Statesman.com | Ken Herman | Mar. 11, 2008
During a speech to the National Religious Broadcasters Convention, President Bush said there’s nothing fair about the so-called “Fairness Doctrine” that once required broadcasters to offer air time for competing ideologies.
The FCC got rid of it about 20 years ago. Now, some Democrats in Congress – long the target of popular conservative radio talk-show hosts – think it’s time to bring it back.
Perish the thought, Bush told the religious broadcasters in the following passage that ends with a veto promise.
“This organization has had many important missions, but none more important than ensuring our airways – America’s airways – stay open to those who preach the ‘Good News.’ The very first amendment to our Constitution includes the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion. Founders believed these unalienable rights were endowed to us by our Creator. They are vital to a healthy democracy, and we must never let anyone take those freedoms away.”
” I mention this because there’s an effort afoot that would jeopardize your right to express your views on public airways. Some members of Congress want to reinstate a regulation that was repealed 20 years ago. It has the Orwellian name called the Fairness Doctrine. Supporters of this regulation say we need to mandate that any discussion of so-called controversial issues on the public airwaves includes equal time for all sides. This means that many programs wanting to stay on the air would have to meet Washington’s definition of balance. Of course, for some in Washington, the only opinions that require balancing are the ones they don’t like.”
“We know who these advocates of so-called balance really have in their sights: shows hosted by people like Rush Limbaugh or James Dobson, or many of you here today. By insisting on so-called balance, they want to silence those they don’t agree with. The truth of the matter is, they know they cannot prevail in the public debate of ideas. They don’t acknowledge that you are the balance … The country should not be afraid of the diversity of opinions. After all, we’re strengthened by diversity of opinions.”
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