June 29, 2007

Coleman, Thune To Block Fairness Doctrine In Senate

Yesterday, Mike Pence won bipartisan approval for his amendment blocking the FCC from reinstating the Fairness Doctrine. That amendment is attached to the appropriation for the agency, which requires a companion amendment in the Senate. Just a few moments ago, Senators Norm Coleman and John Thune announced that they have proposed an identical amendment in the Senate:

In an effort to prevent Democrats from suppressing the right to free speech for talk radio and other broadcasters, Senators Norm Coleman (R-MN), Jim DeMint (R-SC) and John Thune (R-SD) today introduced the Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2007 (S.1748). The bill would prevent the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from reinstituting the Fairness Doctrine, which would require the government to monitor political views and decide what constitutes fair political discourse. Identical legislation was also introduced by Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN) in the House of the Representatives.

“At its core, this is about the right to free speech. Our founders put the first amendment first for a reason. It protects all Americans’ right to free speech, regardless of political affiliation or views. The Democrats’ attempt to regulate and stifle ideas is a grave threat our liberties,” said Senator Coleman. “Since the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, talk radio has flourished due to free market ideas. We mustn’t put the government in control over the political views expressed on the public airwaves. I applaud Congressman Pence for being a leader on this issue. Senators DeMint, Thune and I will continue working with our colleagues in the Senate to pass this critical legislation.”

“Here they go again. Democrats showed in the immigration debate they will once again try resurrect the so-called 'Fairness Doctrine', which is nothing more than an attempt to muzzle the free speech of conservative Americans. If liberals had their way, this unfair doctrine would give the heavy hand of government control over talk radio. We must act now to preserve all American's first amendment rights,” said Senator DeMint.

Power Line noted today that Dick Durbin and Dianne Feinstein have inadvertently given the Republicans an opportunity to rehabilitate themselves with their base after the immigration debacle. Attacking talk radio and threatening regulation of political content doesn't just resonate with conservatives, but with everyone concerned about government meddling with political speech. The GOP sees the opportunity to champion free speech while painting the Democrats as afraid and unable to respond to debate.

If Harry Reid and the Senate Democratic Caucus have an ounce of sense, they'll take a lesson from Jose Serrano and allow the amendment to prevail.


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Comments (14)

Posted by bulbasaur | June 29, 2007 3:34 PM

If democrats are this feckless in battling republicans, how in the world can we expect them to keep America safe from terrorism?

Posted by John O | June 29, 2007 4:03 PM

If Coleman is so committed to free speech, why doesn't he sponsor a bill to repeal BCRA?

Posted by Del Dolemonte | June 29, 2007 4:17 PM

Problem is, Harry Reid does NOT have an ounce of sense.

He's full of nonsense (and also full of something else, but this is a family program).

Posted by docjim505 | June 29, 2007 4:23 PM

Remember, everybody: the Fairness Doctrine isn't about muzzling free speech. It's about preventing nasty ol' media conglomerates from taking over the airwaves! Democrats LOOOOVE free speech, and they're committed to making sure that it stays free by putting it under complete government control.


As for the Republicans in the Senate mending fences with the base, they've got a helluva lot of mending to do. I can think of one fence several hundred miles southwest of here where they can start.

Posted by Philip | June 29, 2007 4:58 PM

awh...but I like watching Harry Reid get his @$$ kicked.

Posted by Bill Faith | June 29, 2007 5:09 PM

But, but, but... Trent and Teddy already had their Comprehensive Bipartisan Omnibus Bill To Clean Up Talk Radio And The Internet half written! Surely no one wants all that work to go to waste! I excerpted and linked.

Posted by GarandFan | June 29, 2007 6:59 PM

I can only hope and pray that the Dems will go forth to slay the demons of talk radio. Hopefully, Professor Dean will make it part of a national platform. It's a logical extension of what they tried under the guise of "union reform". Wonder if the Professor would be interested in a tan uniform with jack boots?

Posted by Dale | June 29, 2007 8:36 PM

Using Harry Reid and sense in the same sentence is an outrage

Posted by Steve | June 29, 2007 9:44 PM

Dear Captain,

I beg you to reconsider the title of your article. As a South Carolinian, isn't being saddled with the reality of Lindsay Graham enough? We need all the positive recognition we can get to compensate, and Jim Demint is doing a great job.

Posted by Dave | June 29, 2007 10:40 PM

What I find truly aggravating is that such a law is necessary in the first place. It just goes to show how far we've allowed things to go. The Constitution does not say "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, except when they can think of a good enough reason."

Posted by Dave | June 29, 2007 11:06 PM

What I find truly aggravating is that such a law is necessary in the first place. It just goes to show how far we've allowed things to go. The Constitution does not say "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, except when they can think of a good enough reason."

Posted by negentropy | June 29, 2007 11:41 PM

simple. conservative talk show hosts can purchase a bunch of tote bags from NPR. Consider it 'liberal offsets'

Posted by Pike Hunter | June 29, 2007 11:46 PM

South Dakota Rocks! Go Thune! A true conservative.

Posted by Charles Maxwell | June 30, 2007 8:02 AM

I pray that the Democrats will push the Fairness Doctrine as hard as they can. Watch and see what happens. It will be a beautiful thing. If you think the public revolt against the immigration bill was strong, you haven't seen anything yet! Talk radio did a superb job of informing the public of the sneaky ways the congression bullies tried to pull the wool over out eyes. Now it's talk radio's chance to defend its own best interest!! Here comes the steam roller and I want to be on it, not under it! The Democrats will surely be under it and that's a good think!