Is The Fairness Doctrine Fair?

Posted by Jeffrey K Radt ("JRed") | Posted in , | Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2008

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Is the Fairness Doctrine fair? You be the judge.

The Fairness Doctrine is a 1949 Federal Communications Commission policy that required broadcasters who sent out specific messages to set aside time for opposing views.

Put in place nearly 50 years ago, the doctrine was an FCC regulation that policed the airwaves at a time when there were few other sources of information. It never carried the full weight of the law.

By the 1980s, with the advent of cable television and multiple opportunities to air differing opinions, the policy fell out of favor and was finally ditched by the FCC in 1987.

Simply put, it's an assault of the First Amendment and a complete violation of the freedom of speech.

Now, Democrats are voicing their support in ressurrecting this policy.
For instance, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., recently said she supports resurrecting the Fairness Doctrine. While Pelosi hasn't offered legislation to reinstate the policy, she has signaled that she supports its revival, and said a bill introduced by Rep. Mike Spence, R-Ind., to permanently kill it will not be considered by the Democratic-controlled House.

This was back in August. Today, we have another prominent Democrat pushing for the same thing. New Mexico Democrat Senator Jeff Bingaman wants TV and Radio stations to have to present a balanced perspective and different points of view.

Friends, this should be a red flag to all of us especially to Christians who know about the kind of religious persecution that's coming upon us here in America in these end times.


If the Fairness Doctrine were to be reinstated by Congress, broadcasters would be legally forced to follow the old protocol: one-third of the airtime given to one opinion must be offered free-of-charge to opponents.

Now, stop and think about the implications for Christian broadcasters. How can this news not make them nervous since it would really make it impossible to preach the whole counsel of God?

For example, if someone were to assert that God has ordained marriage as only between a man and woman that would be a "controversial" statement today, and someone will undoubtedly ask for equal time to present an opposing view.

Let's be honest. Silencing Christian Radio is not the only goal of Democratic lawmakers who are pushing the "fairness" bill. Their other target? Rush Limbaugh and friends.

When last year's immigration bill failed in the Senate, Pelosi and other Democratic leaders blamed its demise on talk show hosts like Limbaugh, who they said galvanized the public against it. Former Republican Senator Trent Lott's complaint that "talk radio is running America" made the rounds on the blogosphere while conservative radio pundits declared victory.

Plus, why stop at TV and Radio? Wouldn't it make sense to eventually go after Blogs and other online ministries like this one?

According to the S.F. Politics Examiner, "A large segment of the public would like to extend the concept of the Fairness Doctrine to the Internet."

Can you imagine if I was only allowed to write an article against abortion as long as I gave space to Planned Parenthood to issue a counter argument for the procedure?

Make no mistake, the Fairness Doctrine is a clear and present danger to our freedom of speech. It's merely a code name for "censorship" and that's it.

But, of course, that persnickety First Amendment has never stopped the Left before. They’re more than happy to rewrite it and bully Americans into submission, if they can’t capture and sustain an audience the old-fashioned way.

Most critics say the doctrine is unlikely to be reinstated, and that it is being used by the Left as an empty threat, and by the Right as a rallying cry. Still, we should be bracing ourselves for its reemergence especially in the event that we find ourselves at the mercy of an Obama administration.

Yes, the Obama campaign said some months back that the candidate doesn't seek to re-impose this regulation, which, until Ronald Reagan's FCC phased it out in the 1980s, required TV and radio broadcasters to give balanced airtime to opposing viewpoints or face steep fines or even loss of license. But most Democrats - including party elders Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry and Al Gore - strongly support the idea of mandating "fairness."

Would a President Obama veto a new Fairness Doctrine if Congress enacted one? It's doubtful.

The Fairness Doctrine was an astonishingly bad idea then, and it's an astonishingly bad idea now. It's a too-tempting power for government to abuse.

RECOMMENDED READING:
Christian Broadcasters Nervous About Fairness Doctrine
Extending The 'Fairness Doctrine' To The Web
There's Nothing 'Fair' About It

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