Here We Go Again… The Absolutely Not-Fairness Doctrine

unmasking-fairness-doctrine1This has been a topic that has popped onto and off of people’s radars for the last couple of years. But now that a certain party has control of both Houses and the White House, they are beginning to do what what most of us knew they would do. They are taking every single agenda item they want and forcing it through to law while no one can stop them. The Democrats have made it clear that they are going to make the move to re-institute the so called “Fairness Doctrine”. They claim they just want to make the talk radio circuit fair to the poor liberals who don’t have a voice. And I sympathize with the poor liberals. I mean without talk radio they really are doomed. They simply don’t have any way to be able to reach the American public with their message of togetherness and bi-partisanship. It just isn’t fair.

I say so-called because there is nothing fair about this doctrine at all. That isn’t it’s purpose. A quick history. the Fairness Doctrine is a policy instituted by the Federal Communications Commission that REQUIRES radio stations to provide opposing views on controversial issues of public importance. In essence the idea is that if a radio station has 5 conservative talk shows, they must have 5 liberal talk shows as well. That way coverage is “fair” because the public gets to hear both sides. The policy was in place from 1949 until 1987, when it was abolished.

Democrats are going to tell us that they just want equal representation on the airwaves. They will say that it is meant to ensure that the public hears both sides of the issues. They will sell the idea as only wanting to make things “fair”. Well once again let me throw my proverbial bullshit flag. 15 yard penalty, intentional mis-representation of the purpose and issues, number “crazy eyes”. 

This isn’t about being fair. This is about the fact that conservatives dominate the talk radio portion of the media. Liberals don’t like that. So they want to do their best to limit the ability of folks like Rush Limbaugh, John Gibson, Tom Sullivan, and Sean Hannity to speak out against the Democrats and their agenda. They can’t beat the conservative talk guys fairly, so they are going to try their best and cheat. 

air-americaHere’s the thing. It isn’t like Liberals don’t have the ability to start their own radio stations and have their own talk shows. The problem is that no one is listening. They have attempted to start these radio shows over and over for the last 20 years. they even had the ultra-liberal “Air America Network”, headlined by Stuart Smalley, I mean the guy stealing an election in Minnesota, I mean Al Franken. One problem, no one listened. They couldn’t understand it. Air America went bankrupt in just a few years on the air. No one listens to liberal talk radio. 

Because no one listens to liberal talk radio, it is very difficult to sell advertising for times when liberal talk radio is being broadcast. After all, what company wants to spend it’s advertising dollars on slots when no one is listening?  So by forcing the radio stations out there to give equal time, they give those stations two options: They can simply lose money because 50% of their day cannot sell advertising or they can stop broadcasting Conservative talk radio. Interesting tactic for the doctrine, which has been nicknamed the “Hush Rush doctrine”.

The Democrat taking the lead on this right now is Senator Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat from Michigan. Last week she told liberal radio host Bill Press last week, “I absolutely think it’s time to be bringing accountability to the airwaves”. On the opposite side of this is Oklahoma Republican Senator James Inhofe, who stated, “I can’t think of anything worse than to have government in a position to dictate the content of information going over public radio. The whole idea is that it has to be market driven. We have a lot of progressive or liberal radio shows but nobody listens to them and every time one tries to get on, they are not successful.” Inhofe introduced a bill this year to prevent reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine, but he has not gotten a single Democrat to co-sponsor it. 

During the presidential campaign, a spokesman said Barack Obama did not favor reinstating the Fairness Doctrine. He stated, “Senator Obama does not support re-imposing the Fairness Doctrine on broadcasters.” But his White House spokesman has since left the door open. Robert Gibbs stated this week, “I pledge to you to study up on the ‘Fairness Doctrine’ so that, one day, I might give you a more fulsome answer,”  There we go, another bait and switch from the Chosen One. Campaign on one stance, and then do another. 

fairness_doctrine-time-sqYou know the really interesting thing is that Democrats aren’t pressing for fairness in any other part of the media. The print media is as liberally biased as it gets. A quick jaunt to CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, or even the Comedy Channel will show just how biased a lot of the television media is. And don’t even get me started on hollywood. 

Nope the Democrats are OK with the massive bias in all of those areas. It is only unfair if it isn’t in the Democrats favor. They are liars and hypocrites. There I said it. The Democrats in congress want to find a way to shut up the opposition. Forget about free speech. Say only what the Messiah tells you to say. It is just another example of the double standard the Democrats live every day. This is just another play by that party to get one more agenda item out of the way while they know they cannot be stopped. It is basically the Democrats making the statement “we can’t get radio deals because no one will listen to us, so we will step in and government will FORCE these private businesses to spread our message” .

