What Fresh Hell Is This?

June 17, 2009

The Fairness Doctrine. Again

From Broadcasting and Cable:

Julius Genachowski, President Obama's nominee for chairman of the FCC, said Tuesday that he did not support reimposing the fairness doctrine.

He was asked at his nomination hearing by ranking Senate Commerce Committee Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) to publicly state the opinion he had expressed to her in a meeting--that he did not support the doctrine, even if it were arrived at by ancillary routes like localism mandates.

Genachowski said he strongly believes in the First Amendment and doesn't think the FCC should be involved in censorship based on political speech and opinion.

It doesn't get much more simple than that.

Huffingtonpost has more:
What is the "Fairness Doctrine?" Imposed in 1949, the Fairness Doctrine mandated that the scarcity of media resources made it necessary that FCC license holders allow competing points of view to have equal time and access. In practice, the Fairness Doctrine was always tricky to enforce, and so in 1987 is was done away with. In the immediate offing, right wing radio flourished. Of course, since then, the media has expanded to include satellite radio and cable television and the internet, eliminating the original "scarcity of resources" argument that underpinned the Fairness Doctrine in the first place, while greatly complicating a media sphere that the law couldn't handle well when it was implemented nearly sixty years ago.
So I guess Brent Bozell has an answer to his question:
The Federal Communications Commission rescinded in 1987 the so-called “Fairness” Doctrine, deeming it an unconstitutional abridgment of the First Amendment’s guarantee of the freedom of speech.

But in just the last couple of years, at least seventeen members of Congress have expressed their desire to see this form of government censorship reimposed.

Last June, a spokesman for then-candidate Barack Obama stated publicly that President Obama views the mis-named “Fairness” Doctrine as a “distraction” and does not want to see it reinstated. But on February 15, President Obama’s advisor David Axelrod was asked by Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday “Will you rule out reimposing the Fairness Doctrine?”

To which Mr. Axelrod responded “I'm going to leave that issue to Julius Genachowski, our new head of the FCC, to, and the President, to discuss. So I don't have an answer for you now.”

Do you, Mr. Genachowski, have an answer for us now? Have you discussed the so-called “Fairness” Doctrine with the President? Will you reimpose it? Where do you stand on this form of outright regulatory censorship?
Anyone want to take bets on how long it takes Bozell to reinstate his feverish Fairness Doctrine jeremiad?

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