Obama's Back Door Fairnes Doctrine Advances

Amanda Carpenter

2/26/2009 3:30:49 PM - Amanda Carpenter
We already know Barack Obama sure doesn't like the likes of talk radio titans like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Yet, he's always been careful to say he opposes the Fairness Doctrine. He'd rather go about it in a different way.

And, get his old homestate senator, Dick Durbin, to do his bidding

The Senate overwhelmingly approved a measure to prevent the Fairness Doctrine from being reinstated today, yet also agreed to urge the Federal Communications Commission to increase "diversity" on the airwaves.

President Obama wrote a letter to the FCC when he was Illinois senator saying action must be taken to increase minority ownership in print and broadcast media. Conservative watchdogs have argued using government to do this is a  "backdoor" version of the Fairness Doctrine.

Both actions were attached to a larger bill to grant Washington D.C. voting rights. At this point it is unclear if either measure would be included in the final version of the bill.

Conservative Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.) sponsored the amendment to kill the Fairness Doctrine. It passed 87-11.

Liberal Sen. Dick Durbin (D.-Ill.) sponsored the competing amendment for more media diversity, which passed 57-41.

"Today was an important victory for free speech, but the fight is far from over," said DeMint in a statement. "Senator Durbin's amendment exposed Democrat intentions to impose radio censorship through the back door using vague regulations dealing with media ownership. Senator Durbin's language was so broad, it could apply beyond radio to television, newspapers and the internet. All eyes are now on the FCC. If they attempt to shut down free speech directly, we will fight to stop them."

CPAC is hosting a panel to discuss the Fairness Doctrine at 3:45pm with Joe Scarborough and Tucker Carlson. I do hope they weigh in on the Senate's latest action.