Pence still fighting to prevent Fairness Doctrine re-imposition

posted at 12:55 pm on June 20, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

With the elections taking up most of the oxygen in the punditry, the issue of the Fairness Doctrine has slipped below the radar.  On Wednesday, Laura Ingraham revisited it on her new Fox show, Just In, by inviting Rep. Mike Pence and Jennifer Palmieri of the Center for American Progress to debate it.  CAP wants the old regulatory burden reimposed on broadcasters, an understandable position given the inability of progressive talk radio to compete for listeners in the free market.  Pence wants to keep the government out of the political-speech industry.  Via Newsbusters, Eyeblast has the video, and TV Eyes has the transcript:

LAURA INGRAHAM: let’s get mike pence into this. congressman, i know the broadcast of freedom act is something you are pushing. what is the problem? you cannot get the gop to sign on to stop the fairness doctrine from rearing its ugly head?

REP. MIKE PENCE: we have been going after it because with respect to your guests and the center for american progress, some of the most powerful democrats have been calling for a restoration of this on a bright government regulation of the airwaves of america. — of this out right government regulation of the airwaves of america. as well as democrats who categorically last summer opposed our effort to pass even a one-year moratorium on reimposing the fairness doctrine. we’ve reintroduce the broadcast freedom act one year ago. they have blocked any consideration of that bill. we introduced it petition for birchcrest — broadcast free them. virtually every public and has signed that to give us an upper doan — up or down vote. not one democrat has signed.

INGRAHAM: what? i do not understand. democrats are the party of free speech, the diversity of viewpoints.

JENNIFER PALMIERI: the broadcast that they are protecting our the big national broadcasts. you hear britney spears on every station, not local music.

INGRAHAM: i do not like her but somebody does, obviously.

PALMIERI: it is a small amount of radio station owners.

INGRAHAM: they are all for making money.

REP. PENCE: what you hear in here –

INGRAHAM: i cannot believe that you are turning the page and you cannot compete in talk radio –

PALMIERI: you have got to be funny.

INGRAHAM: go ahead.

REP. PENCE: what you are hearing here, jennifer, i think is a very sincere person, but candidly, her boss and the folks at the center for american progress which are clinton administrative leftovers, dianne feinstein, dick durbin, john kerry are all advocating that washington, dc return to picking winners and losers and deciding what the american people should hear or not here. but if the reagan administration did away with the fairness doctrine in 1987 and talk radio exploded as a result by a factor of 10. the american people love this medium and they love the debate. think tanks in washington and people with power in washington, d.c. should be rejecting any effort to return the so-called fairness doctrine.

INGRAHAM: i’m afraid of the bureaucrat in a windowless office going to come out ok, laura ingraham was on that station so we have to force a leftist on afterwards. we do not want bureaucrats turning into programmers. more speech is better. the liberals can compete. we are out of time. they are going to do well. they’re doing well in other areas. you do not need affirmative action. the center for american progress and congressmen pence.

Ingraham has this right — the Fairness Doctrine would become a sort of affirmative-action program for progressives.  In reality, though, it would sound a death knell for political talk radio and probably for the AM band altogether.  Broadcasters simply will not allow themselves to take the risks of punitive action based on the volume of complaints that would arise if they had to ration their airwaves based on political direction.  The bookkeeping costs alone of noting every minute of Right vs Left programming would be enough to force most broadcasters out of the arena, and the legal costs of fighting every challenge regardless of substance would take out the rest.

Of course, that’s exactly what CAP wants.  They want to keep conservative voices off the air, after having seen how poorly progressive voices fare in the market.  Instead of trying to find better talent on the Left, they just want government to intervene on their behalf instead.

Government regulation fits the progressive model, while freedom fits the conservative model.  No one should be shocked at this, but if Congress and the White House both come under the control of the progressives, then we can expect the Fairness Doctrine to once again reappear — unless Pence can get his Broadcaster Freedom Act passed. Hopefully, this does not get lost in the electio-year shuffle again.


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Tip o’ the day: If we go back to this ridiculously named Fairness Doctrine, buy stock in satellite radio.