How much of the private market does the government really intend to get their hands into? I appears to be all of it. Here’s an idea, they can insert a couple billion dollars into the stimulus bill that will be used to start liberal radio shows and networks. They can claim that they are creating jobs. Jobs that put a microphone in front of a liberal who will talk away while no one listens on the other end. 


  1. SmallerGov says:

    You know, the liberals DID and DO have their own radio and television shows. If people really wanted to listen, the radio stations would have them. But if you were a radio station (a business intending to make money, that is), would you air programs that didn’t get any advertising and therefore LOSE money? They already have control of the television media, and now they think they ought to have control of the radio waves as well. I’m just disgusted with everything the libs have been trying to pull off since this clown took office and I and my family are VERY concerned about the sorry state of the government. I mean, no one wants a fight, but what are law-biding citizens, being crapped on by their very own government supposed to do? What did our founding fathers do? We’re all being railroaded and I know a lot of us are not gonna take it sitting down.

  2. Bob the Builder says:


    All you do is spam the forum, and never add any insight into the current discussion. I hope you are happy when all your forums get spammed as well.

    ❤ Bob


  3. Bob the Builder says:

    Oh yeah i forgot.

    We are discussing this issue along with a whole slew of others over on my political blog.

    Hope to see you there!

  4. Hitler knew the best way to control the people is to control the media.
    Radios are cheap, inexpensive, easy to get, and portable.
    Isn’t forcing a station to drop a venue because no opposing voice is carried a violation of the freedom of speech?
    Obama cannot tell us not to turn our radios on, but he seems to have overcome that by controlling the content.
    Hitler knew this also.
    I believe I heard a saying: “History repeats its self to those who won’t learn from it.”

  5. I suppose the poor economic conditions have Bob the Builder with more time on his hands than normal. Good grief, I have read many comments on the forum and this one actually directs you somewhere you don’t have to read the garbage that wind up as posts on the Fox News Forums. It is so obvious that the lefties go to that forum simply to cause trouble.

    But getting to the subject, the “Fairness Doctrine” is everything but fair. I suppose I could support it if ALL media were subject to the same “Fairness”, but we all know that will never happen. That is the basic problem and what makes this effort so blatant. If the left leaning folks can’t see it, they are truly on another planet. I have tried to understand how the Liberals think, but just cannot fathom some of their beliefs. The “fairness Doctrine” is simply another dig the Democrats, who now control everything, are trying to put into effect to attempt to stifle any voice that does not toe their line.

  6. Bob the Builder says:

    NO Terry. I am attempting to inform the author of this blog that they really should cut down the SPAM. That is all.

    I found this post from USWeapon on a forum about darwin…. really seems to add to the discussion

    Now on to your smart remark Terry(“I suppose the poor economic conditions have Bob the Builder with more time on his hands than normal.”) i offer this piece of wisdom. “Let He Who Is Without Sin Cast The First Stone”

    What exactly are you doing blogging at 9:34am since you must be such a productive citizen that you can pass judgement on someone else.

    ❤ Bob


    Comment by USWeapon
    February 13th, 2009 at 3:55 am
    We are discussing this issue along with a whole slew of others over on my political blog. Recently we began tackling the issues of where the Republican party needs to go in order to rebound, the stimulus plan, The Fairness Doctrine, Blue Dog Democrats, and the Libertarian Platform. An exert from the blog:

    So those of us paying attention these days are getting increasingly worried about what we see in Washington. And that means we are talking to people about it. Unfortunately most of us aren’t Barrack Obama so we don’t have the gift of public speaking in a way that makes people want to listen. And as I talk to people I get shut down over and over for a variety of reasons. So I figured I would share with you the top ten reasons I am rejected when I talk about politics or tell people to pay attention or ask if they read the blog. Without further ado…Top Ten Things I Hear From Those Not Paying Attention to Politics:

    So I am asking all of you to take a moment and jump over there and join in on the conversation. Be respectful and honest. Get there here:

    Hope to see you there.

