Sunset News: "Fairness Doctrine"

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"Fairness Doctrine"

A conservative media watchdog says defenders of free speech should be prepared for a move by Democrats to reinstate the misnamed "Fairness Doctrine" very early in Obama's presidency.

Rich Noyes is director of research at the Media Research Center, one of many organizations that have been warning about the coming war against conservative talk radio. Noyes says Democrats have been more than candid about their plans. He says both Senators Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico) have indicated their support of the Fairness Doctrine, as has Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California), who blamed talk radio for the defeat of an amnesty bill last year. So Noyes says talk-radio proponents and others who defend free speech should be prepared to deal with this threat as soon as possible. "I don't know if they're going to try to move this through in a congressional action, in which case they could do it very quickly -- [or] if they want to wait until they have the right appointments to the FCC and do it administratively," says Noyes. "They may not do it at all," he continues. "They may decide that just holding it over the heads of talk radio is enough. Or they may decide for reasons they don't want to take the hit and they want to spend their capital elsewhere." Nevertheless, he concludes, enough Democrats have signaled that the policy is high on their list of priorities that he thinks there is cause for concern. Noyes says the Fairness Doctrine can be more aptly described as the "Censorship Doctrine."

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