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  • Morning Bell: Fairness Doctrine 2.0

    After the Democratic Party took control of Congress in 2006, experts predicted the federal government was sure to pass “comprehensive” immigration reform. The new liberal majorities in the House and Senate wanted it, the mainstream media wanted it, a Republican president wanted it, and the eventual nominee of Republican Party helped craft the bill. But then democracy happened. Conservative and independent activists pierced through the establishment’s gooey rhetoric to expose what was at the core of the bill: amnesty for millions of immigrants who violated American laws when entering the country that would end up costing taxpayers at least $2.6 trillion.

    Key to this grassroots victory was talk radio. By informing and motivating their listeners, talk radio hosts generated thousands of calls to Congress, which swamped Capitol Hill switchboards. When the dust settled, the American people won. This was made possible thanks to the principles enshrined in the First Amendment: the freedom of speech, freedom of press, and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    But the establishment was not happy. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) complained that “hate radio” had hijacked political discourse and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) called for a revival of the Fairness Doctrine. Authorized by the Communications Act of 1934 and implemented by the Federal Communications Commission in 1949, the Fairness Doctrine required broadcasters to “afford reasonable opportunity for discussion of contrasting points of view on controversial matters of public importance.” While this may sound reasonable at first, just like “comprehensive” immigration reform does, the language itself is impossibly vague. The Fairness Doctrine became a tool for politicians to harass stations that dared to air opinions they did not like. Even if a challenge against a station ultimately failed, the cost of defending against it could be substantial. So the safe route for most station owners was to stay far away from the policy discussion entirely.

    It took a conservative revolution in Washington before the FCC finally recognized how stifling its “fairness” rule was. In 1987 the FCC found that “the intrusion by government into the content of programming occasioned by the enforcement of [the Fairness Doctrine] restricts the journalistic freedom of broadcasters … [and] actually inhibits the presentation of controversial issues of public importance to the detriment of the public and the degradation of the editorial prerogative of broadcast journalists.”

    But now that they are back in power, liberals are again bent on stifling dissent. They have learned from their past failures, however. Last year former talk show host Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) sponsored legislation forbidding the FCC from reinstating the Fairness Doctrine. It passed 309-115. But the measure was never taken up by the Senate. The FCC still has the same power it did in 1949 to create a new Fairness Doctrine. And that is exactly what the left is already moving to do.

    Last year the Center for American Progress released its blueprint for the re-censorship of America’s airwaves. The report notes that the exact same language that authorized the original Fairness Doctrine has never been repealed: “Thus, the public obligations inherent in the Fairness Doctrine are still in existence and operative, at least on paper. … The Fairness Doctrine was most effective as part of a regulatory structure that limited license terms to three years, subjected broadcasters to license challenges through comparative hearings … and empowered local community through a process of interviewing a variety of local leaders.” These are exactly policy prescriptions the Center for American Progress wants the FCC to adopt today: shortening radio broadcast licenses from eight to three years; requiring broadcasters to prove to bureaucrats they are operating “on behalf of the public interest”; and forcing broadcasters who fail to satisfy the bureaucrats to fund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

    The left will not call this new policy the Fairness Doctrine. They know they lost that fight. Instead, liberals are using new buzzwords like “localism“to mask their attacks on free speech. But make no mistake, the “public interest” requirements of Fairness Doctrine 2.0 can be defined almost any way a regulator wants — up to and perhaps even beyond that required by the old Fairness Doctrine. Conservatives must keep a close eye on what the FCC does next.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    39 Responses to Morning Bell: Fairness Doctrine 2.0

    1. cheryl ny says:

      Who do we contact to express our opinion about the “fairness doctrine”?

      What happened to our elected representatives protecting and defending the Constitution? Are they so cowardly that they need to eliminate freedom of speech to achieve and maintain their power? Wasn’t this tried by communist countries in the past? The way I see it, if you don’t want to listen to this type of show, the freedom of choice is yours—turn the channel.

      Can we get a list that contains emails for each member of Congress as well as the president in 2009 so we can inundate them with our thoughts on this matter?

    2. Joe Moon, Bemidji MN says:

      There was no hate involved by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, merely the desire to preserve the sanctity of marraige.

