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With each passing day comes more concern about conservative talk radio. Now, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has launched an online petition targeting Rush Limbaugh. That comes just days after President Obama told Republican lawmakers that “they can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done.”
What’s troubling here is that I can already see the storm clouds forming over the Democratic-controlled Congress and the growing desire to bring back the ill-fated Fairness Doctrine, a measure that would permit the government to tell radio broadcasters what to air by forcing them to air “opposing views.” Such a move would muzzle broadcasters and strikes at the very core of free speech.
Barry, you know the way to handle this is the way we handle our radio programs. On my radio show, you are my frequent on-air guest as we discuss a wide range of issues that we disagree about. Likewise, you have invited me to take part in your radio broadcast and I have participated with you in on-air debates many times. That’s the way it should be. There’s no need to interject the federal government into this process. We control the content of our own broadcasts and that’s the way it should remain.
But there’s a drumbeat that seems to be getting louder in Washington. And, there’s likely to be more focus on bringing back the Fairness Doctrine.
In a recent news report, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi affirmed her support for a “Fairness” policy and Sen. Jeff Bingaman, (D-N.M.) told a radio host: “I would want this station and all stations to have to present a balanced perspective and different points of view, instead of always hammering away at one side of the political [spectrum].”
And, now, the new Administration may be thinking about going in that direction, too. Consider this from the new White House website – President Obama’s agenda when it comes to dealing with technology:
“Encourage Diversity in Media Ownership: Encourage diversity in the ownership of broadcast media, promote the development of new media outlets for expression of diverse viewpoints, and clarify the public interest obligations of broadcasters who occupy the nation’s spectrum.”
I certainly hope these aren’t code words for reinstatement of the “Fairness Doctrine.”
We don’t need the federal government to regulate the content of talk radio, Barry.
Let’s leave the airwaves alone.