Indiana Republican and former radio talk show host Rep. Mike Pence is trying to head off a Democrat-led effort to revive the fairness doctrine, which required broadcasters to provide both sides of the stor issues of public importance..
On Thursday, Pence planned to introduce an amendment to an appropriations bill that would block the FCC from using any money in fiscal year 2008 to impose the fairness doctrine on broadcasters, according to Pence's press secretary, Matt Lloyd.
Since the amendment would only cover 2008, Pence also plans to introduce a bill as early as today that would permanently blocks the reimposition of the doctrine. The bill has almost 100 co-sponsors, according to Lloyd.
"The American people love a fair fight, especially where the issues of the day are debated," said Pence in remarks prepared for deliver on the House floor. "In a free market, fairness should be determined based upon equal opportunity, not equal results. As some voices are calling for Congress to enforce their idea of ‘fairness’ upon the American people, it would be good for us to proceed with caution whenever some would achieve their ‘fairness’ by limiting the freedom of others.
According to Pence, the bill will "prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from prescribing rules, regulations, or policies that will reinstate the requirement that broadcasters present opposing viewpoints in controversial issues of public importance" and "prevent the FCC or any future President from reinstating the Fairness Doctrine."
Neither the amendment nor the bill have much chance of passage in the Democratically-controlled Congress, but it is the first high-profile push-back against a growing call for a return of the doctrine, which was scrapped as unconstitutional by the FCC in 1987.