Akzed on June 20, 2008 at 1:00 PM

When Feinstein first started making a lot of noise about the Fairness Doctrine, I called her office and asked if it would only apply to radio. Would we, I asked, finally get some balance in TV news coverage? The staff member I spoke to plead ignorance and ended the call as soon as she could.

snaggletoothie on June 20, 2008 at 1:00 PM

Fairness is indignant.

Entelechy on June 20, 2008 at 1:03 PM

This kind of talk inspires me to clean my guns

LimeyGeek on June 20, 2008 at 1:06 PM

If they can get it to cover all stations then the left would be screwed. Free TV gets ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS on one side and Fox on the other. Theres maybe 10 to 1 in Lib to Conserv news papers. And what 3-1 for Right to Left on radio?

But of course this will only cover radio, where the Dems need their crying time.

Rbastid on June 20, 2008 at 1:10 PM

SECOND LOOK AT HAM RADIO!

Seriously, it seems that the lefties have this idea that the United States government is this all powerful, we have the resources to squash you, mentality. The absolutely discount the notion that the States, and more to the point, the people, can at any given time simply refuse to obey. I’ve yet to see a State that has fewer state troopers then Federal Marshals. Marching in the streets is not exclusive territory of the Red Brigade.

Limerick on June 20, 2008 at 1:13 PM

Under the fairness doctrine all you’ll get is lies and shouting matches, and competing 30 second sound bites.

rockhauler on June 20, 2008 at 1:15 PM

What the left doesnt get, is that most people listening to talk radio during the day, are regular working folks. Tradesmen, delivery guys, couriers, over the road truckers, etc. Thats not their constituency, so they shouldnt be shocked that they cant compete in that venue. All the newspapers and major TV stations/networks just arent enough to get their message out I guess. I forget who it was, but some Dem operative was joking that Dems dont do well in talk radio because “we all have good jobs and have go to work!”, intimating that only unemployed homebound trogloditic rightwing kooks listen and support conservative radio.

Lunkinator on June 20, 2008 at 1:15 PM

Ed, whoever you c/p’d the transcript from needs severe lessons in editing. It’s nearly unreadable.

fossten on June 20, 2008 at 1:15 PM

If the Fairness Doctrine is reinstated, I will revolt.

WisCon on June 20, 2008 at 1:16 PM

Limerick
Conservatives have never been much for marching in the streets. It seems to conflict with working for a living.

snaggletoothie on June 20, 2008 at 1:17 PM

On a side note: I am pulling for Laura to do well on TV, but she hasn’t yet gotten comfortable. She needs to let her fun and youthful side show a little more instead of trying to be more attractive O’Reilly. Mix in some cool music instead of the generic news bumps and some of the other aspects that make her (made her) radio show a hit

Anyone agree?

Dirthead on June 20, 2008 at 1:19 PM

I remember the day the “fairness doctrine” was originally knocked down. The liberal and most listened to talk show host during that time was Michael Jackson (not the singer), he was elated, mainly because he and other liberals ruled the radio waves. He, during the coming elections, had about a 6 to 1 liberal vs. conservative, and the conservative was always some lame screaming ultra right wing nut. He was enamored with the Hollywood elite and gave them their first real national political exposure.
The day of the fairness doctrine being disposed he almost wept for joy…now that his friends have lost the ratings race, time to revert back to when the “liberals ruled the waves”.

right2bright on June 20, 2008 at 1:19 PM

….buy stock in satellite radio.

If the Dems. win it all in Nov. they will have to control all avenues of information in order to retain power in 2010.

Fairness Doctrine…on steroids.

They will find a way to include everything this time around,
satellite, tv and the internet.

ChrisM on June 20, 2008 at 1:19 PM

snaggletoothie on June 20, 2008 at 1:17 PM

Pushed hard enough I don’t believe that model will hold up.
We don’t march in the streets now because we have a core belief in law and order. Once the law becomes a yoke to pass under then the order part will fly out the window.

I’m not advocating rebellion, I’m simply saying that over reaching by the lefties could result in consequences. I truly believe in the silent majority. Push hard enough and that silence will snap.