    • Bob,

      I apologize if you are somehow offended that I have posted on the Fox Forums in a SPAM way. I disagree. See I am not on there trying to sell Viagra, penis enlargement, or a low interest rate mortgage. I write a political blog. I feel these issues are important. I want as much input from differing opinions as possible because it helps everyone reading here to see all sides. So as a writer of a political blog, I try to find ways to drive traffic to my site and get people involved in the discussions, because I owe that to the people who already come here. So I have gone out to a strictly political blog, the Fox Forum, and invited people to my site. I didn’t misrepresent what I was. In fact I always post a small exert from the blog for the exact reason of showing people what they are going to see if they choose to visit. I am honest in my presentation of what we are talking about. Sometimes I don’t add comments pertinent to the discussion, such as was true of the Darwin discussion. I don’t have tons of time. But I don’t discriminate and say “well folks who are discussing Darwin aren’t welcome in my site.” I pop in there and and drop my invitation as well. It takes me two seconds. I takes you less than that to simply scroll past my invitation and read other comments.

      And that is the point to it all. There are literally thousands of comments on those blogs. And I submit to you that my quick postings inviting folks to participate in honest and intelligent dialogue is a lot more relevant to the discussion than a lot of the partisan drivel that I see in the other comments. I see racism and hatred and vile comments galore in those forums. And yet with all of that you seem to have a problem with me coming in there and posting one comment in each thread each day asking people to come and visit a site where intelligent and respectful discussion is happening? If you don’t like my “SPAM” simply scroll past it and get back to the hatred and idiocy that so many other folks seem to be willing to throw your way. And for the record, you are the first person to ever complain about it. Yesterday there were 152 visits to this site from links in the Fox Forums. I have dozens of commenters who say they came from the Fox Forums and enjoyed the site and thank me for inviting them. Thanks for visiting. Perhaps you would like to engage in the intelligent conversation here rather than being angry that someone invited you?


      • And believe me I get plenty of “automated” SPAM. It is simply a reality of choosing to use the internet medium. But thanks for your well wishes Bob!

  7. Bob the builder, what does that piece of wisdom have to do with the subject at hand? Your complaints are duly noted now, go whine to someone who cares.

  8. I think we should be against the Fairness Doctrine because it interfers with free market supply/demand principles. To be against it as an effort to derail any perceived Democrat conspiricy is opposing it for the wrong reasons. I remember liberal bloggers being upset about the executive powers gained by Bush. It was said that this was his attempt to secure himself and Cheney dictatorship by over-ruling the judicial system and congress. Crazy?

  9. Your history of the “Fairness Doctrine” was fascinating, but I would like some additional information.

    1. Can you tell me the exact words of the “Fairness Doctrine” and in what law or regulation they are or were to be found?

    2. Can you tell me the names of 5 conservative talk radio shows and 5 liberal talk radio shows that were on the air between 1949 and 1987, paired to satisfy the requirements of the “Fairness Doctrine”?

    3. How do you know no one listens to liberal radio talk shows?

    4. Can you tell me what the date was when Air America stopped broadcasting and went off the air?

    5. How do you explain the fact that unpopular liberal ideas are apparently supported by the free market in print media, television, and hollywood? And if this is the case, wouldn’t it be to your advantage to support a more comprehensive “Fairness Doctrine” that would apply to all these types of media in addition to radio, because it would result in a net gain for the dissemination of conservative ideas?

    • Novanglus,

      I am catching a bit of partisan thinking in your statements, so I will respond in kind. Seems to me that you are a liberal who would like to prove a point. You will see when we get to #5 why you don’t really have one. You stated:
      Your history of the “Fairness Doctrine” was fascinating, but I would like some additional information.

      1. Can you tell me the exact words of the “Fairness Doctrine” and in what law or regulation they are or were to be found?
      Yes, the Fairness Doctrine was authorized by the Communications Act of 1934 and implemented by the Federal Communications Commission in 1949. The Fairness Doctrine required broadcasters to “afford reasonable opportunity for discussion of contrasting points of view on controversial matters of public importance.” Do a google search for the Communications Act of 1934, or its amended Telecommunications Act of 1996.

      2. Can you tell me the names of 5 conservative talk radio shows and 5 liberal talk radio shows that were on the air between 1949 and 1987, paired to satisfy the requirements of the “Fairness Doctrine”?
      No, because I didn’t argue that this was the case, I stated that this was the intent as claimed by Democratic politicians that are championing the cause today. The FCC is responsible for enforcement, and the intent of the fairness doctrine is not what politicians want to use it for today. It has long been considered a tool for silencing the voice of those in opposition to those in power. The recent immigration reform was a good example. The Republican President and both house of Congress wanted it. Talk radio cut through the lengthy language and let America know what the bill said in non-lawyer terms. Americans flooded Congress with phone calls and emails. The people spoke… and won. Politicians don’t like when the people tell them what to do because they have forgotten that they work for the people. They want to take away the ability of any media source that gets in government’s way.