      The only hate crimes that have been committed are by the opposition. But when certain groups vandalize, threaten, and insult, it is called outrage not hate. "Outrage",because they didn't get there way. My 2 year old grandchild, expresses "outrage" from time to time, but thankfully the parents are teaching her that is no acceptable behavior. Not in a 2 year old, or anyone who wants to be respected and treated as an adult.

      We in the church are taught better, only love was the motivating factor in the way we voted.

    3. Norma Rowley, Pittsb says:

      Why is it that conservative talk shows are successful, and liberal talk shows fail miserably? I believe it's because conservatives are interested in the truth and the facts regarding issues, while liberals are all about "feelings" and pie-in-the-sky ideas. If you listen to a liberal talk show you hear unsubstantiated accusations, socialist ideas, and praise for people like Castro and Hugo Chavez.

      The liberal talk show hosts and those who call in to those shows don't even realize that the policies and ideas that they think are so wonderful are straight from the lips of Karl Marx ! They don't believe in individual responsibility, and they don't believe that a person is entitled to reap the benefits of their own hard work. Socialism was tried right here in our country by the Pilgrims — and it didn't work! With their socialist approach, some people worked hard and others didn't work at all because in the end everybody "shared" in the harvest. As soon as the Pilgrims abandoned that idea and let everyone keep the fruits of his labor, their colony flourished and prospered.

      Remember that old saying, "Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

    4. Dave says:

      Unless we can clean out the so called moderates from the Republican party, we will never have a chance to stop any of this left wing bombardment.

      Compromise is not an option it's a surrender.

    5. Dale Fraser Triangl says:

      I cannot believe in this country, it could be wrong for a Church to speak out against something it believes is wrong. Where is our freedom of expression going? Down the tubes?

    6. Darrel Baird, Kent says:

      The second parigraph of THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE says it all !

      We are born with rights that only a Government ,with laws,can hinder.56 passionate men drafted a document that said governing was a privilige,not a right,granted by those with natural rights,not priviliges.The Democrats have it backwards,they have always had it backwards,and will ALWAYS have it backwards.

      Think about this.Most of the Democratic elite have never worked a day in their life! They went to school,became lawyers(using federal funds),and pleged to re-distribute the wealth.I don't think that they have a clue as to what makes a peraon productive.

    7. Ed says:

      I hope all of you that voted this left-wing Legislative and Executive branches of government in will be happy. The Judicial branch is next. Thanks alot.

    8. Paul Hamden CT. says:

      Unfortunately this attack on the freedom of speech is all about the further quest for power by the Democract Liberal faction.If someone does not like what they are listening to they always have the option to turn it off or change the channel.Liberal talk radio was tryed over and over and it failed because of a lack of audience and advertising dollars.This attack is a direct assault on our Consitution and Bill of Rights and should be treated as such.

    9. Mark,Houston says:

      Hey CHERYL in NY , The point of all this is that we the people will no longer have a choice . Nancy( traitor) Pelosi doesn't believe in freedome of ANY kind unless she approves of it . The ONLY way true freedome will have any kind of chance is for americans to take an extremeley AGGRESIVE stand on OUR beliefes and what WE hold dear to us NOT WHAT WASHINGTON TELLS US TO BELIEVE IN .

    10. Ed, Leesburg, VA says:

      I hope all of your left-leaning family and friends out there are happy now. The Legislative and Executive branches are aligned and the Judicial is next. It's payback time.

    11. mike hutchings texas says:

      how many people know what our basic freedoms are?there are five. freedom of press of speech of assembly of religion and the right to be armed. i believe that failure to teach them all stems from the politics of our schools and main media.every tyrant seeks to make the world a safe to operate in and to contest one right puts all others in play and allows distortion of intent and meaning.these are very simple concepts and took centuries for the fertile ground of the colonies and generations of people not born to be serfs or servants to bring about. from the first day of the founding they have been under attack.people are born free and shaped by the conditions they find. we take the world as we find it. we are free to fight or lay down arms.we can our selves be slaves and pass to others that condition or we can teach as free people by the lives we lead and what we will stand for and aganst.liberalism has been distorted from roots that freed people from servile conditions and recognized that each of us must be ready to lead as well as follow for the good of those we love. god country and family. i have often wondered about the placement of the words and the importance of one over the other.like the five freedoms to deny one is to put the others in doubt in your own mind at least. the power of socialism seeks to be defined as all. our goverment is drifting aganst public current seeking to change the composition of the blue collar class by the importation of people who are not free and have little experience of it.building a dependent political base out side the mainstream of langauge and culture and define opinion opposing such creation as racist. racism has been thrown about so much i question the intent of those who use it as a tool to shut down speech and curtail the rights of others who are not regarded as disadvantaged. the hardest thing in the world is to suffer a fool but that is what it comes down too. that and not being one yourself are two difficult tasks we are charged with.i hope to never be so manipulated as to be a led by one again but there is always that possibility.the fairness doctrine will only work if you have censors to decide what is what. what you end up with is a debate with a be it resolved this is left and this is right and let us stay on topic shall we consticting freedom of thought.the facists have thought this through and seek to constuct a world of them and us or as i believe better described as a disorder that does not seek union but feeds on chaos to maintain its self.we must all be made less for this to be so.the generations have turned over and the marchers from the streets who moved into the administration building and set up shop are now the establishment. what an irony that they do not respect the freedoms they used in thier assendancy and embrace the dissent of others.conservatism is now the counter wave and there is always a blood price for freedom and people willing to pay it.

    12. Ed, California says:

      And what will they do to the one who has been illegally claiming homestead exemption? Give him a medal? Sick!

    13. David J, Florida says:

      It began in our schools. We allowed the Liberals to take over our youth. Now nobody gets educated – just indoctrinated. We all just stood by and watched it happen. Now, the brainwashed dolts are voting Marxism into law. Fix the schools or LOSE YOUR NATION. Looks like we just lost our nation. Putin has been waiting for years for this. Now it is his turn.

    14. Pingback: Morning Bell: Fairness Doctrine 2.0 » The Foundry

    15. ashley says:

      We had all better get used to such tricks as this. Put your congressman's name and number/address/e mail on your fridge. Use them daily. The American citizens still run this country and should not be denied.

    16. Pingback: Morning Bell: Fairness Doctrine 2.0 » The Foundry

    17. Justin, Pittsburgh, says:

      It is no surprise to see this article and hear new liberal "buzzwords" on this issue. I thoroughly enjoy arguing this issue with liberal friends because they continue to contradict themselves. They claim I get all my information from talk radio (Laura Ingraham) and that I am biased. They get all their info from MoveOn.org and Olbie. And they claim I am biased!

      The reason conservative talk radio is such a success is because of capitalism: they give the people what they want, and the people take it. Scare-America was a failure because no one wants to hear Stewart Smallie and his obnoxious cackle-laugh. Simple and smart economics. I happily pay my $5.95 a month to subscribe to Laura's 365 membership (and I would the others but I don't have time to listen to all of them).

      Question: will Talk Radio get a bail-out after it fails under the Fairness Doctrine 2.0?

    18. Susan Drollinger M says:

      The sad truth is Liberlism uses lies, deceit, threats and any other means to mow over freedom. There is an interesting book some of you should search for, it is hard to come by: Fabian Freeway by Rose L Martin. Ms Martin outlines the tactics used by Socialist in Britian, USSR and now in the USA. They take over education, the Media, Government etc. They do this all in the background as lobbyists, and all in the interest of enlightment. This precious woman names names, organizations, etc. that are responsible for the demise in this country. Get your copy and prepare to get furious! Then let's take our country back, starting with the defeat of the fairness doctrine.

      Treason is Treason and if a Socialist isn't a traitor who is?

    19. KELLI2L says:

      "for not providing a person criticized on the air an opportunity to reply."

      The statement above (from article) sounds like a good thing – what's wrong with having opposing possitions and not just one side of an issue?

    20. KELLI2L says:

      "requiring broadcasters to prove to bureaucrats they are operating “on behalf of the public interest”.

      The above comment in this article means the Liberal broadcasters are already guilty of NOT operating on behalf of the public interest – since what they said on their shows was prejudicial and in bad taste toward the Conservative candidates !!!! They have behaved horribly and need to be taken off the air, in my opinion.

      In fact, the only fair news on TV during the whole election process was FOX News…..No wonder they are the most popular !!!!