Limerick on June 20, 2008 at 1:23 PM

Anyone agree?

Dirthead on June 20, 2008 at 1:19 PM

Agreed, probably just a little seasoning.

right2bright on June 20, 2008 at 1:23 PM

WRITE, CALL, EMAIL Congress.

There is a link on Pence’s website of names to contact. I believe he only needs 23 more signatures to get this moving through Congress.

THIS IS SOOOO URGENT! I call and/or email 10 Congressmen every day about this.

stenwin77 on June 20, 2008 at 1:33 PM

At least, a “fairness doctrine” is better than the Human Rights Inquisitions in Canada.

On another topic, Senator Feinstein is a big promoter of the “fairness doctrine”. She’s also a big supporter of the silly proposed flag protection amendment. Probably, no connection there.

thuja on June 20, 2008 at 1:35 PM

At least, a “fairness doctrine” is better than the Human Rights Inquisitions in Canada.

All part of the same staircase.

Limerick on June 20, 2008 at 1:36 PM

Government regulation fits the progressive model, while freedom fits the conservative model. No one should be shocked at this, but if Congress and the White House both come under the control of the progressives, then we can expect the Fairness Doctrine to once again reappear — unless Pence can get his Broadcaster Freedom Act passed. Hopefully, this does not get lost in the electio-year shuffle again.

Far be it from me to nickle-dime an otherwise excellent post, but could you please avoid calling these marxist relics “progressive?” Nothing they are for has anything to do with progress.

CurtZHP on June 20, 2008 at 1:36 PM

CurtZHP on June 20, 2008 at 1:36 PM

I wish they’d stop using the term “liberal” also.

Nevertheless, the language is being semantically usurped.

LimeyGeek on June 20, 2008 at 1:45 PM

I can’t even believe the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine is something that “could” happen in this country…it is completely at odds with our basic principles.

WisCon on June 20, 2008 at 1:47 PM

All you have to do to stop this is say that they would also have to include TV.

As just about every MSM TV station is in the tank for Dems, and studys proove it… it would stop the Libs cold.

Romeo13 on June 20, 2008 at 1:47 PM

This kind of talk inspires me to clean my guns

LimeyGeek on June 20, 2008 at 1:06 PM

ditto

bill30097 on June 20, 2008 at 1:48 PM

If the Fairness Doctrine is reinstated, I will revolt.

WisCon on June 20, 2008 at 1:16 PM

We always thought that you were revolting already.

/sorry…

Akzed on June 20, 2008 at 1:52 PM

This kind of talk inspires me to clean my guns

LimeyGeek on June 20, 2008 at 1:06 PM
ditto

bill30097 on June 20, 2008 at 1:48 PM

Another ditto. And don’t forget to stock up on the ammo. And canned goods.

There will be rebellion, but not the physical kind. Too many of us are complacent and rely on others to make our opinions known. Marching in the streets? Maybe, I’m game. But when the phones lines in DC are shut down by the diluge of angry constituents for months on end, somebody might take notice. And it is cliché, but boycotting products advertised on media that are not fair, and letting the manufacturers know you are boycotting, can have an impact (such as the Rachel Ray scarf kerfuffle).

iurockhead on June 20, 2008 at 1:58 PM

From The Hill 6/27/07:

“It’s time to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). “I have this old-fashioned attitude that when Americans hear both sides of the story, they’re in a better position to make a decision.”

…Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said she planned to “look at the legal and constitutional aspects of” reviving the Fairness Doctrine.

“I believe very strongly that the airwaves are public and people use these airwaves for profit,” she said. “But there is a responsibility to see that both sides and not just one side of the big public questions of debate of the day are aired and are aired with some modicum of fairness.”

…Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) told a Los Angeles radio host last week that he had once overheard Clinton and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) on a Capitol elevator complain about the prevalence of “right-wing extremists” on talk radio. He said that Clinton and Boxer discussed their desire for a “legislative fix.”

Clinton and Boxer have denied the conversation ever took place.

But Inhofe believes that Bill and Hillary Clinton and their allies are setting the stage for greater government regulation of conservative talk radio.

