Saturday, June 30, 2007

Senator Durbin Supports Assault on First Amendment Rights

“It’s time to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine." -- Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., June 26, 2007

From "Representatives Fight Assault on First Amendment Rights" by Jennifer Mesko, posted 6/29/07 at

Some Democrats want to revive the Fairness Doctrine, a 1949 policy that once required broadcasters to present different points of view in issues-oriented programs. In other words, along with Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, you'd receive a generous helping of Al Franken and James Carville.

Republican Reps. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, Mike Pence of Indiana and Jeff Flake of Arizona are working to prevent such an assault on free speech. On Thursday, the U.S. House voted 309-115 in favor of their amendment to a spending bill, which would bar the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from using certain federal funds to enforce the Fairness Doctrine, should it be reinstated.

Today, Pence introduced the Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2007, which would prevent the FCC from resurrecting the doctrine that was eliminated in 1987 after the agency found it had a "chilling effect" on free speech.

...Historically, when the Fairness Doctrine was in effect, many broadcast outlets – especially Christian radio stations – chose to avoid issues programming.

Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Sen. John Kerry reportedly have suggested that Congress should reinstate the doctrine.

Read the whole article.