Media Blog

Snow: Fairness Doctrine Not a “Real Issue” Right Now

My feelings exactly, which is why I’ve been ignoring recent lunacy like this:

Reaching new levels of hysteria, Rep. Maurice Hinchey said the survival of America was itself at stake because “neo-fascist” and “neo-con” talk-show hosts led by Rush Limbaugh had facilitated the “illegal” war in Iraq and were complicit in President Bush’s repeated violations of the Constitution, such as by detaining terrorists. He warned that the “right-wing oriented media” were now preparing the way for Bush to wage war on Iran and Syria.
His answer, a bill titled the “Media Ownership Reform Act,” would reinstate the federal fairness doctrine and authorize bureaucrats at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to monitor and alter the content of radio and television programs.
Hinchey, chairman of the “Future of American Media Caucus” in the House, was introduced as the new chairman of a subcommittee with jurisdiction over the FCC. For Hinchey and the vast majority at the conference, there was a pressing need for more, not less, regulation of what they call the “corporate media.”
With passage of his bill, Hinchey said that “progressives” would be able to demand and get “equal access” to programs hosted by conservatives and rebut the “baloney” of people like Limbaugh. “All of that stuff will end,” Hinchey said about the influence of conservative media. By name, he also denounced Fox News and Sinclair Broadcasting.

Crazy, but like Snow said: Not a real issue. The Fairness Doctrine has about as much chance of coming back as I have of becoming surgeon general of the United States. QandO has a couple of good* posts breaking down the reasons why.
In the clip, Les Kinsolving quotes a Tony Snow column from 1993 in which Snow argues against the Doctrine:

KINSOLVING: President Kennedy’s assistant secretary of commerce, Bill Ruder, said, “We had a massive strategy to use the fairness doctrine to challenge and harass the right-wing broadcasters, and hope the challenge would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue.” And my question: Do you remember that statement reported by the Washington Times on September the 5th, 1993?
SNOW: No, although I do have some memories from the Kennedy administration, that particular utterance does not rise to the…
KINSOLVING: That was from an article headlined, “Return of the Fairness Demon,” and the byline was Tony Snow.
SNOW: Ah, thank you.

Video here.
* UPDATE: After reading this post on QandO, I realized that I linked to the wrong post on the word ”good”. I just fixed it. The post I meant to link to is here.