dumb media-people

South Carolina

In 1969, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to enforce the Fairness Doctrine.

Reagan appointed FCC Chairman, Mark Fowler, abolished the Fairness Doctrine in 1987. Congress tried to protect the Fairness Doctrine before Fowler's abolishment but it was vetoed by Ronald Reagan. Congress tried to re-instate it in 1991. Bush I threatened to veto it.

In 2000, the Personal Attack rule and the Political Editorial rule were abolished by the FCC - again - under Republican administration.

Two attempts were made re-instate the Fairness Doctrine in 2005, when Republicans held control. In both cases, under Republican Majority control, it was referred to committee and died.

Starting in 2008, several Democratic Senators and U.S. Representatives
have encouraged the FCC to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine - to no avail.

Former President Bill Clinton has stated support for the reinstatement.
In 2009 an interview during Februray, he stated, "Well, you either ought to have the Fairness Doctrine or we ought to have more balance on the other side, because essentially there's always been a lot of big money to support the right wing talk shows."

In "Broadcasting and Cable," in 2009, Bill Clinton cited, "...blatant drumbeat" against the stimulus program from conservative talk radio, saying it doesn't reflect economic reality.

Why hasn't the FCC reinstated the Fairness Doctrine under the Obama administration? The FCC abolished it and can reinstate it. The current Chairman, Julius Genachowski has a background that gives him insight to why this is necessary. Congressman Clyburn's daughter is a FCC commissioner. Certainly they together know the damage that's being done by the big money interests heavily funding the apparatus to spread the big-money lies ... with no effective response.

An effective, representative Democracy cannot be sustained with a public intentionally kept ignorant. That's what's happened since the big money interests have dominated the media with no requirement to present a balanced view.

Perhaps one problem can be seen in the Democratic leadership. In late 2008, now Senate Majority whip, Democrat Dick Durbin, said he felt this is all blown out of proportion.

President Obama, then a Senator, in June, 2008, said, through his press secretary, that he, "Does not support reimposing the Fairness Doctrine on broadcasters ... he considers the debate to be a distraction from the conversation we should be having about opening the airwaves to as many diverse viewpoints as possible ..."

The AP has reported that as President, President Obama had no intention of reimposing the doctrine.

The current House bill, HR 226, Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2009, was written to block reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine. The U.S. Senate added blocking the Fairness Doctrine as an amendment to The District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009, by a vote of 87-11. It is on permanent hold because of other issues.

The AP stated the House bill 226 was, "... In part a response to conservative radio talk show hosts who feared Democrats would try to revive the policy to ensure liberal opinions got equal time..."

The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Times have opposed the Doctrine's revival. They contended Democrats only wanted it back because of the success of conservative talk radio.

Bush II FCC commissioners, raised the straw man distraction of stating that the Fairness Doctrine could be extended to the Internet and Cable. Gosh, guess it didn't occur to them to write legislation exempting Internet bloggers.

It should be extended to cable. The mistake President Obama made as a senator was to think that because diverse sources existed Americans would seek out opposing points to view to make themselves well-informed. How many Americans couldn't name the current Vice-President?

The reality is that in political commentary, the attack and counter-attack must be presented side-by-side or only one side ever gets heard - as we see with Murdoch's endless stream of paid liars.

If the Fairness Doctrine was not a concern to the big-money conservatives that their propaganda and lies would be exposed, they wouldn't be attacking it's reinstatement.

The Fairness Doctrine served the U.S. well from 1949 through 1987. Again, a representative democracy cannot work if only lies, untruths and the propaganda of the ultra-wealthy is the only information filling voters' heads.


"The Fairness Doctrine had two basic elements: It required broadcasters to devote some of their airtime to discussing controversial matters of public interest, and to air contrasting views regarding those matters. Stations were given wide latitude as to how to provide contrasting views: It could be done through news segments, public affairs shows, or editorials. The doctrine did not require equal time for opposing views but required that contrasting viewpoints be presented."

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