Only a couple of days ago, it seems like the debate over the Fairness Doctrine was fading. Opponents were reduced to citing overheard elevator conversations for Pete’s sake.
Then the dam burst. So far this week three Democratic senators have come out in support of reimposing the restriction. (One — John Kerry — was probably as surprised as anyone, since his comments had been recorded months ago, but only released Tuesday by New York public radio host Brian Lehrer).
In the House, all the action has been by Fairness Doctrine opponents, led by Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana — who have crafted a bill to take away the FCC’s authority to impose such regulation.
Now comes the real shocker — the idea will be voted on today by the full house, as an amendment to the FCC appropriations bill. Now that’s what I call fast action.
Odds are that the amendment won’t pass. But the up or down vote will tell us a lot, as members will, on the record, have to declare whether they believe in government control of the media or not.
The results should be interesting. Stay tuned.