Fairness Doctrine achieves official obsolescence


The FCC promised to take steps to finish off the Fairness Doctrine by removing all lingering references to it in its body of regulation in the current month of August 2011. It has now taken steps necessary to do just that, and has also taken the eraser to a number of other archaic and outdated regulations. Chairman Julius Genachowski promised that the elimination of unnecessary regulation and data collection would continue.

Genachowski noted that the deleted regulation adds to more than 50 other sets of regulation that have already walked the plank under his administration.

“Our extensive efforts to eliminate outdated regulations are rooted in our commitment to ensure that FCC rules and policies promote a healthy climate for private investment and job creation,” said Genachowski. “I’m proud of the work we are doing toward our goal of being model of excellence in government.  This includes our recent commitment to act in accordance with the recent Executive Order on Regulation and Independent Agencies, which is consistent with the values and philosophy we apply at the FCC.”

“The elimination of the obsolete Fairness Doctrine regulations will remove an unnecessary distraction,” he added. “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.”

Genachowski promised to keep the process alive going forward. “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at the FCC to conduct a review of rules within their areas with the goal of eliminating or revising rules that are outdated or place needless burdens on businesses.”

The Fairness Doctrine has not been enforced since Ronald Reagan was in office, but its possible reinstatement has been a rallying cry for some time, particularly among conservative radio hosts. Its demise has often been credited with making the careers of people like Rush Limbaugh possible, and it’s been claimed that some would like to hasten the demise of the careers of people like Rush Limbaugh by bringing it back to life.

However, although from time to time opponents of conservative talkers have brought up the topic, most Democrats have usually joined with almost all Republicans in opposing its reinstatement.

It was opposed by President Barack Obama back when he was still candidate Obama, and his appointed FCC chief Julius Genachowski has made good on his promise, made earlier to members of a congressional committee, to get rid of the Doctrine’s last vestiges.