Is a New Fairness Doctrine Necessary?

Limbaugh stokes debate on talk radio. Is it too conservative? Should the government mandate fairness?

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The Rush Limbaugh controversy has stoked the debate about talk radio. Some argue that it is too conservative and that government must enforce balance on the airwaves. Others say the market should set programming. Is a new fairness doctrine needed?
Edited by Robert Schlesinger

Yes

With a Democrat in the White House, radio station owners around the country are rushing to

By Bill Press
Emmy Award-winning host of the Bill Press Show, syndicated columnist, and former cohost of CNN’S Crossfire

reflect the new direction of American politics by adding more liberal talk show hosts to their daily lineup. Right?

Wrong. On March 16, Cumulus Broadcasting flipped WLBY AM 1290 in Ann Arbor, Mich., from progressive talk to canned financial advice. Next month, Clear Channel is expected to drop progressive talk on giant 940 WINZ-AM in Miami...

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No

The history of the fairness doctrine—and of the industry it once regulated—is all the evidence

By Jim DeMint
U.S. senator from South Carolina and chairman of the Republican Senate Steering Committee

needed to discard it and similar fed­eral policies forever.

When it was imposed in 1949, there were 51 television stations and about 1,500 radio stations in the United States. Because relatively few broadcast hours were devoted to public affairs, the doctrine aimed to ensure that “equal time” was devoted to both sides of contro­versial...

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