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

Dems target right-wing talk radio

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/13/art.maurice.gi.jpg caption="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. jrzshor


    if you can't beat 'em, muzzle 'em

    February 13, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  2. Mike

    The COMMUNISTS party in this country has got to be stopped. 2 more years then we take our country back from them.

    February 13, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  3. Lily

    The "fairness" doctrine would allow liberals to voice their opinions at someone else's expense; that is precisely why they think it is fair.

    February 13, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  4. Bill

    Hey James. Flashback to the 90s. Clinton didnt care about it either. Would this "fairness doctorine" take in comedy central also?

    February 13, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  5. Mike

    Representative Maurice Hinchey, a Communist from New York is the latest to say he wants to bring back the "Fairness Doctrine,"
    Newly dubbed the 1st Amendment "Censorship Doctrine".
    They must really be scared about their message actually getting out to the public. Cuz thats all that these folks do.

    February 13, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  6. raaaaa

    I am an avid Republican-hater. I fully 100% support Obama.

    But, I am an AMERICAN first, and what these Democratic insane morons are proposing is a complete and absolute atrocity.

    Thomas Jefferson said if the choice was between a free press and a free country, he'd choose the free press: “The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.”
    Thomas Jefferson

    ANY member of Congress who supports suppressing free speech on the radio is a threat to our nation and MUST be removed from office.

    February 13, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  7. P. Y.

    About time, however, I don't think it will happen. These talk shows are full of lies and gear the info toward the uninformed and bigots who are too lazy to research the REAL truth. Very biased toward the right and the rich.

    February 13, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  8. MKS

    Suppose that, in the mid 1700's, the British government had forced the American colonies to publish a pro-King-George pamphlet every time Thomas Paine had published one of his pamphlets.

    That would have done what the "Fairness Doctrine" attempts in modern times.

    It means censorship and speech control – pure and simple.

    February 13, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  9. heh

    actually ron, Rush lies everyday. Like earlier in the week when he lied and said the stimulus bill secretly created a position that will allow the government to determine how doctors treat you while you are actually there. The position in question already exists and does nothing of the sort. So um no, if these guys lied it wouldn't be reported on by everyone, just MSNBC. And even if they were outed, they would just lie again and say it's a conspiracy put out by the left.

    February 13, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  10. Sonny

    Big money pays for the scumbags. The 80% of "Real Americans" should simply boycott any product which is advertised on Spawn Insannity's, Bawl O'Soily's, Gwen Bleek's, Tawdry Shnutt's and Rutt Liebum's show.

    They hope the president AND America fail's...just so they can be RIGHT.

    Hey, Scumbagous Rushiae even stated so himself so as to remove any doubt.

    Just say NO! to products advertised by the scumbags.

    The scum has spent the last eight years bringing down America. They were successful. Terrorists could not have done better.

    February 13, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  11. geecee

    The Fairness Doctrine won't shut up conservative talkshow hosts but it will give equal time to individuals who want to rebut all the lies they spew. That's what's important and it works both ways. If some liberal left-wing fringe idiot spouts untruths, then he can be challenged by some right-wing fringe idiot! So what's the problem. Let's bring it back. "Fairness" is the key word here. Each side gets their say and let the listeners decide who they want to believe. (Like anyone will change their mind anyway!!!) There are still many many psychos out there in radio land who want to believe all the lies that the hateful conservative talking heads keep vomiting up about Obama – fake birth certificate, not a real U.S. citizen, lawyer for Acorn, which committed fraud in the election, blah, blah, blah. As if we care at this point. Obama is our President for the next 4 years and I could not be happier about that. He won by 11,000,000 votes – not just half the vote as you neo-cons keep spouting. Bush only won in 2004 by 7,000,000 votes over Kerry! And in 2000, as we all know, Gore won the popular vote. So don't make it seem like McCain/Palin were even close!!! We won by an overwhelming majority. So live with it losers.

    February 13, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  12. TMW

    Ok – the liberals only want the fairness doctrine applied to the conservative outlets to financially tarve them and shut them down. Lets see them apply it the otherway to CNBC (Yeah Keith Oberman is fair and balanced) or any the major news papers (NY Times is about as liberal biased as physically possible)

    February 13, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  13. TMW

    The liberal view of fair – well – lets take the "view" – what 4 raving liberals to one conservative?

    February 13, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  14. Alex

    Lies are relative, if you think the Government doesn't tell lies you should have your head examined...

    February 13, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  15. betheweb

    It's a bit sad to see the tertiary moral syphilis (TMS) on display as the junior wannabe members of Obama's Kakistocracy line up to cheer for imposition of the "Fairness Doctrine." If you TMS Running Sores are so upset, buy a newspaper or watch TV if you can tear yourselves away from Internet P0rn. Don't you all get e-mails or tweets from O hourly to keep you up to speed anyway?

    February 13, 2009 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  16. D smith

    Wasn't it a lie when druggie
    Limbugh said he wasn't a hillbilly herion addict? He claims to be an entertainer whenever someone points out his lies or hypocracy. None of the neocons could survive open and honest de bate, which is why fairness scares the he'll out of them

    February 13, 2009 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  17. Shane Shoemaker

    Instead of getting into a discussion of liberal vs. conservative, who's right, what's propaganda, etc. let's focus on the real question.

    Should the government tell a private company that everytime you say X then you also have to say Y. NO! This is what free speech is supposed to be about but instead we want to shut up anyone we don't agree with so we try and get government involved. So much for the foundations of this country.

    February 14, 2009 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  18. TdyYrLove

    Equal time, fair and balanced? I suppose MSNBC will have to be taken off the air!!

    February 14, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  19. ddbug57

    What's wrong with some truth! The conservative radio talks facts. We need to remember what created the United States and what the Constitution stands for,,,,US. Protect the people's right's for freedom of speach. I don't want to listen to propaganda!! I want to keep my rights alive for my children and their children. I refuse to be indoctrinated by the left-wing socialist's and their misinterpretaion to freedom.

    February 14, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  20. tim lucas

    I listened to air america when every comment dealt with George Bush and refferences to stupid and words of impeacment. It looks like George looks to be a lot smarter than Obama with the worst start to an administration in history. How will you Democrats spin the failure of this cash cow you have signed to slaughter. How will your fairness doctrine help to spin your conceded lies and failures while bankrupting the Country to further the cause of dependence upon government and embed your politics and ideals which are flawed and proven to be a failure such as Castro and picture the health care you are shoving down our throat the same as Castro's. Since when did you pieces of democrat fetal matter care what was fair. LOSERS

    February 16, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
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