Reviving the Fairness Doctrine

Posted: Aug 17, 2009 3:11 PM
One of the issues being overshadowed by the administration's massive deficit spending, cap-and-trade energy tax, and government take-over of our health care system is the effort to diminish freedom of speech on the airwaves by reviving the Fairness Doctrine.

In contrast to its name, the Fairness Doctrine would effectively ensure that the liberal viewpoint is promoted on the air to give a "fair and balanced" take on important issues of the day. It's a ridiculous notion, as today we are blessed with a myriad of news outlets and formats: cable news, the internet, and satellite radio, to name a few. If you don't like what you're hearing and find it biased, you can change the station and you will surely find something to your liking. What the Fairness Doctrine is about is the popularity of conservative talk radio.

The Heritage Foundation points out that "in such an environment, it is hard to understand why the federal government must police the airwaves to ensure that differing views are heard. The result of a reinstituted fairness doctrine would not be fair at all. In practice, much controversial speech heard today would be stifled as the threat of random investigations and warnings discouraged broadcasters from airing what FCC bureaucrats might refer to as 'unbalanced' views." The Fairness Doctrine was shelved in the 1980s.

Yet, sadly, the revival of the Fairness Doctrine is a very real possibility – particularly with this Administration.

In fact, Mark Lloyd, a former senior fellow at the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress, has been appointed as “Chief Diversity Officer” of the FCC. It's been reported that "Lloyd is a vocal proponent of the Fairness Doctrine and recently wrote that the Doctrine, and other regulatory tools such as localism and diversity mandates, should be employed by the FCC to limit the number of conservative voices on the air and supplant them with liberal voices.  He also suggests fining conservative radio stations up to $250 million and giving the proceeds to national public radio."

Now, Mr. Lloyd is in a position to make his ideas into policy.  Clearly, while this issue has taken a backseat in the headlines, it remains alive and well.

To learn more about the dangers of the Fairness Doctrine, check out "Don't Touch My Dial," a website and coalition set up by several radio show hosts to counter censorship efforts by the FCC.