November 4, 2008
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday defended the so-called Fairness Doctrine in an interview on Fox News, saying, “I think we should all be fair and balanced, don’t you?”
Schumer’s comments echo other Democrats’ views on reviving the Fairness Doctrine, which would require radio stations to balance conservative hosts with liberal ones.
Asked if he is a supporter of telling radio stations what content they should have, Schumer used the fair and balanced line, claiming that critics of the Fairness Doctrine are being inconsistent.
“The very same people who don’t want the Fairness Doctrine want the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] to limit pornography on the air. I am for that… But you can’t say government hands off in one area to a commercial enterprise but you are allowed to intervene in another. That’s not consistent.”
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
In 2007, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a close ally of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) told The Hill, “It’s time to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine. I have this old-fashioned attitude that when Americans hear both sides of the story, they’re in a better position to make a decision.”
Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) last year said, “I believe very strongly that the airwaves are public and people use these airwaves for profit. But there is a responsibility to see that both sides and not just one side of the big public questions of debate of the day are aired and are aired with some modicum of fairness.”
Conservatives fear that forcing stations to make equal time for liberal talk radio would cut into profits so significantly that radio executives would opt to scale back on conservative radio programming to avoid escalating costs and interference from the FCC.
They also note that conservative radio shows has been far more successful than liberal ones.
In his Fox interview, Schumer, who heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, also weighed in on the election, predicting that Democrats will end up with between 56 and 58 seats in the Senate.
He also defended “card check” legislation, claiming there is a strong need to allow workers a private ballot to register their votes on whether to organize a union.
Schumer said “there has to be some counter” to the leverage businesses have, claiming “employers have every leg up on people who want to organize and that’s why union workers have gone down from about 25 percent to 6 percent [in the private sector].”
Business groups adamantly oppose the card check bill, which passed the House and fell short of the necessary votes to overcome a filibuster in the Senate.