Fairness Doctrine Resurfaces

Congress may consider the Fairness Doctrine after recent electoral victories

Fort Worth, TX (JusticeNewsFlash.com) The Fairness Doctrine, introduced by Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) and cosponsored by far-left members of the House of Representatives, is an attempt to reinstate government control over political speech. While the bill’s supporters may be intent on silencing conservative talk radio, the unintended consequences could be that liberal TV shows would have to balance their shows with the likes of Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter.

Officially known as House Resolution 3302, the Media Ownership Reform Act (MORA) was introduced on July 14, 2005 and has not made it to committee, according to the non-partisan govtrack website. The controversial doctrine was rescinded in 1987 by FCC, which declared it unconstitutional, according to a November 6, 2008 article by Herb Denenberg, which appeared on The Bulletin.com website.

The rule would put the government in charge of balancing views on broadcast media, instead of the current system of free market choice. For instance, this would most definitely hurt conservative talk radio because it would no longer be economically feasible to split airtime between liberal and conservative views. Nationally-syndicated radio talk shows are overwhelmingly conservative as evidenced by the ratings of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck and Laura Ingraham, according to a Spring 2008 report compiled by Talkers Magazine.

In a November 4, 2008 Fox News interview, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) stated that he thought the government should have greater control over free speech.

However, some Democrats have doubts about the Fairness Doctrine. According to a November 6, 2008 CNSNews.com article by Nicholas Ballasy, Maryland Democrat Congressman Chris Van Hollen recently expressed doubts that the Fairness Doctrine would work since technology has made the media so decentralized. Fellow Congressman Ben Cardin (D-M.D.) echoed a similar sentiment in the same article, saying that the market is balancing out the diversity of views.