Senator Really Does Want A Return Of The Fairness Doctrine
from the fair-and-balanced,-it's-the-law dept
In May, the conservative magazine the American Spectator made the claim that Democratic Senators were interested in bringing back the Fairness Doctrine, an old FCC regulation that required broadcast media to be “balanced” in its coverage of political issues. The rule was suspended in 1987, as it was seen as arbitrary and difficult to enforce, not to mention the fact that it would seem to be a violation of the First Amendment (although this hasn’t been tested in the courts). It now looks like the magazine’s report was more or less correct, as Senator Dianne Feinstein said this weekend that a legislative remedy may be needed to counter the influence of right-wing talk radio, which she blamed for stymieing attempts to bring about immigration reform. Leaving one’s political views aside, it’s disturbing that a politician would want to regulate speech because of a single issue. As for talk radio influencing policy issues, it would seem that that’s the whole point of politically-oriented speech. What’s more, the whole fairness doctrine idea is a throwback to the days when radio broadcasters really did have a monopoly. These days, with so many options, ranging from internet radio stations to podcasts and satellite radio, it’s easy enough to tune out, if you’re not satisfied with the point of view that you’re getting.