      3. How do you know no one listens to liberal radio talk shows?
      We know this because the free market has told us so. Talk radio stations cannot sell advertising during liberal talk radio shows. This is not an accident. Businesses in this country don’t care whether it is a liberal or a conservative who buys their products. All they care about is making sure that their advertising dollars reach as many potential customers as possible. They aren’t buying time during liberal talk radio because the listening numbers, as reported by the radio companies themselves, are much lower during them. Air America’s most popular hosts, Thom Hartmann and Lionel, are estimated to each have over 1.5 million unique listeners a week.As of 2006, ratings indicated that The Rush Limbaugh Show had a minimum weekly audience of 13.5 million listeners. If you were a business where would you put your advertising dollars. Who are you going to trust? The politicians with an agenda, or the results of the free market? I think I know the answer for you.

      4. Can you tell me what the date was when Air America stopped broadcasting and went off the air?
      Air America did not go off the air. They went on the air March 31, 2004, and filed for bankruptcy on October 13, 2006. Just two years for America’s largest attempt a a liberal only talk radio station to go bankrupt. This proves exactly what I stated above: the free market decided their fate. Radio makes their money on advertising. Advertisers will pay ANY radio show that gets listeners. They wouldn’t pay Air America because they could never get the listener base needed to justify advertising investment. Air America went bankrupt. It was subsequently bought out and transitioned to Air America Media instead of Air America Radio. A wise business move where the new owner seeks to combine liberal talk revenues with TV and internet revenues, areas where liberal points of view are more competitive fiscally.

      5. How do you explain the fact that unpopular liberal ideas are apparently supported by the free market in print media, television, and hollywood? And if this is the case, wouldn’t it be to your advantage to support a more comprehensive “Fairness Doctrine” that would apply to all these types of media in addition to radio, because it would result in a net gain for the dissemination of conservative ideas?
      I don’t claim that liberal ideas are unpopular. I claimed only that liberals don’t listen to talk radio. They don’t have to, they have TV, print media, and hollywood to listen to for their point of view. Conservatives don’t have many options, and thus turn to talk radio. Liberal ideas certainly couldn’t be considered unpopular. They have elected a President and a majority of both houses of Congress. Your mistake here was to misconstrue my “agenda”. I don’t have the one that you seem to think I do. I would not support a “more comprehensive” one to apply to other media types as well. That is the point. I don’t think the government should have any say what-so-ever in what the media presents, unless they are stopping a media source from outright criminal activity, but even then, the free market will take care of it. And that is the point the Republicans seem to stand by and Democrats seem to miss. The Republicans have been getting their ass handed to them in print media, television, and Hollywood. Yet they haven’t come forth with some plan or proposed law that would infringe on the free market and make them competitive in those areas. The Democrats, on the other hand, are getting their ass handed to them in one area, talk radio. So their plan is to attempt to regulate that one area ONLY in a way that makes them competitive where the free market has failed them.

      Thanks for your questions. As I said, I detected a hint of liberal “snarkiness” there that thought you had 5 questions that would make your point. If I was incorrect in that, I truly do apologize and hope that I have answered your questions suitably. If you have any more please feel free to ask. What I try to do here is have honest conversations without letting the emotions of partisanship override logical debate.

  10. I have Googled the Fairness Doctrine and have just begun to explore. I have not yet found the exact working of it rather some high points and general history.

    As far as any Liberal/Conservative parings, I am not sure there were any.

    As far as no one listening to Liberal talk radio, I believe that is a generalism due to the fact that by rule of thumb, not many have been successful to date.

    Air America Radio began broadcasting on March 31, 2004 and filed for bankrupcy on October 13, 2006. It was purchased by Green Family Media, and subsequently changed its name to Air America Media, and did so as to encompass different media types rather than just radio…from all indications this company still operates and has a Liberal agenda.

    The only explanation I can offer for point number 5 is that evdently Liberals are not that prone to listening to the radio, or choose to listen to things other than talk radio. As far as a more comprehensive Fairness Doctrine, that is the problem. The Fairness Doctrine is aimed squarely at radio and does not include other media types, which is why this looks like a deliberate attempt to quiet the Conservative voice. Personally I would support a more comprehensive Fairness Doctrine, but that would not, in my humble opinion, be supported by the ultra left leaning media of print and television.