    21. Barb -mn says:

      No, Nancy Pelosi, it isn't "hate radio." There is no truth in the government. We, as human beings deserve the truth. We are sick of being lied to on a daily basis. And worse then that, we are sick of being taken advantage of by people who commit crimes to get in or while they're here, while you hold us accountable to their expenses: criminal and civil. While you smile as you distort the constitution and every American principle. No Nancy Pelosi, it is disgusting to deal with such an incompetent group of people that are suppose to be protecting those they serve. And while you and others took on that job, you're getting paid to do the opposite. Thank God you don't work in the free market, you would be a definite waste and liability.

    22. KELLI2L says:

      David J, Florida writes:

      It began in our schools. We allowed the Liberals to take over our youth. Now nobody gets educated – just indoctrinated. We all just stood by and watched it happen. Now, the brainwashed dolts are voting Marxism into law. Fix the schools or LOSE YOUR NATION. Looks like we just lost our nation. Putin has been waiting for years for this. Now it is his turn.

      *** The above commenter is absolutely correct. Our schools have been inundated (for many years) with Liberal professors and teachers; look how they have endoctrinated our young children regarding the Obama-craze. . . But this should have been corrected while Bush was president, because there will be no change for the better now, with all the Liberal control in government…..Conservative fought the wrong battle for the last four years.

      And as far as the illegal immigrant situation – 70% of the U.S. citizens don't want amnesty for them (it's being shoved down their throats by the Liberals), but had the Conservatives cared enough, they should have pressed this issue years ago, to make sure it didn't happen. . . .

    23. W Howard Baker, Bard says:

      Last summer, when we stopped the immigration bill that JOHN MCCAIN tried to sneak through the Senate and which cost him in the election, we made the Senate furious. Trent Lott (R,LA) actually retired because he said that he wouldn't be INTIMIDATED. These people are supposed to be our representatives. They are supposed to work for us not the other way around. I guess our only option is to go from one mode of communication to another and try and stay ahead of them. We will probably communicate in the end by pamphlet like Thomas Paine and then his civilian corps will be brought in to destroy the presses and exterminate our Thomas Paine.

      ON THE MORMONS — I don't understand it. We welcome the most vicious, barbaric, and antiquated ideology in the world, Islam, into our country with open arms while we attack a religion that has been part of our country for over 2 centuries. It might have something to do with the fact that the Mormons or the Church of Latter Day Saints are part of the Judeo-Christian civilization and Islam isn't.

    24. KELLI2L says:

      "ashley writes:

      We had all better get used to such tricks as this. Put your congressman’s name and number/address/e mail on your fridge. Use them daily. The American citizens still run this country and should not be denied."

      May I address the above commenter: I would like to think the citizens still run this country – however all I have to do is recall the injustices in our elections – and recall the recent Stock Market Bailout – the citizens didn't want it but no matter how many complaints came in – they passed it anyway. I'm afraid we no longer have the power we should have…….

      We need to find a way to get that power back….

    25. James Wolbert, Garf says:

      We as a people have the right under the constitution for free speech. That is not censorship or the requirement to provide the other side when that other side doesnt meet the market place system of profit or loss. We can fight by organizing and forming groups which hold more political power. We can fight by contacting newspapers and develop rallies. This can not stand.I know I for one will be vocal and consistent in my view.

    26. Pingback: Good headlines you won’t see in the news… « Coup d’etat by Monkey Wrench

    27. Karen Porter Texas says:

      The so called Fairness Doctrine is anything but fair. Since the avalanche of phone calls and email to the congress about "comprehensive immigration reform" from THE PEOPLE the liberals got the nose's rub in conservationism and they have been after the talk hosts ever since. We have to stay on point and do let them the push though another "localism doctrine" bill. Fight! Fight!

      Fight! Free speech is all we want and all we know that the constitution has our a backs!

    28. john buck pt.pleasan says:

      asa former union organizer for n.y.c,n.j.del.,let me let you in on a secret.with the help of the f.b.i. the laborers union is allowing even recruiting millions of illegal immigrants in the construction industry efectively replacing american workers.whoose ssn# are they using?why isn't e-verify being used?why are thousands of indivdual locals being merged into a few super-locals?this is my opinion.i say look into the books of local 1030 north bergen n.j which is staffed in my opinion by 75%illegals.i have contacted the f.b.i,d.h.s,congressman-no answers.i understand corruption is the fbi's job but isn't it corrupt to let this go on?superlocals=no dissent.for the sake of all american workers let's get e-verify approved.

