The “Fairness Doctrine” and “Islamophobia”
The so-called, and misnamed, “Fairness Doctrine,” is rearing its ugly head again.
The Fairness Doctrine is a throwback to the day when there were three broadcast channels on television. Its intent was to ensure that FCC-regulated TV and radio outlets provided both sides of the story in their news and commentary.
Those of us who remember how the three television networks controlled the flow of news and information recall how “well” the “Fairness Doctrine” worked. It was jettisoned during the Reagan Administration.
Certain members of Congress are clearly interested in reviving the Fairness Doctrine. Given the glut of information one can get today on any issue from virtually any political perspective, it’s hard to see why it’s necessary.
Unless they want to shut down “speech” they don’t like.
In the American Spectator piece below, we draw your attention to one particularly chilling paragraph:
One idea Waxman's committee staff is looking at is a congressionally mandated policy that would require all TV and radio stations to have in place "advisory boards" that would act as watchdogs to ensure "community needs and opinions" are given fair treatment. Reports from those advisory boards would be used for license renewals and summaries would be reviewed at least annually by FCC staff.It doesn’t take much imagination to see how such “advisory boards” would be on the front lines in enforcing political correctness – especially when it comes to the issue of Islam. Done, of course, in the name of providing “fair treatment” – or else lose your broadcast license.
If the Fairness Doctrine were revived, and with it anything that smacks of “advisory boards,” we’d be handing over the power to censor our TV and radio broadcasts to the Islamists who are intent on gagging all speech that dares to criticize Islam.
They already have a UN resolution calling on countries to prohibit “hate speech.” The British government cowers before their threats and deports Dutch MP Geert Wilders. Austrian officials convict an Austrian legislator for “defaming” Islam. Mark Steyn is dragged before the Canadian Human Rights Commission to answer Muslim charges about what he wrote in his book America Alone. And they already have much of the “establishment media” parroting their talking points and readily labeling as an “Islamophobe” anyone who criticizes Islam.
The Fairness Doctrine will be a nail in the coffin of free speech about Islam. It’s time to draw a line in the sand.
DOCTRINE AIR DEMOCRACY
Senior FCC staff working for acting Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps held meetings last week with policy and legislative advisers to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman to discuss ways the committee can create openings for the FCC to put in place a form of the "Fairness Doctrine" without actually calling it such.
Waxman is also interested, say sources, in looking at how the Internet is being used for content and free speech purposes. "It's all about diversity in media," says a House Energy staffer, familiar with the meetings. "Does one radio station or one station group control four of the five most powerful outlets in one community? Do four stations in one region carry Rush Limbaugh, and nothing else during the same time slot? Does one heavily trafficked Internet site present one side of an issue and not link to sites that present alternative views? These are some of the questions the chairman is thinking about right now, and we are going to have an FCC that will finally have the people in place to answer them."
Copps will remain acting chairman of the FCC until President Obama's nominee, Julius Genachowski, is confirmed, and Copps has been told by the White House not create "problems" for the incoming chairman by committing to issues or policy development before the Obama pick arrives.
But Copps has been a supporter of putting in place policies that would allow the federal government to have greater oversight over the content that TV and radio stations broadcast to the public, and both the FCC and Waxman are looking to licensing and renewal of licensing as a means of enforcing "Fairness Doctrine" type policies without actually using the hot-button term "Fairness Doctrine."
One idea Waxman's committee staff is looking at is a congressionally mandated policy that would require all TV and radio stations to have in place "advisory boards" that would act as watchdogs to ensure "community needs and opinions" are given fair treatment. Reports from those advisory boards would be used for license renewals and summaries would be reviewed at least annually by FCC staff.
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