President Obama's nominee to chair the Federal Communications Commission told a Senate committee that he does not favor a return to the Fairness Doctrine, which would require broadcast stations to give equal air time to proponents of opposing political views.
In his testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee Tuesday, Julius Genachowski said he doesn't believe the FCC should be involved in censoring political speech.
Conservatives have long feared that a Democratic president and a Democrat-controlled Congress would join forces to reimpose the Fairness Doctrine in an effort to shut down conservative political speech - especially talk radio, where conservative commentators dominate the ratings of the listening The law was eliminated by Congress 22 years ago.
Genachowski, who is a friend of President Obama from their days at Harvard Law School, has kept a low profile on the issue. He has received little opposition to his nomination and is likely to win a Senate vote to confirm him as the next FCC Chairman.
Even if the Obama Administration and Congress don't launch an all-out effort to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine, some conservative media experts believe there could be a stealth campaign to limit conservative speech by imposing "media diversity" regulations, such as issuing broacast licenses by the employment of "content boards" at the local level.
If such content boards were dominated by groups such as the ACLU and other activist groups, they could conceivably file constant complaints with the FCC against broadcasters with conservative views, forcing them into a perpetual self-defense mode before the federal government.
Sources: The Wall Street Journal, Media Research Center