Seriously, folks: The fairness doctrine isn't coming back

Once again, the right's fears are shot down -- so have they been convinced?

By Alex Koppelman

Published June 17, 2009 4:30PM (EDT)

In a move to silence opposition, liberals are plotting to bring back the Fairness Doctrine, the old FCC regulation that mandated equal time for opposing viewpoints on the public airwaves. Of course, they didn't do it during the Clinton administration, or in the three years since Democrats retook Congress, and President Obama opposes it while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office is totally dismissive of the idea. But still -- any day now, it's coming back.

At least, that's been the buzz in conservative circles for some time now, and no amount of evidence to the contrary has been able to stop it. So naturally, when Julius Genachowski, Obama's nominee to head the FCC, came before a Senate panel, he got a question about whether he's part of the lefty plot. Turns out he's not.

"No, senator, I don't support reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine," Genachowski said in response to a question from Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas. "I feel strongly about the First Amendment and I don't think the FCC should be involved in censorship of content based on political speech."

If anyone believes this will stop the panicked warnings about the doctrine's imminent return, I have a couple radio stations I'd like to sell you.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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