Fairness back on the front burner


A few legislators here and there have brought the idea of reinstating the Fairness Doctrine, but no real effort has been made to do so. Hill Republicans nevertheless have been pushing legislation to guarantee that the Doctrine remain in its grave over the summer. The issue died down until a print ad from MoveOn.org fanned flames on Capitol Hill, followed by an equal and opposite firestorm touched off by radio icon Rush Limbaugh. MoveOn was responsible for a full-page ad critical of Gen. David Petraeus in the New York Times that many felt went over the line, using the line "General Petraeus, or General Betray-Us?" The ad was eventually censured by the Senate. Shortly afterword, the Betray-Us pun was traced back to Limbaugh himself, who used it to describe Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) months earlier. What kicked off the current outcry was an exchange Limbaugh had with a caller in which he used the phrase "phony soldiers." Democrats felt this deserved equal treatment to that given the MoveOn ad, but Limbaugh has been braying about being taken out of context even while his detractors note that he himself has been editing the exchange as it actually occurred over the air in his effort to defend himself. According to Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill, House sponsors of anti-Fairness Doctrine Broadcast Freedom Act, Mike Pence (R-IN) and Greg Walden (R-OR), have resumed their efforts to get the bill on the schedule for a vote.

TVBR observation: The situation in Iraq is a highly divisive one, and far more than feelings are being hurt. Rather then spending their time on Capitol Hill deciding who to censure today, Congress should be celebrating the fact that we are a nation in which the freedom to make strong political statements is alive and well. And instead of talking about talking about Iraq, they should be doing something about it.