Within the last couple of hours, the United States Senate approved an amendment that would outlaw the Fairness Doctrine. The amendment passed by a wide margin, with only 11 senators voting against.
But, another amendment that could effectively cause the same type of issues for local broadcasters who offer nationally syndicated programs also passed by a closer margin.
From Fox News…
The Senate approved an amendment Thursday that would outlaw the so-called “Fairness Doctrine,” an off-the-books policy that once required broadcasters to air opposing viewpoints on controversial issues.
Republican Sen. Jim DeMint’s amendment passed by a wide margin of 87-to-11. The South Carolina senator had attached his proposal, called the Broadcaster Freedom Act, to a bill to give the District of Columbia a voting representative in the House.
It’s unclear whether the amendment will survive as Congress debates the voting rights bill. But the measure served to effectively put the Senate on record as opposing a revival of the Fairness Doctrine.
However, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin also won approval for an alternate amendment that would order the Federal Communications Commission to encourage radio ownership “diversity.”
A DeMint aide said Durbin’s measure will “impose the Fairness Doctrine through the back door by trying to break up radio ownership.”
The aide called the Durbin proposal “an attempt to break up companies like Clear Channel and hurt their syndications and therefore putting many local radio stations out of business that depend on those syndicated shows for revenue.”