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Fairness Doctrine shuts down conservative voice

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By Robert E. Beckner

A big battle is pending and from inquires made, very few people are aware of the “Fairness Doctrine” and what it means and controls, etc. So a little history, a short version will be helpful to all. As you will see, it’s a government-mandated speech and restriction on what you can listen to.

The Fairness Doctrine was created in 1934, but then it was only concerned with air waves for radio stations. Gradually, TV stations got involved and even newspapers. Then in 1949, Harry Truman’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established the Fairness Doctrine as we know it today. However, an appeals court assessed it in 1986 and ruled the doctrine unconstitutional, as it was not an actual law, only a regulation which could be rescinded by the FCC.

The following year, 1987, Ronald Reagan ended it when his FCC followed the court’s law and rescinded the Fairness Doctrine, the FCC concluded the doctrine violated the First Amendment and contradicted the public interest.

President Reagan also vetoed a bill passed later that year by a liberal Congress to have made the doctrine law. In 1993, Congress failed in an attempt to reinstitute the rule. There it’s been until Pelosi and her cabal in 2007, all very liberals mobilized, to again reintroduce the Fairness Doctrine in order to shut down the conservative voices prior to national elections. Their effort fell short.

The so-called Fairness Doctrine is extremely dangerous. It would have a chilling effect on the free speech of conservatives and religious outlets. If the doctrine is brought back to life, there would be no speaking out against abortion, speaking up for the traditional definition of marriage, or even reading certain parts of the Bible – none of these could be addressed in our broadcasts. Liberals feel some current radio hosts, such as Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, Neil Boortz and Dr. James Dobson, Christian radio, doesn’t reflect the Washington establishment values. All these program changes would be implemented. These hosts don’t push the administration’s agenda. The current FCC chairman doesn’t mince words, he said, “Those of us who are on the air today, represent a shameful state of affairs. It is plainly another blatant attempt to gain more ‘control’ over our lives. The Fairness Doctrine encroaches not only on our fundamental and constitutional right to free speech, as well as our implied right to listen”. We must not let them mandate what can be said or heard.

It has already been demonstrated that the leftists in charge of both Houses of Congress and the Executive Branch have demonstrated a propensity to use compliant media completely to their advantage and have an unfair interest in enforcing the so-called Fairness Doctrine to silence any voices of dissent against their political, financial and electoral, dictatorial agendas. It’s an unconstitutional restriction on free speech.

Here’s what the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says in a simple, straight forward statement, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech of the press, etc.” Yet, for more than half a century, Congress has made laws and created agencies to regulate broadcasters. To tell them what they can and cannot say on the air. The laws give government the power to take away a broadcaster’s license if he doesn’t follow the rules. All this has been given the blessing of the U.S. Supreme Court. So now it appears the question of how far government “should” go in controlling radio and TV programming, has about to become a major issue once more. The FCC pretty much does what it wants to do when you read some of the cases; they bend the law when necessary. They give equal time only to politicians (debates) during campaign. An Equal Time Law has a clause exempting news coverage which lets Congress waltz around the First Amendment. You can compare TV’s equal time requirement with an almost exact parallel in the print media.

The FCC is looking for new means of getting their way; the latest trick of theirs is to push for “local advisory boards” that they believe will ensure that the content, of a broadcast, “serves the local community.” They realize that to go direct to court with a law suit to get the doctrine passed; they may lose as history has so often shown. The members of these “diversity committees have been told to be aggressive. You ask who are on these committees, representatives from organizations that can best be described as “left leaning.” You just have to stop and realize how radically your world will change if the government, in yet another of its socialist steps of taking “control” of your lives, is allowed to censor some speeches and compel other speeches according to the whims of a few bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. It’s incredibly hard to take a stand for conservatism in Washington.

The public should be thankful we have an organization, “The American Center for Law and Justice” that has seen the danger and is working to defeat whatever the FCC comes up with this time. They feel they cannot stand by when constitutional free speech is at risk. They have filed new legislation, Senate Bill 34, the “Broadcaster Freedom Act” (BFA) to permanently prohibit the so-called Fairness Doctrine effort before it takes root and destroys our freedom of speech.

From all the other radical bills and unconstitutional actions taken by our President and his compliant two houses of Congress, we know there will be no “transparency” with an open and full and fair debate before the people. As usual, it will only be mentioned one day and then the next day, in the dark, it will be brought up for a “vote”. Only then, usually on a Friday afternoon when the public doesn’t pay attention to news from Congress, is the public told of a new law that tells us we’ve lost some more of our freedom of speech and even the ability to listen to truthful news and religious views. We must not let free speech be destroyed. We must not allow any American to be silenced because of his or her point of view. There is currently ample diversity of opinions available on the airwaves that don’t call for more changes that have been ruled in the past to be unconstitutional.

We ask that you join in opposition of any and all action taken by the 111th Senate to strengthen, support or pass the so-called “Fairness Doctrine”, or to limit the free market access of conservative programming on the public airwaves. The best way for you to contribute to this fight is to call your two senators, tell them to vote down this so-called “Fairness Doctrine”. You will be advancing life and liberty across America, upholding and preserving constitutional free speech for all. Stop this march into socialism by these radical liberals.

“It is characteristic of current political thinking to welcome every suggestion which aims at enlarging the influence of government”………..Ludwig Von Mises

Robert E. Beckner lives in Majestic Oaks with his wife, Sarah. He is a retired private investigator and insurance adjuster. He has also been a photographer and served with the Military Police in the Marine Corps.