GOP introduces bill to fight nonexistent enemy

Republicans' battle to stop the return of the Fairness Doctrine continues, even though no one really wants to bring it back.

By Alex Koppelman

Published January 8, 2009 3:00PM (EST)

It's a good thing there are no really important problems the country has to deal with. That frees up Congress to worry about things like the possible return of the Fairness Doctrine, even though there's almost no chance it actually will return anytime soon.

The Fairness Doctrine was an FCC regulation that required broadcasters to provide equal time for opposing viewpoints. It was killed during the Reagan adminstration -- over the objections of the left, actually -- but over the past couple years, the right has been continuously sounding the alarm, saying its return might be imminent. They worry that it would cripple conservative talk radio.

So on Wednesday, several Republican members of Congress introduced a bill that would prevent the FCC from reimposing the rule without an act of Congress. Of course, the legislation is almost certainly unnecessary -- President-elect Barack Obama opposes the return of the doctrine, and somehow the Clinton administration managed to go eight years during Rush Limbaugh's prime without ever moving to bring it back.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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