Many believe that the Fairness Doctrine was repealed in the 1980s. In fact, it remains on the books, as Federal Communications Commissioner Robert McDowell recently noted. President Ronald Reagan's FCC - and each one since - opted to not enforce the law for constitutional reasons, but the law itself still exists.
Two House Republicans have sent a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski asking him to officially remove the law - and a few related measures - from the Code of Federal Regulations.
Rep. Fred Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Greg Walden, who chairs the panel's Communications and Technology Subcommittee, have given Genachowski until Friday to confirm that the regulations will be removed. Will the FCC Chairman, who has a record of liberal views on contentious communications issues, comply?
CNN's Eliot Spitzer blasted Senate Republicans on Wednesday's Parker-Spitzer for their promise to hold up legislation unless the current tax rates are extended: "Every one of us...[is] being held hostage by 42 Republican senators." Predictably, co-host Kathleen Parker agreed with Spitzer to a point, and snarked, "I got stuck on the image of being held hostage by 42 Republicans- talk about a bad date."
The former Democratic governor of New York led the 8 pm Eastern hour of the program with his rant against the senators. After twice using his "hostage" term, which likens the Republicans to terrorists, Spitzer bewailed how "the day after the Republican leadership meets with the President, and says we want bipartisanship, they send a letter saying, no way, no how. We will do nothing until you give a tax cut to the rich. No START Treaty- something that has been endorsed by...every major Republican foreign policy leader...No unemployment benefits for those who are looking for jobs- can't get it with unemployment at 9, 10 percent." He ended this initial bombast with another cliched label for Republicans: "This is outrageous. This is not the way to govern. The party of no has gotten worse. I think it is a shame, and it is just beyond comprehension."
The news wing of the Media Research Center, CNSNews.com, yesterday reported that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) refused their request for an interview with Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd about his tremendously disturbing First Amendment and communications policy views.
These are views which certainly deserve additional explanation from the man himself. We have analyzed his record at great length, but all of it from the outside looking in. Some direct questions to - and answers from - Mr. Lloyd would be most helpful.
The FCC told CNSNews that it's their policy not to make staffers available to the media. And that is in fact fine; the FCC said its Commissioners are the front line officials and they themselves speak to the media, not those who work for them.
But Congress - and Congressional oversight - is a different story. And Congressman Greg Walden of Oregon agrees. So too does FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. During a September 17 convening of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, Congressman Walden - who is on said Subcommittee - asked Genachowski if Lloyd would be made available for questions (video at right).
In the midst of economic troubles and much anticipation of a new administration about to enter the White House, the potential return of the Fairness Doctrine hasn't gotten much attention. But on the eve of President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration, Republican members of Congress haven't forgotten.
GOP Sens. Jim DeMint, S.C. and James Inhofe, Okla., along with two of their House colleagues, Reps. Mike Pence, Ind. and Greg Walden, Ore., introduced the Broadcaster Freedom Act at a press conference in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 7.
DeMint, who is named on the Senate of version of the bill, the DeMint-Thune Senate bill, S. 34., told a group of reporters that he would fight any effort by the federal government to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine.
Americans interested in free speech got a boost Monday when the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Kevin J. Martin, came out strongly against any reimplementation of the Fairness Doctrine.
As reported by the Associated Press Thursday (emphasis added):
Martin, in a letter written this week to Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., and made public Thursday, said the agency found no compelling reason to revisit its 1987 decision that enforcing the federal rule was not in the public interest.
This letter (PDF available here) quite supported the views concerning this issue being expressed by Congressional Republicans in the past few weeks since this matter took center stage (emphasis added):