of the regulation.  

The reaction to Pelosi’s comment is rather surprising, given that its hardly news that the Democratic leader would support the doctrine.   Last year, in fact, it was reported that she would “aggressively” pursue reinstituting the doctrine.   That never happened, and in fact the House ended up voting for a one-year appropriations rider banning the FCC from reviving it.   

News or not, the renewed attention for the Pence effort is welcome.   Still, supporters of free speech shouldn’t fool themselves into thinking that this is the whole of the battle, or even the main theater of conflict.  In truth, while many still give lip service to the Fairness Doctrine, the real battle over media regulation is moving forward — with closed lips — elsewhere.   Free Press and the Center for American Progress laid out the strategy last year in a report on how to balance the “conservative bias” on talk radio.   Their recommendations ranged from media ownership restrictions to vague “public interest” requirements enforced by the FCC.  Tellingly, the report dismissed the Fairness Doctrine itself as ineffective.

The battle over stealth fairness regulation may already underway at the FCC, which has already launched a proceeding to consider imposing rules on broadcasters to ensure local content and diversity on radio and TV, giving regulators renewed powers to control what is said and heard.     And, as Cord Blomquist has pointed out: “Localism will compel speech of which FCC Commissioners … approve. In a world of limited broadcast hours, compelling one sort of speech means sacrificing speech of another, effectively censoring speech.”

We’ve heard that song before.

  • Self Appointed Genius

    Anyone else find it funny that everyone knows The Media is Liberal, even though The Radio is Conservative?

    And how is it that Fairness proponents always pick vague ideological points to use as examples? Has it ever occurred to them that strict enforcement of such a doctrine would require equal time for the pro and anti positions on topics that are traditionally noncontroversial, such as anorexia. Do we really want to turn on the radio and hear a Pro-ana viewpoint? Do we really want 12-year-old girls to hear that?

  • Self Appointed Genius

    Anyone else find it funny that everyone knows The Media is Liberal, even though The Radio is Conservative?

    And how is it that Fairness proponents always pick vague ideological points to use as examples? Has it ever occurred to them that strict enforcement of such a doctrine would require equal time for the pro and anti positions on topics that are traditionally noncontroversial, such as anorexia. Do we really want to turn on the radio and hear a Pro-ana viewpoint? Do we really want 12-year-old girls to hear that?

  • Jim Harper
  • Jim Harper
  • Stump

    So to be a conservative one has to be against localism? These stations are licensed by the FCC to serve particular communities — which doesn’t happen when all they do is relay agitprop via satellite. Outside the big cities a lot of AM talk stations are just computers in a closet relaying out-of-town programming. Local news is gone and so is a lot of local conservative talk radio, along with a chance to speak out when your local politicians do something you don’t like — which I’ll bet a lot of conservatives in small college towns would take in preference to another Rusty Humphries rerun or some other fifth-tier syndicated show.

    If there had been local “advisory boards” I’ll bet there never would have been an indecency ruckus, as they would have kept stations closer to the people and prevented corporate radio types from pumping Howard Stern into the red states.

    I wish I could tell you stories of all the local people who’ve been fired so that corporate radio can pump more money away to some faraway town. Including local CONSERVATIVE talk hosts. Don’t you realize that in this “Broadcaster Freedom Act” you’re just being played by the radio station owners who don’t want to operate with any responsibility to the communities they’re licensed to serve? The National Association of Broadcasters has launched a huge campaign to avoid any local service responsibilities or staff their stations –and they funnel huge amounts of cash to congressmen of all stripes.

  • Stump

    So to be a conservative one has to be against localism? These stations are licensed by the FCC to serve particular communities — which doesn’t happen when all they do is relay agitprop via satellite. Outside the big cities a lot of AM talk stations are just computers in a closet relaying out-of-town programming. Local news is gone and so is a lot of local conservative talk radio, along with a chance to speak out when your local politicians do something you don’t like — which I’ll bet a lot of conservatives in small college towns would take in preference to another Rusty Humphries rerun or some other fifth-tier syndicated show.

    If there had been local “advisory boards” I’ll bet there never would have been an indecency ruckus, as they would have kept stations closer to the people and prevented corporate radio types from pumping Howard Stern into the red states.

    I wish I could tell you stories of all the local people who’ve been fired so that corporate radio can pump more money away to some faraway town. Including local CONSERVATIVE talk hosts. Don’t you realize that in this “Broadcaster Freedom Act” you’re just being played by the radio station owners who don’t want to operate with any responsibility to the communities they’re licensed to serve? The National Association of Broadcasters has launched a huge campaign to avoid any local service responsibilities or staff their stations –and they funnel huge amounts of cash to congressmen of all stripes.

  • Dan

    No it is essentially censorship…It requires equal point of view time infringing on the Talkshow hosts 1st admendmant by requiring him to say he/she likes something that he doesn’t. Being a libertarian I understand why we have the right to say whatever we want about the Goverment, the thing I don’t get but like is the right to be racist. In what way do we gain anything? I support the right to be racist if you want but I don’t understand why people enjoy it…Well anyway I think if it makes you feel good and you aren’t physcially hurting anyone or physcially forcing it on them then do it… I guess that is the only and a good reason to support the right to be racist…The Fairness doctrine is censorship. I guess happiness is good enough reason to support freedom of speech…By all means I am against it.

  • http://www.sunglassesuk.com/c1/celebrity_sunglasses/orlando_bloom_sunglasses.asp Orlando Bloom Sunglasses

    Media nowadays really has been an influence on the eye of the audience. Somehow they can't control some situations.

  • http://www.sunglassesuk.com/c1/celebrity_sunglasses/orlando_bloom_sunglasses.asp Orlando Bloom Sunglasses

    Media nowadays really has been an influence on the eye of the audience. Somehow they can't control some situations.

  • http://www.unitedrevival.com/ Revival

    Quote: “Localism will compel speech of which FCC Commissioners … approve. In a world of limited broadcast hours, compelling one sort of speech means sacrificing speech of another, effectively censoring speech.”

    -Pretty scary stuff!

  • http://www.unitedrevival.com/ Revival

    Quote: “Localism will compel speech of which FCC Commissioners … approve. In a world of limited broadcast hours, compelling one sort of speech means sacrificing speech of another, effectively censoring speech.”

    -Pretty scary stuff!

  • http://www.unitedrevival.com/ Revival

    Quote: “Localism will compel speech of which FCC Commissioners … approve. In a world of limited broadcast hours, compelling one sort of speech means sacrificing speech of another, effectively censoring speech.”

    -Pretty scary stuff!

  • Pingback: payday 2 free download

  • Pingback: HTTP://WWW.YOUTUBE.COM

  • Pingback: DDOS Protected Webhosting

  • Pingback: hearthstone beta key

  • Pingback: http://www.amazon.com/Acidophilus-Probiotic-Ultra-Supplement-Gastrointestinal/dp/B00ECWLDPI

  • Pingback: online geld verdienen

  • Pingback: Trade Show Exhibit Booth

  • Pingback: FL Lotto

  • Pingback: garcinia cambogia for weight loss

  • Pingback: barclays premier league

  • Pingback: Dentist Camberley

  • Pingback: www.nhcps.com

  • Pingback: http://www.youtube.com/user/AdvMedCertification

Previous post:

Next post: