The ‘Fairness Doctrine’ By Any Other Name is Still the ‘Fairness Doctrine’
Don’t let the Democrats fool you!! Just because they voted against the ‘Fairness Doctrine’ does not mean that they aren’t trying to get it through anyway. They decided that the term ‘fairness doctrine’ has a bad connotation to it now, so they ‘voted it down’. Then they voted to adopt an amendment that will do basically the same thing and they’re just calling it something else. Don’t fall for their lies. They are still trying to silence free speech and trying to get conservative radio shut down, and we CANNOT let them by with it!!!
The ‘Fairness Doctrine’ by any other name is still the Fairness Doctrine
Democrats are trying to ‘Back Door’ the Fairness Doctrine
By Alexander Bolton
Conservatives fear that Democrats are pursuing a “back door” approach to cracking down on Clear Channel Communications, the media conglomerate that airs “The Rush Limbaugh Show,” a favorite among conservatives.
The Senate voted along party lines Thursday to adopt an amendment sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.), the second-ranking Democrat in the chamber, that directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to “promote diversity in communication media ownership and to ensure that broadcast station licenses are used in the public interest.” The measure passed 57-41 without a single Republican vote.
Durbin said his proposal would encourage more women and minorities to apply for radio and TV ownership.
But Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.), chairman of the conservative Senate Republican Steering Committee, charged the proposal would lead to regulatory pressure on Clear Channel, which owns and operates more than 1,200 radio stations in the United States.
The vote came minutes before the Senate voted overwhelmingly to quash the Fairness Doctrine, a regulation the FCC enforced until the mid-1980s that required radio and TV stations to give equal airtime to conservative and liberal viewpoints.
Democrats have tried several times to revive the Fairness Doctrine, which critics argue would decimate conservative talk radio. Those efforts failed because of vetoes by former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
President Obama has made clear that he does not intend to reinstate the doctrine.
But Republicans aren’t convinced that Democrats have given up on loosening conservatives’ grip on talk radio.
“Sen. Durbin’s amendment exposed Democrat intentions to impose radio censorship through the back door using vague regulations dealing with media ownership,” said DeMint.
Sen. John Thune (S.D.), vice chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, said, “I am troubled that as we killed the ‘Fairness Doctrine,’ Sen. Durbin’s amendment brought to life a new threat to talk radio and other arenas of free speech.”
Aides to DeMint said the proposal was an attempt to “muzzle successful syndicated radio program” such as Limbaugh’s.
“They’re trying to break up Clear Channel and other successful syndicated radio programs,” said Wesley Denton, a spokesman for DeMint.
Durbin dismissed the charge.
“To argue what I am putting here is a dramatic change in the law, is going to somehow muzzle Rush Limbaugh – that’s not the case,” said Durbin during a floor debate with DeMint.
“No one is suggesting that the law for the Federal Communications Commission [FCC] says that you can give this license to a Republican and this one to a Democrat and this one to a liberal and this one to a conservative.
“When we talk about diversity in media ownership, it relates primarily to gender, race and other characteristics of that nature,” Durbin said.
The Senate voted to append Durbin’s proposal to the District of Columbia Voting Rights Act, which passed the Senate on Thursday afternoon.
Minutes after adopting Durbin’s amendment, the Senate voted 87-11 to adopt an amendment sponsored by DeMint that would prevent the FCC from reinstating the Fairness Doctrine.
Republicans have introduced companion legislation in the House, but Democrats in that chamber are not expected to allow a vote on the bill.
Conservatives fear that forcing stations to make equal time for liberal talk radio would slash profits and pressure radio executives to scale back on conservative programming to avoid escalating costs and interference from government regulators.
Opponents of the Fairness Doctrine argue that liberal talk radio has not proven popular or profitable. For example, Air America, liberals’ answer to “The Rush Limbaugh Show,” filed for bankruptcy in October 2006.
The FCC discarded the policy in 1985 after deciding that it restricted journalistic freedom and “actually inhibit[ed] the presentation of controversial issues of public importance, to the detriment of the public and in degradation of the editorial prerogative of broadcast journalists,” according to a Congressional Research Service report.