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February 18, 2005

“Fairness” doctrine

From NewsMax:

A number of Democrats, including Reps. Maurice Hinchey and Louise Slaughter of New York, Rush Holt of New Jersey and Diane Watson of California, again were pushing the GOP to re-impose the fairness doctrine, a 1949 Federal Communications Commission rule that once required broadcasters to "afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views of public importance." In other words, present both sides when presenting information about public policy issues.

This has been dubbed the Hush Rush law, because it serves no other purpose than to silence Conservative talk radio.

The fairness rule was discarded by the FCC in 1987 during the Reagan administration because, "contrary to its purpose, it failed to encourage the discussion of more controversial issues," says an analysis by the Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

A number of liberals believe the demise of the fairness doctrine led the way to the rise of talk radio, which is largely conservative.

In practice the fairness rule works this way: A Liberal station broadcasts exclusively Liberal content, a complaint is lodged, and is expeditiously ignored. Another station dares to broadcast one Conservative program, a complaint is filed and the station is force to broadcast -- for free -- an equal amount of Liberal stuff -- regardless of how much Liberal stuff it was already broadcasting.

In other words it's a joke. The only people that take it serious are Liberals because they use it to silence Conservative broadcasts.

Don't expect it to actually be revived because it's demise finally allowed a small bit of fairness in broadcasting, as opposed to the complete stranglehold Liberals held during its time as law.

Posted by Jack Lewis at February 18, 2005 08:51 AM

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