Legislation currently is before Congress that would reinstate a federal communications policy known as the "fairness doctrine." The legislation, entitled the "Fairness in Broadcasting Act of 1993," is sponsored in the Senate (S. 333) by Ernest Hollings, the South Carolina Democrat, and in the House (H.R. 1985) by Bill Hefner, the North Carolina Democrat.
It would codify a 1949 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulation that once required broadcasters to "afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views of public importance."
The fairness doctrine was overturned by the FCC in 1987. The FCC discarded the rule because, contrary to its purpose, it failed to encourage the discussion of more controversial issues. There were also concerns that it was in violation of First Amendment free speech principles. The legislation now before Congress would enshrine the fairness doctrine into law.
What does it mean to you and I?
It means that the FCC would determine what is “fair” & “balanced”. This means in their opinion they would review your broadcast show and determine if it was fair. If they deemed it not to be fair, they would revoke your broadcasting license. "Fairness" or "fair access" is best determined by FCC authorities???? FCC bureaucrats can neither determine what is "fair" nor enforce it.
Thus, the result of the fairness doctrine in many cases would be to stifle the growth of disseminating views and, in effect, make free speech less free. This is exactly what led the FCC to repeal the rule in 1987. FCC officials found that the doctrine "had the net effect of reducing, rather than enhancing, the discussion of controversial issues of public importance," and therefore was in violation of constitutional principles.
You have to ask why is attention only going to radio broadcasters? Why isn’t it going to one sided business loosing newspapers as well? Think about it!
You think radio broadcasts are the only thing that will be shutdown? Guess again. Every military blog or (one sided view from the front) will be assessed…ok, shut down. Almost all milbloggers are already facing tough manipulation through the DOD let alone the FCC weighing in on the fact. I’m sure all the moonbats out there would differ but have they served in the military? Have they done a blog while they were in the military? No, they haven’t. Why do so many milblogs have alternate names instead of the actual authors name? Think about it.
The last time I checked the Constitution said “We the People……….”
If the fairness standard is reinstituted, the result will not be easier access for controversial views. It will instead be self-censorship, as stations seek to avoid requirements that they broadcast specific opposing views. With the wide diversity of views available today in the expanding broadcast system, there is a simple solution for any family seeking an alternative viewpoint or for any lawmaker irritated by a pugnacious talk-show host. Turn the dial.
Some points/facts taken from the Heritage Foundation
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An example letter to your congressman: (feel free to use at will)
17 February 2009
Congressman XXXXXX XXXXXXXX
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Currently there is legislation before Congress that would reinstate a federal communications policy known as the "fairness doctrine.” The doctrine's supporters seem not to appreciate just how much the broadcast world has changed since 1949. With the proliferation of informational resources and technology, the number of broadcast outlets available to the public has increased steadily. In such an environment, it is hard to understand why the federal government must police the airwaves to ensure that differing views are heard. The result of a reinstituted fairness doctrine would not be fair at all. In practice, much controversial speech heard today would be stifled as the threat of random investigations and warnings discouraged broadcasters from airing what FCC bureaucrats might refer to as "unbalanced" views.
The fallacy upon which the doctrine rests concerns the idea of "fairness" itself. As defined by proponents of the doctrine, "fairness" apparently means that each broadcaster must offer air time to anyone with a controversial view. Since it is impossible for every station to be monitored constantly, FCC regulators would arbitrarily determine what "fair access" is, and who is entitled to it, through selective enforcement. This, of course, puts immense power into the hands of federal regulators.
I do not feel the freedom of our country should include the restriction of what I can or cannot listen to. Additionally, I especially do not need a specific organization restricting the very freedom nor the freedom of speech.
While I fully expect you to support this legislation, I ask you not to climb onto this particular bandwagon.
XXXX X XXXX