“This is the Clinton White House,” said Inhofe. “They are trying to regulate the content of talk radio from the ownership perspective, hoping to circumvent freedom of speech arguments.”

Inhofe cited a recent report by the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank headed by John Podesta, who served as Clinton’s White House chief of staff. A June 20 report by the think tank described a “massive imbalance” on the radio airwaves.

The report suggested several steps to “encourage more responsive and balanced radio programming” and “diversify radio station ownership to better meet local and community needs.”

http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/gop-preps-for-talk-radio-confrontation-2007-06-27.html

Django on June 20, 2008 at 1:58 PM

Worst transcribing evuh!

I’ve always thought that proper spelling, capitalization, and puctuation was over-rated.

rmgraha on June 20, 2008 at 2:03 PM

These people are told from birth “You are entitled to…” and no amount of common sense will snap ‘em out of it.

Tony737 on June 20, 2008 at 2:04 PM

From The Hill 6/27/07:

“It’s time to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). “I have this old-fashioned attitude that when Americans hear both sides of the story, they’re in a better position to make a decision.”

http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/gop-preps-for-talk-radio-confrontation-2007-06-27.html

Django on June 20, 2008 at 1:58 PM

One of the many nasty, vile aspects of the fairness doctrine is this idea that there are “both sides of the story”. It thus denies any fairness to new views that could make a positive change. At bottom, proponents of the fairness doctrine don’t get that there are views that oppose both official views. They are only capable of dealing with public discourse as a cheap melodrama with the sophistication you’d expect from someone wearing a “Bush Lied, People Died” button–that is someone with the wisdom of Dick Durbin.

thuja on June 20, 2008 at 2:08 PM

The ‘Fairness’ Doctrine.

No drilling in ANWR.

Arrest the terrorists after they kill.

Murder babies before they’re born.

Raise taxes.

Just another in a long list of items that make you wonder – What the phuq is wrong with these people?

Tony737 on June 20, 2008 at 2:09 PM

Akzed on June 20, 2008 at 1:52 PM

…well played ;)

WisCon on June 20, 2008 at 2:11 PM

NPR is government funded leftist indoctrination. When are we going to get some government enforced fairness on NPR? Obviously, that’s a rhetorical question. There will never be a balance of views on state radio. The leftist ideologues own it and run it without restrictions. And now the lunatics on the left want to shut down ALL opposition. It’s beyond my comprehension how anyone could not see that the Dems and left are the most fascistic, anti-democratic threat to freedom there is. They barely even try to hide what they’re about.

I can’t even believe the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine is something that “could” happen in this country…it is completely at odds with our basic principles.

WisCon on June 20, 2008 at 1:47 PM

I completely agree. It’s astounding.

Django on June 20, 2008 at 2:11 PM

thuja on June 20, 2008 at 2:08 PM

Yes, the idea that they in any way have the right to pass judgment on and moderate free speech is infuriating. Once you have scum like Durbin regulating and deciding what “sides” of the story are going to be presented and where you might as well tear up The Bill of Rights. I can’t believe we still have to fight for the most basic elements of the Constitution 200+ years after it was adopted as the law of the land.

Django on June 20, 2008 at 2:18 PM

Laura looks even hotter with the hairdo.

Jaibones on June 20, 2008 at 2:24 PM

Instead of trying to find better talent on the Left, they just want government to intervene on their behalf instead.

I’m sorry, Ed, but you always seem to want to soft peddle the actions of the left. They could not give a flying you know what about air america being successful or al franken being successful. They want to keep the truth from the American people by making sure their puppets on cnn, nbc, cbs, abc and npr are the only sources of news and information. They will kill talk radio, no leftist will go on Fox and they will file complaint after complaint until murdoch gives in and goes left or sells. It is all about consolidating their power, censoring conservative thought and communication, and taking over this country for good. if you think al franken having a wildly successful show or there being a liberal equivalent of Rush would change things you are badly mistaken. They want as few sources of information as possible and they want to totally control those sources.

peacenprosperity on June 20, 2008 at 2:36 PM

The Fairness Doctrine will kill free radio.

desertdweller on June 20, 2008 at 3:06 PM

I don’t think they realize what a Pandora’s box they will open if they dare pass this.
I belong to the NRA, but have never purchased a gun, but I’m ready for one and I’ll be ready to march.

