February 13th, 2009
11:08 AM ET
12 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. pete

    I say bring it back. I want to get my opposing view on the air so that everyone hears my opinion about how totally incompetent the democrats, media (pardon the redundancy) and republicans are.

    February 13, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. ckerst

    "Why do you need a doctrine??? Do like most intelligent individuals… if you don't like the content, change the station or channel."
    Where I live it's right wing bs on every station 24/7. There are no other choices.

    February 13, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  3. Whats Fair

    Would the Political Ticker Comments Section be subjected to this Fairness Doctrine as well? Because you have to have make sure that each View is properly shown in an equal # of comments. Right?

    This will make my 4th Comment that will not be posted on this subject. That's OK though... I don't mind CNN being UNFAIR.

    February 13, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  4. Steve

    Leave it to the Dems to want to revive something that was ruled un-Constitutional. Of course the Constitution is merely a scrap of paper to most Democrats anyway...

    February 13, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  5. Scott, Tucson

    Is New York city a sister city to Moscow? If you don't like what Rush or Sean as to say, simply changed the station or are you liberals too dumb to do that to? I often don't like what MSNBC's Keith Oberfuhrer has to say or Chris (has a funny feeling running down his legs) Matthews for that matter, but I listen to them and not screaming for some nutcase congressman to ban free speech like this idiot Hinchey is trying to do.

    February 13, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  6. sam

    bj, Texas, Again you are talking out of your %*%*. The Fairness Doctrine" doesn't prohibit freedom of speech, it makes sure that both sides are heard equality. Right now it is 9-1, with the Conservative talkers controlling. There are alot of states who do not have any Progressive stations. Read up on this before you make your stupid statements.

    February 13, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  7. Larry

    CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. Thank you ,would you please post it ?

    It's been less than a month since Obama took office —The Democrats already want censorship of any opposing ideology—This isn't Socialism,this is Communism.

    February 13, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  8. Andy J, Upstate NY

    if i want the liberal point of view, i'll turn on cnn, nbc, msnbc, or i'll pick up a copy of the NY Times.

    Liberals dominate the tv airwaves, no doubt.

    Conservatives dominate the radio waves.

    If you want to get the liberal/progressive perspective on the radio, start your own liberal radio station... OH, THATS RIGHT... WE HAD THAT- ITS CALLED AIR AMERICA, AND IT SUCKED.

    February 13, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  9. Gene

    I think this is a big mistake. This is straight censorship. Let the conservative talk radio people hoot and holler all they want... their audiences are slowly declining. And, the better the economy gets and the more people become comfortable with Obama... the lower their ratings are going to go.

    If there's one thing I don't agree with.. it's censorship. Let people voice their opinions.

    February 13, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  10. Steve

    If we had the Fairness Doctrine back in 2008, Obama would have never won the election. If the mainstream media were forced to give McCain the equal and favorable coverage they gave Obama, while also not hiding Wright & Ayers, Obama would have lost. Bring it back in 3 years so we can have a "fair" election this time!

    February 13, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  11. VB Lincoln Park NJ


    So go on listening to Rush Limboob and all of the other sub-moronics.

    It becomes clearer and clearer that their nonsensical prattle doesn't mean anything important.

    February 13, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  12. Ron Ft. Myers

    Fair, that is a laugh. The media is always biased one way or the other, so why not let the people listen to the "slant" they prefer. If you read the CNN comments, it is very apparent who is who in terms of party affiliation.

    February 13, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  13. ron

    it's a flat out attempt at censoring political speach. totally unconstitutional.

    chavez does it. north korea and china do it.

    maybe if they can't silence rush, they can give him radiation sickness or throw him out a window. that worked pretty well at silencing putin's detractors.

    a lot of you dem's are getting it here, but many of you are sounding like goose-stepping fascists now.

    be suspicious when a one party government is openly trying to control all education, all government and all media.

    February 13, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  14. Jonita

    The problem is people like Rush and Hannity can say whatever they want and there is nobody there to balance it out.I listen to both and they are not truthful with the facts and there are people out there who will believe everything that comes out of there mouths.

    February 13, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  15. knixphan

    "We need real solutions that educate and inform people"


    (Of course it helps that reality has a liberal bias...)

    February 13, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  16. Randy from IA

    For all of you out there saying shut them up, I appreciate how you like trashing the 1st amendment. Why is this only targeted at radio? How would you like to have a hardline right wing show on MSNBC right after Olberman.

    February 13, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  17. Rob

    WOW, I really can't imagine anyone admitting that they're a liberal ! But censoring and controlling free speech, now that's down right Stalin type communism !

    February 13, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  18. scotter

    This is so stupid. Who's to say what "the other view" is? Normally there are many "other views" not just one. Are we going to have "the other view" for all the lib. TV anchor's? Are we going to have a new White House Dept. overseeing all our "view" now? Who will be the thought police, how much more tax – payer money will this take. Why just to radio? Why not make every magizine, newspaper, TV show, speech, etc. have a Liberal and a conservative column? Sometimes I don't care to hear the liberal lies – now they want to FORCE me to listen to their garbage! Sorry folks. This is the new communisim of the U.S.S.A (United States of Socalist American).

    February 13, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. RJ in NYC

    Excuse me "call me crazy" but can I ask a little question?

    To qoute you:

    "If no one listened to right wing radio they would still be financed by big business as a marketing tool"

    In no one listened...who would they market to? That makes absolulety no sense. Are you trying to say compnaies would continue to spend money marketing to "no one"?

    February 13, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  20. Texas


    February 13, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  21. Steve O

    I hear all these far left wing liberals criticizing the far right wing. I grew up a long time ago. Life is not fair. A lot of what is on right wing radio is b/s but the same can be said about the liberal media outlets. During this past election even the media stated that they have been overly pro-obama

    February 13, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  22. Richard

    Isn't it interesting that so many of the supposed free thinkers on the left speak of the right as if they can be "spoon fed" lies and deciet. It is just the opposite... thinkers on the right demand facts, and thinkers on the left merely require feelings. Hollywood snobs and the like provide those feelings (polar bears, redwoods, terrorist rights, etc) and the sheeple just fall into line behind them.

    February 13, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  23. Rachel

    TCM, I am educated, and I would guess much more educated then you. Your comments about Obama are ridiculous. You are so off base it scares me. People like you, with narrow little minds living in your own world are truly frightening! You blast your criticisms with nothing to back them up!!! UGH! I can't stand Republicans like you. You have no idea how stupid you sound! I know this wont get on CNN today but it feels better writing it. I thank God every day that the GOP is not in charge of this country anymore. They do not represent the America that I believe in and that the constitution was written for. If they had their way EVERYTHING would be private market – there would be no government-they hate government it is obvious...... To me that is the same as hating America. It truly makes me sick that there are people so greedy and so selfish in this world. They care nothing for others, only themselves. No wonder our country is falling apart and they take NO ownership for it. None!!

    February 13, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. forumpostar

    How could MORE information possibly be construed as censorship? You conservative fascists are ridiculous.

    February 13, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  25. Larry Linn

    As a liberal, I am opposed to the "Fairness Doctrine". If I do not like what I hear and see in the medis, I just change the channel. I am open minded enough to change my positions based upon what I explore from a diverse media presentation. We do not need censorship. I still think that Rush Limpball is a big, fat idiot. However, on this issue I agree with his general position.

    February 13, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
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