Inhofe Introduces Legislation to end the Fairness Doctrine

“The Fairness Doctrine represents a serious threat to free speech…”

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), after being sworn-in to his third full term, hit the ground running today, introducing legislation (S.62) to prevent the FCC from reinstating the Fairness Doctrine.  Senator Inhofe has been one of the most vocal opponents in Congress of the so-called “Fairness Doctrine,” an attempt to regulate free speech on our nation’s airwaves.
“The Fairness Doctrine represents a serious threat to free speech and muzzles the expression of opinion,” Senator Inhofe said.  “It is a dangerous maneuver to enact more government ‘policing’ on our airwaves. Now, with Democrats in the control of the House, Senate and White House, the threat of its reenactment is more real than ever.
“The content of talk radio shows is market driven; it’s simple supply and demand. If more people want to listen to a certain type of talk radio, then those programs will be sustained by advertising, donations, and other sources.  It is clear that the Democrats fear the growing audience for conservative talk radio.  If the demand for liberal programming were greater, perhaps there would be more shows with that content.
“I, for one, believe that issues and ideas, like candidates for public office, must stand on their own merits.   In the marketplace of ideas, consumers will make the final decision on what is ‘fair.’”

The Fairness Doctrine was a regulation by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to require FCC-licensed broadcasters to provide contrasting viewpoints on controversial issues, but was repealed in 1987.
Senator Inhofe first brought to light the growing movement by Congressional Democrats to re-instate the Fairness Doctrine in 2007, and helped lead the fight to ensure that Americans’ First Amendment rights of free speech remained intact.  He also fought to defeat an amendment by Sen. Harkin (D-Iowa) to the 2006 Defense Reauthorization Bill that would have regulated the content of programming available to our troops overseas.  In the 110th Congress, Senator Inhofe co-sponsored S.1748, the Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2007, which would forbid the FCC from reinstating the Fairness Doctrine.