What is it about the Fairness Doctrine that is causing the Religious Right to lose their minds? As Marin Cogan pointed out last year, the more she searched for actual evidence that anyone intended to bring it back, the more she had to conclude that it wasn’t going to happen.
But still the Right is up in arms and vowing to do all it can to prevent its return. Christian broadcasters are warning that their programs will be under attack and the word of God is being “opposed at every quarter.” The Family Research Council declares that it would “silence conservative and Christian broadcasters” while Concerned Women for America claims that it would “jeopardize our freedom to share the Gospel.” Focus on the Family says that liberals are trying “to take a huge bite out of the First Amendment” because they are “highly intolerant.” The Traditional Values Coalition released a report [PDF] alleging that liberals “want to kick conservative and Christian talk show hosts off the air altogether in order to suppress what they view as ‘hate speech.’” The Media Research Center formed something called the “Free Speech Alliance” for the sole purpose of fighting the Fairness Doctrine and Republicans in Congress even went so far as to introduce legislation that would prevent its return, for which they were hailed as heroes by the Right. And, just in case that fails, the ACLJ announced that it is “formulating our litigation strategy in the event this discriminatory regulation is put in place.”
As The Politico explained just last week, every time any Democrat so much as mentions the Fairness Doctrine, the Right completely flips out, despite the fact that even supposed supporters of the doctrine have “no plans to introduce any legislation on the issue, nor is it even on the radar”:
But for even the casual listener of conservative talk radio this past week, it would be assumed that federal agents were already en route, pulling radios out of cars or snapping antennas … The passionate reaction on talk radio on this topic, though, reflects a familiar dance between left-leaning politicians and right-leaning talkers.
Every few months, another Democratic leader praises the Fairness Doctrine or talks off the cuff in the Capitol hallway about the government needing to play a role in what’s heard on the public airwaves. Conservative talk show hosts then respond aggressively, rallying the troops from coast to coast with the idea that their favorite shows are about to be taken away by meddling Democrats in Washington.
The Right’s paranoia is so rampant and pervasive that it has now compelled the White House to declare that, even though there is no effort to bring back the Fairness Doctrine, President Obama would oppose it:
President Obama opposes any move to bring back the so-called Fairness Doctrine, a spokesman told FOXNews.com Wednesday.
The statement is the first definitive stance the administration has taken since an aide told an industry publication last summer that Obama opposes the doctrine — a long-abolished policy that would require broadcasters to provide opposing viewpoints on controversial issues.
“As the president stated during the campaign, he does not believe the Fairness Doctrine should be reinstated,” White House spokesman Ben LaBolt told FOXNews.com.
So congratulations to all of you on the Right who have managed to propel this issue all the way up to the highest levels of government and forced the President of the United States to state that he does not support the non-existent efforts to re-institute a doctrine that nobody has any intention of trying to re-introduce.
I’d like to think that this will finally put an end to this nonsense, but knowing how the Right operates, the only thing that is certain is that they are not about to let a little thing like the facts get in the way of their fear-mongering and fund-raising.