Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) was on the radio with syndie Talker Bill Press, and the two were lamenting the loss of liberal talkers in Washington DC and other places – Press mentioned San Diego, Sacramento and Miami — when she said “I absolutely think it’s time to be bringing accountability to the airwaves.” And that could mean hearings on Fairness.
Stabenow said, “You know, we had something called the Fairness Doctrine, back until the eighties when it was removed, where where you had to have balance…and I think something that requires that in a market with owners that have multiple stations that they have got to have balance – there has to be some community uh, interest – balance, you know, standard that says both sides have to be heard.” She added, “When we hear the right wing conservative talk show hosts who are out there, just trying to make people angry and saying all kinds of things that aren’t true and so on. There has to be voices on the other side.”
Asked by Press if hearings were in the works, she said it has been under discussion and that she thinks they will in fact take place.
RBR/TVBR observation: Will there be hearings? Stabenow didn’t even suggest which committee might hold them, much less put them on the schedule. And a hearing is a far cry from a bill, and bills that have a snowball’s chance on a banana plantation are introduced all the time, to whither and die. Even if some version of Fairness were to make it through Congress, we feel certain the courts would shoot it down. The bottom line is that key watchdog groups on both sides of the ideological spectrum, including liberal radio network Air America, have come out against reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine. There are so many forces stacked against it we do not see any clear path toward its reanimation.