Sen. Bingaman (D-N.M.): Fairness Doctrine Would Help Radio Reach 'Higher Calling'

In a stunning on-air admission of his desire to re-regulate radio and infringe on free speech, Obama supporter and New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D) argued recently that the so-called Fairness Doctrine -- which would mandate equal time for opposing viewpoints on radio programming -- would elevate talk radio to a "higher calling." Bingaman lamented that radio without the "Fairness Doctrine" has become less "intelligent."

Radio Equalizer's Brian Maloney has more here. You can hear the audio by clicking the EyeBlast embed at the right.

A transcript appears below the page break, courtesy of NewsBuster and MRC Director of Communications Seton Motley (emphases mine):

JIM VILLANUCCI, KOB radio host: Talk radio listeners are concerned about the Fairness Doctrine. Do you think there will be a push to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine?

Sen. JEFF BINGAMAN (D-N.M.): I don’t know, I certainly hope so. My own view is—

VILLANUCCI: You support it?

BINGAMAN: I do.

VILLANUCCI: You would want this radio station to have to change?

BINGAMAN: I would. I would want this station and all stations to have to present a balanced perspective and different points of view instead of hammering on one side of the political—

VILLANUCCI: In this market for instance you have KKOB. If you want liberal talk you have Air America in this market in this market. You’ve got NPR. If you have satellite radio there’s a lefty talk station and a righty talk station. Do you think there are people who aren’t able to find a viewpoint that is in sync with what they believe.

BINGAMAN: Well, I guess my thought is that radio and media generally should have a higher calling than just to reflect a particular point of view. I think they should use their authority and their broadcast power to present an informed discussion of public issues. KKOB used to live under the Fairness Doctrine—

VILLANUCCI: Yeah, we played music.

BINGAMAN: There was a lot of talk also, at least it seemed to me. And there were a lot of talk stations that seemed to do fine. The airwaves are owned by private companies at this point, there is a license to given to private companies to operate broadcast stations and that’s the way it should be. All I’m saying is for many, many years were operated under a Fairness Doctrine in this country. I think the country was well-served. I think the public discussion was at a higher level and more intelligent in those days that it has become since.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters