According to a Friday New York Times article by David Kirkpatrick, Barack Obama has reassigned Fairness Doctrine proponent, former FCC Commissioner Henry Rivera, from heading his FCC transition team: “At least one official initially involved in the transition appears to have been reassigned because of concern about his lobbying or legal work. Henry Rivera, a former Democratic commissioner on the Federal Communication Commission who was involved in planning for the agency’s transition, has dropped out of that role because he had represented clients on communications policy in the last year, the newsletter Communications Daily reported Friday.”
Kirkpatrick went on to report on Rivera’s new position in the Obama transition team: “Instead, on the list that was made public on Friday, Mr. Rivera was listed on the team handling science, technology, space and the arts.” Despite the reassignment, it is unclear if Rivera’s influence over a future FCC appointment has diminished. As the Media Research Center’s Seton Motley explained on FNC’s Your World With Neil Cavuto, Obama will have the opportunity to appoint a member to the FCC in 2009, possibly opening the door to a reimplementation of the Fairness Doctrine.
Many members of the Democratic Party, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have stated their desire for a return of the so-called Fairness Doctrine, more rightly called the Censorship Doctrine for it would force conservative talk radio hosts off the air.
But no Congressional action is required to bring back the Fairness Doctrine. All the Obama Administration has to do is make one appointment to the FCC, turning a 3-2 Republican FCC majority into a 3-2 Democratic one, and it can again be reinstated. Republican Robert McDowell's term ends in June 2009.