Fairness battle returning to Washington?


It's no secret that Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) would like to see the Fairness Doctrine brought back to life, requiring that views expressed over America's airwaves are countered by equal time for their viewpoint opposites. It looks like that sentiment is spreading rapidly among Democrats on Capitol Hill, and their colleagues from across the aisle are said to be preparing a defense.

On the Democratic side, Hinchey is gaining support on in the Senate, with Dick Durbin (D-IL) actively calling for the Fairness Doctrine's reinstatement. Senate Rules Committee Chair Diane Feinstein (D-CA) is also said to be on the case, and according to TheHill.com, she's looking at the technical aspects of crafting legislation that would make it the law. It formerly was an FCC regulation, struck down back in 1985. According to TheHill.com, Republicans in the House are attempting a pre-emptive strike. Mike Pence (R-IN) and radio veteran Greg Walden (R-OR) are said to be working on a bill that would give the FCC's abandonment of the Doctrine the force of law.

SmartMedia observation: Until one party gets a reliable 60-40 vote in the Senate, it's unlikely a bill on this topic favoring either side will get anywhere. And even if it does, it would seem to be a prime candidate for death in the courts. We will be very surprised to see any meaningful progress toward the Fairness Doctrine's return in the near future.