February 13th, 2009
11:08 AM ET
5 years ago

Dems target right-wing talk radio

Rep. Maurice Hinchey is targeting right-wing radio.
Rep. Maurice Hinchey is targeting right-wing radio.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - More and more Democrats in Congress are calling for action that Republicans warn could muzzle right-wing talk radio.

Representative Maurice Hinchey, a Democrat from New York is the latest to say he wants to bring back the "Fairness Doctrine," a federal regulation scrapped in 1987 that would require broadcasters to present opposing views on public issues.

"I think the Fairness Doctrine should be reinstated," Hinchey told CNNRadio. Hinchey says he could make it part of a bill he plans to introduce later this year overhauling radio and t-v ownership laws.

Listen: Hinchey says he wants to make talk-radio more fair


Democratic Senators Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Tom Harkin of Iowa added their voices recently to those calling for a return of the regulation.

Republicans oppose the Fairness Doctrine, arguing it would be wrong for the federal government to monitor political speech on the airwaves, in order to require opposing views.

Republican Congressman Greg Walden, a former owner of five radio stations in Oregon including a "classic rock" station joked that the Fairness Doctrine is "the musical equivalent" of "every time we'd play a classic rock song we'd have to play a polka!"


Filed under: Congress
soundoff (221 Responses)
  1. Mark

    Wow. All the liberal newspapers and TV news outlets out there and the liberals want to muzzle talk radio??

    Time for War!!

    February 13, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  2. Grog in Ohio

    I'd like to suggest a Truth Doctrine instead of a Fairness Doctrine. Utterances over the airwaves that are proven to be demonstrably false, including those with such weak disclaimers as "I believe", etc, should require a recant comment immediately when proven false... perhaps a "correction" crawl. Should put Faux News right outta business.

    Grog

    February 13, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  3. Richard

    I guess freedom of speech is out the door with the democrats in charge

    February 13, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  4. Mark

    So does this mean the NY times LA times and NBC all have to have conservative opposing views?????

    February 13, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  5. j-stl

    It's not like there is alternative sources of information – like on a competing radio station... If you can't beat them – silence them.

    February 13, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  6. greg allen

    who wants to listen to either side both sides are one way conversations.

    February 13, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  7. Carlos

    THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE!! DEMS ARE SERIOUSLY THE BIGGEST JOKE TO THIS COUNTRY!!

    February 13, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  8. Freed_From_W

    You don't need to reinstate the fairness doctrine.

    Just make sure that Propagandists can't label their swill as news.

    I'm looking right at you, Fox News.

    February 13, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  9. RDS

    This is the dumbest thing i ever heard. Now i'll be the first to admit my disdain for Limbaugh and Hannity, but I don't have to listen to them so who cares what they have to say.

    February 13, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  10. Mark

    Wow! NY Times LA Times NBC ABC need I say more? "My comment is waiting moderaton"

    February 13, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  11. demwit

    Republican censorship is good. We don't need but one voice to listen too now...

    February 13, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  12. David in Florida

    Government at work...This is absolutely crazy...What are we Cuba, Venezuela, old Russia or old East Germany? The radio waves are public domain. Government stay out. If someone doesn't want to listen to something being said on the radio – CHANGE THE CHANNEL! If this happens, we have government controlled media just like all of the other socialistis countries.

    Socialism is on the rise in America and we have to stop it now!!!

    February 13, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  13. Jacque Bauer

    Why the focus on radio – what about Left Wing television, such as NBC, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, PBS? And the Left Wing newspapers: NTY Los ANgeles Times, Washington Post, ad nauseum. Of course, the latter are going broke because no one reads that trash any more.

    February 13, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  14. MysteriousTraveller

    Nobody wants to "muzzle" right wing talk.

    Progressive radio just wants a even playing field.

    You are dishonest and wrong.

    February 13, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  15. Mike in Ca

    The return of the faireness doctrine would put Fox news out of business!!

    February 13, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  16. bryan

    Whatever happened to Freedom of Speech? If you dislike what you hear/see on the radio or tv, then change the station/channel. It's called common sense, which the majority of the citizens of this country are lacking these days.

    February 13, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  17. PATC

    Didn't the 1st Amendment limit the Governments Restriction on Speech?
    Who would monitor and who would determine what is an opposing view? The Government? See 1st question.

    February 13, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  18. Mark

    The liberals tried radio and failed? Isnt the NY times, LA Times, NBC, ABC etc etc enough????

    February 13, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  19. Tyran

    Yeah, we should do this. It would turn these Liberal and Conservative blowhards into real journalist. It is too much preaching to the converted in talk radio. Some of these radio programs have just degenerated down to "hate-fest". We need real soultions that educate and inform people, not tell them what they want to hear to futher a liberal or conservation view-point and/or ideaology. Let protect their freedom of speech though by giving them the right to editorialize on their broadcast.

    February 13, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. bj, Texas

    Freedom of speech being targeted under the disguise of "The Fairness Doctrine". Can the democrats sink any lower?

    February 13, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  21. Sheryl

    Good something has to be done they have no respect anymore for anyone!!!!! Repubs!!!!

    February 13, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  22. Simpliticus

    This won't go anywhere! Most radio pundits will say that the Fairness Issue isn't all that important now that a Democrat has come into teh the Presidency. During teh Bush administration, the Fairness Issue was important but was obviously overlooked. Hinchley may as well be singing to the choir. Ed Shultz, for example, has spoken time and again that teh Fairness Issue or Doctrine is a non-starter and is unimportant. It is only important to the right-wing as matter that may demonstrate one-sidedness against them, and these trump this issue for that concern. This isn't going anywhere!

    February 13, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  23. Mike in Montana

    What do you call Air America if it is not a liberal viewpoint radio station? The problem with the liberal programs is no one listens to them therefore no one wants to advertise on those stations making them a financial disaster. Lets not forget about the first amendment. We don't need to legislate this issue.

    February 13, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  24. Kevin

    Given how the Neo-Cons have Hannity, Beck, Limbaugh, Coulter, O'Reilly, Ingram spewing so much hypocracy and a dangerously prejudiced tone to their followers and listeners, coupling that to how McCain AND Palin ran the most vitriol presidential race in the history of this country, I would say that it is high time we brought back the Fairness Doctrine. I'm an African American who lives in ST. Pete, FL, and I can't tell you how many stations air that Neo-Con garbage over the airways.

    February 13, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  25. Robert

    Conservatives do not want to hear the side of the liberals. That is why it is called conservative talk radio. If there was a market for liberal's talk radio, then pursue it. We are resourceful enough to find other ways to communicate. If the liberals do succeed in this "unfairness doctrine" please make certain that you warn us that an opposing strange, perveted view is about to air so we may change the channel or turn off the station. We want to protect the little ears of our children from the profanity of the liberal doctrine. Thanks, but no thanks to the unfairness doctrine.

    February 13, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
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