Fariness Doctrine Beats Iraq, Paris Hilton


Democratic threats to reinstate the FCC's so-called fairness doctrine topped the debate over the Iraq war policy --and even the latest news from Paris Hilton!-- as topics of conversation for radio and cable talk shows for the week ending June 29.

That's according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism's weekly Talk Show Index content analysis.

 The top story for the week was the collapse of the immigration reform bill, but that had fairness doctrine implications as well. In addition to the drum beat from CNN’s Lou Dobbs, the success of conservative radio talkers who pushed their listeners to flood phone lines and faxes in opposition to the bill, which a majority of Democrats supported, helped raise the spectre of the doctrine's return.

The fairness doctrine was the requirement, scrapped by the FCC as unconstitutional in 1987, that broadcasters must air both sides of controversial issues. Free to take sides with impugnity, talk radio took off, led by Rush Limbaugh.

The top 10 talk topics, according to PEJ were:

1. Immigration - 24%

2. UK Terror - 12%

3. VP Cheney Controversies - 9%

4. Wrestler Crime - 7%

5. Ohio Woman - 6%

6. Campaign 2008 - 6%

7. Ann Coulter's Comments - 6%

8. Fairness Doctrine - 4%

9. Iraq Policy Debate - 3%

10. Paris Hilton - 3%