Bambi on June 20, 2008 at 3:39 PM

When you don’t have a factual leg to stand on all you can do is shout louder, talk over, or MUZZLE your enemies. This is the way of The Left and they are all bastards for this.

cannonball on June 20, 2008 at 4:06 PM

snaggletoothie on June 20, 2008 at 1:00 PM

Hopefully, we can get it to mean that every anti-Iraq war movie that comes out of Hollyweird will have to be followed by a pro-Iraq war movie. Right?

Kafir on June 20, 2008 at 4:20 PM

There should be NO regulation on talk radio.

We, the right, get our news from the ONLY media source that tells the truth.

madmonkphotog on June 20, 2008 at 4:21 PM

Clearly, the so called “Fairness Doctrine” is a First Amendment infringement, and if enacted, will be forced into the courts. Dianne Feinstein is nothing but a leftist San Francisco ass, that’s way overdue to be voted out of office…Barbara Boxer too!

byteshredder on June 20, 2008 at 5:06 PM

Tip o’ the day: If we go back to this ridiculously named Fairness Doctrine, buy stock in satellite radio.

Akzed on June 20, 2008 at 1:00 PM

Counter tip: satellite radio is not immune from government meddling or even corporate meddling no matter how vulgar it may get.

Kini on June 20, 2008 at 5:06 PM

WE need to stop calling this the “Fairness” doctrine, and call it what it is.
It is the Unfairness Doctrine!

JellyToast on June 20, 2008 at 6:04 PM

Ever notice this little tid-bit that is kept hidden from the discussion?

Whenever a liberal is asked why they listen to talk radio, their stock answer is:

“I want to hear what the other side is saying/thinking”

Apparently, the other resources of “information” are lacking in something.

Wonder what that could be?

Saltysam on June 20, 2008 at 6:09 PM

If they get the AM airwaves, how soon before the “Fairness Doctrine” is applied to the internet?

GarandFan on June 20, 2008 at 6:23 PM

CAP wants the old regulatory burden reimposed on broadcasters, an understandable position given the inability of progressive talk radio to compete for listeners in the free market.

And who controls the MSM now, which would be the first one affected by the doctrine?

I of course totally oppose the doctrine. However, is the use of brain against HA policy now?

freevillage on June 20, 2008 at 6:35 PM

I can’t believe we still have to fight for the most basic elements of the Constitution 200+ years after it was adopted as the law of the land.

Django on June 20, 2008 at 2:18 PM

Biggest flaw in the Constitution?

Lack of accountability in the Court is at the core of it all. Judges should be up for review on a 6 year basis. A separate delegation from each state should be sent by the people of each state. 2/3 majority of the delegation should have the power to remove judge from office. Period.

Saltysam on June 20, 2008 at 8:10 PM

Mike Pence is my congressman. I’m really proud of him.

darwin-t on June 20, 2008 at 9:20 PM

At least, a “fairness doctrine” is better than the Human Rights Inquisitions in Canada.

Speaking of which, how did Mark Steyn’s trial come out?

darwin-t on June 20, 2008 at 10:43 PM

Someone mentioned Michael Jackson earlier. I remember one day I was listening to his show and at the end he announced that it was his last show and that he didn’t agree with what the network was replacing him with. I wondered what was going to be on the following Monday. I tuned in and I heard Rush Limbaugh’s first show as it happened. It was quite refreshing to hear someone who was anti-PC.

Regardless of what people think of Rush, he is the Elvis of talk radio. So I was there for the birth of the boom of talk radio. I hope I don’t see it come to an end.

America is gone folks. We let it happen. I’m glad I didn’t bring any kids into this.

deewhybee on June 20, 2008 at 10:51 PM

Again PC trumps the truth. They cannot shut up America no matter how hard they try. All the Demoncrats will do is make the entire population criminals and their compassion for the oppressed will backfire.

MSGTAS on June 21, 2008 at 10:20 AM