Religious Broadcasters Fire Back At Copps' Fairness Comments

NRB's Wright says his members could be supportive of women and minority ownership and "wary" of diversity initiatives that could affect broadcast content

Frank Wright, president of National Religious Broadcasters told acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps in an open letter Thursday that his members could be both supportive of women and minority ownership and "wary" of diversity initiatives that could affect broadcast content. That is according to a copy of the letter sent to B&C by NRB.

Copps, in a May 14 speech to a Free Press media reform conference in Washington, called those tying efforts to boost minority ownership and diversity to the fairness doctrine was issue mongering by conspiracy theorists whose self-interest was served by keeping a phony issue alive.

Associating NRB with those who are concerned that FCC "diversity" initiatives (NRB puts diversity in quotes) could be a potential fairness doctrine in disguise, Wright says that the group's position is clear: "Whether such control is called the 'Fairness Doctrine,' or masked by some other name, is irrelevant. We do not want any broadcasters (religious, secular minority, etc.) to be subject to a heavy-handed system of federal regulation that is fraught with problems and oblivious to the benefits of a reasonably free market."

Wright said that NRB and others have legitimate concerns about keeping government from remaking media ownership that could tilt the ideological balance. "We do not want an artificial increase of media ownership for the purpose of causing a decrease in 'conservative' or traditional values media content, and an increase in liberal or 'progressive' programming.

Wright said he would welcome the chance to talk with Copps about the issue.