Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Support the Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2009 !!

For years, the American airwaves were governed by the "Fairness Doctrine, which required that broadcasters give equal time to opposing viewpoints . This actually had the effect of limiting the range of viewpoints expressed. Under President Ronald Reagan, the "Fairness Doctrine was repealed. A wide range of frequently conservative opinion that had been a rarity in the years of the Fairness Doctrine proliferated in the years after repeal.

Liberal Democrats have long been frustrated with the potent lobbying power of talk radio. Talk show hosts can channel and project a grass roots consensus that has a powerful pull on representatives in government.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has expressed her support for a return of the Fairness Doctrine as has has Senator Diane Feinstein. There are many legislators who would like to the Fairness doctrine back. In the aftermath of the Democratic victories in the November elections this stifling legislation stands a better chance.

Sounding the alarm and fighting against free speech restrictions is necessary. Now it is possible to do something more. The Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2009 would put a legislative ban on the return of the Fairness Doctrine. The bill was introduced to the House of representatives by Representative Mike Pence and to the Senate by Senator Jim DeMint.

Introduced into the House of Representatives as H.R. 226 and into the Senate as s 62 reads as follows.


To prevent the Federal Communications Commission from repromulgating the fairness doctrine.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the `Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2009'.


    Title III of the Communications Act of 1934 is amended by inserting after section 303 (47 U.S.C. 303) the following new section:


`Notwithstanding section 303 or any other provision of this Act or any other Act authorizing the Commission to prescribe rules, regulations, policies, doctrines, standards, or other requirements, the Commission shall not have the authority to prescribe any rule, regulation, policy, doctrine, standard, or other requirement that has the purpose or effect of reinstating or repromulgating (in whole or in part) the requirement that broadcasters present opposing viewpoints on controversial issues of public importance, commonly referred to as the `Fairness Doctrine', as repealed in General Fairness Doctrine Obligations of Broadcast Licensees, 50 Fed. Reg. 35418 (1985).'.

Democrats have criticised this bill as a "distraction". For most Americans, free speech is a core value of our nation. To trivialise it as a "distraction" is indicative of a totalitarian mindset There is well founded fear that this freedom may be curtailed. The Democrats say that there is no plan to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine. This translates into plain English as "Trust me."

Laws are made when trust does not suffice. If the Democrats have no plans to bring back the "Fairness Doctrine" then passing a law banning it should be no problem. Our Senators and Representatives have plenty of junket trips. They have long vacations and private recreational facilities. I do not believe that they are suddenly worried about "wasting time".

The Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2009 is a chance to address a concrete the public's concern about our First Amendment free speech rights. The public should contact Senators and Representatives to show support for this wise bill. It should be passed as quickly as possible. Sphere: Related Content


Anonymous said...

Shouldn't the opposing view get freedom of speech too? Newspapers have letters to the editor, why not speeches to the broadcasters? It seems like it is totalitarian when opposing views are not given a chance to air-look at communist countries. If one agrees with the broadcaster, then everything is fine with the listener, but what if one doesn't agree? True, someone can call up to talk with the broadcaster on the air, but the broadcaster can cut the person off or make sarcastic remarks about their opinion.

Magdeburger Joe said...

Everyone has an opportunity to broadcast or print their opinions. Only the public can decide who gets a mass following and who must be subsidised with periodic fund drives. The argument in favour of mandating the presentation of opposing opinions can be carried to an absurd extent.
What if houses of worship had to extend equal time to theological opponents.
Liberal talk radio has not yet taken off. This might be amarketing problem. It should NOT be "corrected" with legislation.

Anonymous said...

In response to Anonymous (05 Feb '09), both sides already have freedom of speech! TV is dominated by liberal opinion, newspapers lean to the left, and conservatives have been most successful on radio. True, radio broadcasters can control opposing comments, but so do TV and newspapers. Not all letters to editors are published, and not a lot of conservative opinions are given TV airtime. Forced "fairness" failed in the past. Stations chose to air non-controversial shows rather than risk lawsuits or difficult paperwork requirements. And how could they positively comply anyway? Who is to say what is fair in airing both sides of an opinion? There are often many facets to an opinion. And do you need to air equal hours, arguments, words or what? For how many of those facets? And who is going to police it? It just makes no sense.