    29. Tim Shank, Phila PA says:

      Maybe now is the time to get Steve Forbes, Flush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to part with some of their wealth instead of constantly bombarding the common man for funding to advance the conservative cause that appears to profit them more than it will ever profit or benifit the true patriotic americans the heritage foundation is so proud to proclaim to represent. Please have Mrrs. Forbes, Limbaugh and Hannity to publish their financial records to prove to americans that they do not do this for self gratification but rather to protect american freedoms and values.

    30. Susan Drollinger M says:

      Reference to Mr. Shank's comment:

      It is Rush Limbaugh and not flush, I won't lower myself to your standard and refer to your first name in reference to a toliet, though as far as I am concerned, socialistic dogma is worse than anything that goes into a toliet. The bottom line is, Go Rush, Go Sean, Go Laura and anyone else that has the guts to speak the truth and speak for the rest of us that haven't been brainwashed and choose to think for ourselves. This political correctness and wealth envy is nothing more than a means of controlling the masses. Perhaps you would be better served to research "real history" and find that socialism/communism/liberalism is a failed experiment(lie) and that the selfish ones on top are the only ones to profit at the expense of others. By the way, we know who wins in the end (read Revelation), there is just time in between that will probably be pretty bad for those of faith, but we won't be alone.

    31. Patty, Cincinnati, O says:

      Yes ~ who do we contact to express our opinion about the "fairness" doctrine and any other similar legislation? I keep hearing what the liberals are going to do ~ someone needs to tell the conservatives what we can do to support our views!!! We need somewhere we can connect that will give us the "how to" on preventing the aforementioned, future voting theft, etc. Seriously, we need to STOP being the "do nothing" party and unite!!! "Get busy living or get busy dieing." Which is it for the conservative party?

    32. Brent Chandler, Moyn says:

      If the First Amendment doesn't work, the 2nd one will.

    33. Edmund James, Lake S says:

      Thank goodness for the Heritage Foundation and American Talk Radio. The radio programs are live, and hosted by people with conservative values. Since 9/11 I decided to join the Canadian Conservative Party. And what would I do without Mark, Bob, Bill, Sean, Laura and Rush? In Canada, I am relegated to mostly the pablum of the left and special interest groups, and NPR or CBC Radio One. When Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Brian Mulroney were in power I felt secure and things were going reasonably well. Then came the Democrat foolishness again. Bill Clinton was a travesty like Jimmy Carter when it came to the global threats. Now the world suffers from Fanny Mae & Freddie Mac, lax lending, far too creative a credit market, poor regulations, mainly instigated by the same former presidents. In order to continue this folly they wish to change the radio programs. This must not happen!

    34. Adrian del Rio says:

      Everyone's concerns and frustrations are right on, but this is what a Thugocracy, Socialism, and Communisms are about. Their first priority is to take over all forms of communication especially talk radio just like Hugo did in Venenzuela, second they go after groups that protect conservative values, and lastly they go after our schools to inject liberalist idealogy into our impressionable youth. We have to fight the Left and continue to call in because the people that voted for this new Socialism don't have a clue that this is going on because they were told by the "drive bys" that they are supposed to vote a certain way.

    35. Keith, Jamesburg NJ says:

      It is truly amazing that in this day and age that the Democratic party has become so far left.I mean bordering on communism in wanting to re-enact the Fairness Doctrine. In case these leftist have forgotten, this country was founded upon such things as FREEDOM (does this ring a bell lefties?), FREEDOM of speech ect, and to silence opposition they intend to bring back the fairness doctrine? My opinion is if you don`t like what you hear, turn to another station! They tried Air America and NOBODY was listening! I wonder why? This nation in my opinion may not be too far from another civil war, and if this occurs it will tear this nation apart.

    36. dick park, houston, says:

      Illegal homestead ? Things like this are fuel for the term limits fire.

      We don't need career Congressmen.

      Elected officials, at all levels, should not be entitled to pensions.

      The Federal Workforce should be in the Social Security System. This so called

      Representative in Congress is a leech,

      sucking at the public teat for all it's worth. He's disgusting.

    37. Pingback: Underheight.com » Blog Archive » Free Speech Roundup

    38. john buck pt.pleasan says:

      To Patty Cincinnatti Ohio,try ALIPAC.com Not a conservitive outlook just an American one.

    39. Pingback: Responding to David Brooks | thelobbyist

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