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Rep. Pitts Opposes Government Censorship Of Media

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Location: Washington, DC

<br>Rep. Pitts Opposes Government Censorship of Media

Congressman Joe Pitts (R-PA) released the following statement today after Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) said during an interview that she would be pushing for reinstatement of the so-called Fairness Doctrine as a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Congressman Pitts' statement follows:

“The fairness doctrine makes no sense in today's media environment. The Internet, satellite radio, podcasts, and other formats have exponentially increased the number of viewpoints that can be heard. The only possible motivation for bringing it back is to censor voices Democrats don't like. Proof is easy to find. Even though this is an issue that seems ideologically neutral, every single proponent of it is a liberal Democrat.”

Background

During an interview with the Palo Alto Daily Post, Rep. Eshoo—who, like Rep. Pitts, serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee—said, “I'll work on bringing it back. I still believe in it.” According to a post on the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club website, “Eshoo said she would recommend the doctrine be applied not only to radio and TV broadcasts, but also to cable and satellite services. ‘It should and will affect everyone,' she said.”

The so-called Fairness Doctrine was first applied during the 1940s, when the only available broadcast media were a couple of stops on the radio dial. At the time, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enforced the Fairness Doctrine, which required radio journalists to provide equal time to opposing points. This subjective notion of equal time for opposing points of view often led broadcast journalists to steer clear of the most controversial issues of the day.

In 1985, the FCC made the determination that the Fairness Doctrine was no longer justified due to the “multiplicity of voices in the marketplace.” In fact, when the Commission got rid of the Fairness Doctrine, its report included a comment that the doctrine “in operation, actually inhibit[ed] the presentation of controversial issues of public importance to the detriment of the public and in degradation of the editorial prerogative of broadcast journalists.”


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