    I hope this begins to explain some of your questions…sorry I could not be more precise in such a short timeframe…

  11. The problem with liberals and liberal media is as Bernie Goldberg laid out in “Bias”. They all think alike, they all agree and they can’t phantom anyone else thinking differently than they do. They therefore represent the middle road according to themselves and know beyond doubt that they are being fair and unbiased.

    I stopped reading the NY Times and watching NBC and CBS News during the Viet-Nam war because what I knew, was not what they were reporting. The Iraq war reporting on Guantanamo or the prisons in Iraq and so called torture is another example of their bias but not according to them. Hell, most of them cannot even pronounce the word terrorist, they have to substitute “Militant”.

    I have been fortunate in my life to have been personally involved in two events that were reported by the mainstream media. They got it totally, utterly wrong and frankly, in one case, provoked the incident they were sent to cover. I always use these with my friends to show that there is bias. Some believe me, some believe the idiot box is objective. What can you do?

    I see the “fairness doctrine” and second amendment as being the lynchpins on how badly damaged the constitution will be after this administration. After the stimulus bill, I have very little hope about “blue dog democrats”. Nancy sent them all to obedience school.

    • SK,

      Well at least my boy Shuler stuck to his guns and voted no. One of only 7 Democrats who did.

  12. lingeringmethane says:

    This is a total violation on the first amendment and assault on my civil liberties. There is not enough going on in this country and/or world that the left wing Nazi’s really have time to worry about this?! Monday when Barry signs H.R. 1 we will be at our weakest in our countrys’ history as we will be in debt up to our greatgrand childrens eye balls to countries that hate us. Who’s been watching the wall?
    They don’t want this fight I will bring it, and about 40 million others will do the same, they know this
    I think this is again another smoke screen to get our eyes of of what the real agenda is. Just like we were supposed to have 48 hours to look at the bill, they don’t want us to find out what is in it. This is a tactic we just have to find out what the real mission is

  13. I too am totally disgusted with this and most everything else our new socialist president is doing.

    As far as “The Fairness Doctrine” is concerned, isn’t Debbie Stabenow’s husband directly involved with Air America Media? This in itself is a conflict of interest and negates anything she has to say. This is just another line item on a long wish list that the Leberals have been compiling for a long time. They know their time in power is numbered but they figure they can pass all this legislation in record time and not be seen for what it really is.

    I said it when all of the power in Washington was shaping up to their side. I said to my conservative friends, “There is a silver lining to this.” There will be noone to point at to blame except themselves. And my friends that is where “OUR” chance will be to take back our country and fix the mess they have created.

    We must stand together and fight every ridiculus thing they do. You know this is not the only “Stimulus Bill” that is planned don’t you?

    Sorry for the rant, but I am Fedup.

  14. Bill Monroe says:

    What a refreshing break from the frothing at Fox blogs ! So tired of the old chants and mantras from both sides about the past eight years, the Clinton times, etc.
    There is something very much wrong going on in our country; seems everything must be done right now, no time to discuss or plan a logical and verifiable response. Too many appointees with issues of taxes, etc. The matter of the Senator from Illinois now ‘recalling’ things he forgot during the hearings. We all know if they had been Republicans the outcome would be very different. One has to be scared of any Supreme Court appointees from the President, or any Federal judges for that matter.
    I submit the push for the ‘Fairness Doctrine’ is a piece of a plan to neutralize any attempt to expose the other side of this Administrations’ intentions thereby making their agenda virtually assured of passage.
    Why was the stimulus nonsense rushed through ? Remember last year we had to ‘do it now’ for the TARP fiasco, and what has happened with that so far ?
    We all need to take a step back and take a breath and see where are we and where are we going.
    Thanks for the invite


  15. US,

    I would like to read the stimulus bill that was just passed. I’ve heard alot of things about it and would like the opportunity to look at it and form my own opinion as well as learn more about how our legislators are earning our money. Any suggestions on where I can go to see this document?

  16. Funny, the Rights are always complaining that the news media is left-leaning, and conservative views don’t have a chance, but the writer of the article is claiming that the reason the Lefts can’t squeeze into the talk radio market is because they have a product nobody wants to buy. So which is it? Are the majority of people left-leaning and consuming main-stream media, or are the majority conservative talk radio listeners?

    • USWeapon says:

      Well, Dean, you obviously have only a rudimentary understanding of how media works. While you are busy trying to convince yourself of how clever your response is, you miss the fact that what I wrote in the article is backed up by the fact that the left has failed miserably in talk radio. Ask Air America. The left can get no hold in talk radio because they don’t have what the radio listening public is looking for. Can you tell me a left talk radio organization or show that has made it financially?

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