Saturday, June 30, 2007

Pushback Against "Fairness Doctrine" Continues: On the heels of the victory (309-115) of the Pence amendment in the House forbidding FCC funds for the upcoming financial year to be used in order to institute the "Fairness Doctrine," which would allow the government to compel media broadcasters to present "both sides" of a given issue, Sen.'s Coleman (R-MN), DeMint (R-SC), and Thune (R-SD) have proposed a Senate complement (S. 1748) to Rep. Mike Pence's (R-IN) "Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2007" (H/T Ed Morrissey). This act would ban the FCC from attempting to regulate media content in order to show "both sides." This act would declare that the FCC
shall not have the authority to prescribe any rule, regulation, policy, doctrine, standard, or other requirement that has the purpose or effect of reinstating or repromulgating (in whole or in part) the requirement that broadcasters present opposing viewpoints on controversial issues of public importance, commonly referred to as the ‘Fairness Doctrine’

The co-sponsors of the Senate version include Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Larry Craig (R-ID), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX), George Voinovich (R-OH), John McCain (R-AZ), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Kit Bond (R-MO), Wayne Allard (R-CO), Tom Coburn (R-OK), and Pat Roberts (R-KS).
Concerns over the reinstitution of the "Fairness Doctrine" were recently heightened when Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) said she was "looking at" bringing back this Doctrine last Sunday. It was also revealed this week that 2004 presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) has said he supports the return of the "Fairness Doctrine." Majority Whip Sen. Durbin (D-IL) has also said that he thinks it is time to revive the Doctrine. (In the House, Democratic lawmakes split 115-113 in order to oppose Pence's amendment, so the party seems somewhat divided on the House side, and it remains unclear at the moment how many Democrats would support the Senate version of the "Broadcaster Freedom Act")