FCC Kills Fairness Doctrine

Copyright © 2011 Vanguard of Freedom

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski today announced the elimination of 83 outdated and obsolete media-related rules, including Fairness Doctrine regulations.

“Today’s action is part of the FCC’s reform agenda, which includes retrospective review of rules, elimination of rules that are no longer needed, and revision of rules to reflect changes in technology, thereby clearing the path for greater competition, investment and job creation,” an FCC statement said today.

The Fairness Doctrine has been replete with controversy, with some advocating for its continuance, Conservatives say, in order to stifle independent thought and to control talk radio and internet journalism.  SEE VIDEO

Under the fairness doctrine, both sides of every issue would need to be aired, and under the current talk radio formats, it would not be feasible commercially to operate in that manner, in effect ending free speech on national radio air waves.

A similar problem would occur on internet radio, mainly due to time constraints.

Chief proponents of the termination of the Fairness Doctrine were Conservative talk show personalities, like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, among others.

But the same effect on the opposite side of the argument would occur for Liberal talk radio shows, which have had less success on the talk radio circuit.

“The elimination of the obsolete Fairness Doctrine regulations will remove an unnecessary distraction. As I have said, striking this from our books ensures there can be no mistake that what has long been a dead letter remains dead. The Fairness Doctrine holds the potential to chill free speech and the free flow of ideas and was properly abandoned over two decades ago. I am pleased we are removing these and other obsolete rules from our books,” said Genachowski.

“Our work is not done. I have directed each bureau at the FCC to conduct a review of rules within their areas with the goal of eliminating or revising rules that are outdated or place needless burdens on businesses. We are also in the process of developing a retrospective review plan, pursuant to the recent Executive Order. We will continue on this regulatory reform track thoughtfully and diligently conducting our reviews of existing rules and taking other important steps to meet our statutory obligation and mission in a way that grows our economy, creates jobs and benefits all Americans,” Genachowski stated.

The Fairness Doctrine is not currently enforced by the FCC and has not been applied for more than 20 years. In addition, the FCC also announced the deletion of obsolete “broadcast flag,” cable programming service tier rate, and broadcast applications and proceedings rules. The elimination of these rules adds to the over 50 outdated regulations that have already been deleted as part of Chairman Genachowski’s regulatory review process. The FCC has also reduced Commission backlogs, including an 89% reduction in satellite licensing applications and a 30% reduction in broadcast licensing applications. The FCC is currently in the process of moving to eliminate 25 sets of data collections from industry that are no longer necessary.

  • Connie

    For some reason, I don’t think I believe this. There’s a catch in there somewhere. I’m gonna stand by and see what it is.

    • JC Patriot

      I’m with you, Connie. There seems to be some sheep’s clothing here, so where is the false prophet?
      It’s funny how this administration’s hope and change has created nothing but suspicion and despair.

      • Connie

        I believe that if the Left does anything that seems to benefit Conservatives, there has to be a trap in there somewhere. I can’t find it yet, but I’m totally convinced that it’s there.
        We are going to have to do everything we can to get Obama out of our Whitehouse and the rest of these yoyos out of our houses of Congress.

    • frank southwood

      Ditto: They’ve found a loophole someplace. They aren’t about to let-go of stiffling concervative broadcasting after attacking it for so long.

      • Connie

        You’re right Frank. A leopard can’t change it’s spots and a jackass can’t stop braying. I do smell something rotten here.

    • Lamarre

      I share your concerns Connie… I smell a rat, but I hope it’s just bad sinuses! ;) I haven’t asked what the “executive order” is all about…. we’ll see!

  • Lawrence Bates

    Could it be that the directors of some agencies can see the writing on the wall and are abandoning the USS Obama?

    • George Houchens

      Maybe this FCC order is similar to the recent announcement on immigration enforcement … Obama trying to buy votes.

  • Ruth Ann Wilson

    Mr. Bates,
    I hope you are right. BUT………

    For God & Country

  • Richard

    I too smell a rat. The Left knows that its propagana doesn’t sell well on talk radio, and they know that the Fairness Doctrine would be an effective tool to eliminate conservative talk radio. The Fairness doctrine would force talk radio broadcasters to subsidize (i.e. lose money) on 1/2 of their broadcast day, or else switch to a different format. The AM band has seen a rebirth thanks to conservative political talk radio. Without the talk radio format, many major AM stations will go dark simply because they will not be able to generate enough money to “pay the rent” on their large antenna fields. Many AM radio broadcast antenna arrays require several acres. When those stations went on the air in the 20’s and 30’s, the ground for the antenna field was rural and cheap. With urban sprawl, many of those fields are now high dollar real estate, and the diminished broadcast revenue will not be able to overcome the potential profits gained from shutting down the station and selling the antenna field for development.

  • Gail Cohen

    What about the FCC deciding to sell off local broadband stations to cellular phone companies like Sprint? That would kick off a lot of political and religious programming —they are planning something..

  • Marilyn

    Actions speak louder than words. Show me.

  • Chucki2

    I believe the “Fairness Doctrine” should be applied to TV and Movies! Those are responsible for “brainwashing” and dumbing down all Americans!!