Obama Does Not Support Return of Fairness Doctrine
There may be some Democrats talking about reimposing the Fairness Doctrine, but one very important one does not: presumptive presidential nominee Barack Obama.
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/25/2008 8:25:00 PM
The Illinois senator’s top aide said the issue continues to be used as a distraction from more pressing media business.
"Sen. Obama does not support reimposing the Fairness Doctrine on broadcasters," press secretary Michael Ortiz said in an e-mail to B&C late Wednesday.
"He considers this debate to be a distraction from the conversation we should be having about opening up the airwaves and modern communications to as many diverse viewpoints as possible," Ortiz added. "That is why Sen. Obama supports media-ownership caps, network neutrality, public broadcasting, as well as increasing minority ownership of broadcasting and print outlets."
The Fairness Doctrine issue flared up in recent days after reports that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was talking about a Democratic push to reinstate it, although it was unclear at press time whether that was a new pledge or the restating of a long-held position.
Conservative paper Human Events reported that Pelosi was not planning to bring to a vote a bill to block the reimposition of the doctrine.
The paper went on to say that Pelosi “added that ‘the interest in my caucus is the reverse’ and that New York Democratic Rep. ‘Louise Slaughter has been active behind this [revival of the Fairness Doctrine] for a while now.’”
But it was unclear whether Pelosi was talking about a push, or simply restating her long-held view that the doctrine should return.
President George W. Bush pledged to veto any attempt to legislatively establish the doctrine, and Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) told B&C in an interview last fall that there were no plans to try to bring the doctrine back.
One year ago, the House passed a bill, from Indiana Republican and former radio talker Mike Pence, that put a one-year moratorium on funding any Federal Communications Commission reimposition of the doctrine. Democrats, led by David Obey (D-Wis.), suggested that the amendment was a red herring, a nonissue and that it was being debated, such as it was -- no Democrats stood to oppose it -- to provide sound bites for conservative talkers and "yap yap TV," who had ginned up the issue.
In a Shakespearian mood, Obey said the amendment was "much ado about nothing" and "sound and fury, signifying nothing."
It was a permanent version of that moratorium, also pushed by Pence, that Pelosi was reportedly saying would have no chance.
But other Democrats suggested that the sticking point was the current administration, and some big names, including Sen. John Kerry (Mass.), talked about the possibility of bringing it back. Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) went so far as to say he would make the doctrine part of his media agenda.
The Fairness Doctrine required broadcasters to air both sides of controversial issues. The FCC found the doctrine unconstitutional back in 1987, and President Reagan vetoed an attempt by congressional Democrats to reinstate it.
It is a sensitive topic with Republicans, who fear that Democrats will use it to try and rein in conservative talk radio, the rise of which followed the scrapping of the doctrine.
In the wake of press reports about Pelosi's comments, Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), a longtime foe of the doctrine, said its return would be "nothing less than a sweeping takeover by Washington bureaucrats of broadcast media, and it is designed to squelch conservative speech on the airwaves."
Pelosi's office had not returned calls at press time on what she said, and meant, by her comments to the paper.
I'm a Democrat. Or WAS! The liberals have "Air America" don't they? Or did that go under? George Soros has to keep reaching into his wallet to bail it out, or that's what I've heard, just to keep it afloat. I don't know of any law or rule that says there can be no liberal talk shows, is there? I would doubt it because that would be a matter of the 1st Amendment, the Bill of Rights, right? Just because they can't keep enough listeners to keep a liberal talk radio show afloat, is not the fault of any conservative talk show is it? Why don't they just find a time slot on a station and air a liberal talk show? Because it would not make any money and would eventually fail as they always do. But to punish the other talk shows that do very well, like the conservative ones such as Rush,Sean,Glenn,Bill,etc. would be an infingement of their constitutional rights I'd think. And it should be a matter for the FCC, not the Congress at all! I think Congress has their noses in way too many things other than state business anyway! Like Baseball steroid scandals and such. What business is that of theirs? They have bigger fish to fry don't they? I certainly think so. If a liberal talk show can't make it on the air, it's their own fault that no one wants to hear it. I tried to listen to Air America once. I heard everything from conspiracy theories(crazy stuff like a 9/11 being an inside job,building #7,etc.)to just plain socialist/communism talk that most people think are just insane ideas they come up with. And they wonder why they can't keep a show on the air after talking about such nonsense? PLEASE! I heard that Roseanne wanted to crash the Democratic(I think-maybe it was the Republican, but I think it was the Dems) Convention andmake it another "1968!"
Would that not be inciting a riot? LOL Just sayin'!
But we're talking about freedom of speech here aren't we?GEEZ! And conservative shows always have the "other side" on their shows. Who would they argue with if they didn't? FOX News really IS "Fair and Balanced" like their motto says! They always have someone from each side battling it out. And as far as TV? MSNBC is about as far left as you can be! The whole media, except for FOX News Channel,"were in the tank" so to speak, for Obama the whole campaign! In fact, all TV news were, with the one exception, which is where I get all my political fixes, because they cover BOTH sides,leaning slightly to the right, I'll admit, like the rest of the country does. We are a "Center/Right" country who was tired of Bush, so a Republican had no chance in this last election. But I'll go as far as to say I think Obama will be a one term President because his "Stimulus Package" won't work fast enough and the markets will correct themselves in about 3-4 years, just in time to hire a new Republican President. The market will correct itself either way, but the Dems will take credit for it, saying their "Stimulus" did the job, when nothing will be further from the truth. It's sad.
Richard E. Glaze - 2/16/2009 10:53:57 PM EST
FAIRNESS? - NOT ONLY ARE THE NEWSPAPERS LIBERAL, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE INSTRUCTORS PROMOTING THE LEFT IN OUR COLLEGES. THERE IS NO FAIRNESS AT ALL. SPEAK TO ANY COLLEGE STUDENT, YOU'LL KNOW IT'S CALLED BRAINWASHING OUR YOUTH.
JUNE HANSEN - 2/15/2009 2:44:15 PM EST
The 'Fairness Doctrine' is unconstitutional. It is the liberals (ie; Pelosi) way of forcing a totalitarian media on us. Liberal radio is failing. Conservative radio is high in the ratings and that is why the Liberals want to get their hands into these programs/stations. As United States citizens we should be allowed to listen to whatever we want not what the liberals in Washington want us to listen to. Wake up America....The Fairness Doctrine sounds like something you would find under Hitler, Stalin, etc.
Joan - 2/5/2009 11:04:25 PM EST
i agree with most of the people posting here. I am not a a constitutionalo lawyer. I am a citizen who has watched the "liberal" not the conservatives tear this country down with their ideas of free this and free that involving the media. I for one can't watch any tv or my children because of the immoral fabric woven into near everything aired to commercials! Radio? Hey, it goes for the other camp as well doesn't it? Like one said liberals have tv and newspapers! Brats just can't get enough!
deb - 2/5/2009 10:46:22 PM EST
If his does somehow become law does that mean that everytime a hollywood type stands up at an award show a preaches their political views someone else will then come on stage to preach the counterpoint. Or when a newspaper is blantently liberal will they then produce a second paper with the conservative views? Or this only for the radio because the liberals do not want you to know what is going on in this country. Are we sheep or Americans? Just wondering???
Michelle - 1/27/2009 11:43:34 AM EST
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