Greg Walden launches effort to get broadcast freedom vote

On promises not to interfere with talk radio, Walden wants it in writing

WASHINGTON, D.C. “” Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) introduced a resolution today that would provide a floor vote on the Walden-Pence Broadcaster Freedom Amendment, which would bar funding for the so-called Fairness Doctrine and proposed FCC rules that subject political and faith-based radio and TV stations to strict government oversight. It is not clear when a vote will be held on Walden’s resolution. The Democratic Majority can set the time for consideration at any point within two business days of the intent being provided.
On Tuesday, Walden and Congressman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) were blocked by Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s leadership from offering their amendment for a full up-or-down vote on the House floor. Walden’s effort this morning could give the House an opportunity to override the block.

“The assurances from Democrats in power in Washington, D.C. to just “˜trust’ them that they won’t launch a government takeover of the airwaves is not good enough,” Walden said. “I’ve learned that in Washington, D.C., you better get it in writing. That’s why I want to give the full House the opportunity to vote for free speech. Time and again, Speaker Pelosi’s leadership won’t give us the opportunity to even hold a vote. What is the harm in taking a vote?”

Many prominent Democrats in Washington, D.C. have expressed support new controls on talk radio, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator John Kerry, Senator Jeff Bingaman, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senator Tom Harkin, Congressman Dennis Kucinich, and Congressman Maurice Hinchey.

Two years ago, a similar amendment passed the House with the support of 309 members, including 115 Democrats.

A summary of the Walden-Pence Broadcaster Freedom Amendment and the resolution Walden used to try to bring the amendment up for a vote today are both attached.

Quotes on the record from Democrats in support of government censorship:

Speaker Pelosi

Reporter (at a Christian Science Monitor-hosted event): “Do you personally support revival of the “˜Fairness Doctrine?'”
Speaker Pelosi: “Yes.”
June 25, 2008, Human Events

Senator Bingaman

VILLANUCCI: You would want this radio station to have to change?

BINGAMAN: I would. I would want this station and all stations to have to present a balanced perspective and different points of view instead of hammering on one side”¦ All I’m saying is for many, many years were operated under a Fairness Doctrine in this country. I think the country was well-served. I think the public discussion was at a higher level and more intelligent in those days that it has become since.

Oct. 23, 2008,

Senator Stabenow

BILL PRESS: So, is it time to bring back the Fairness Doctrine?

STABENOW: I think it’s absolutely time to pass a standard. Now, whether it’s called the Fairness Standard, whether it’s called something else “” I absolutely think it’s time to be bringing accountability to the airwaves. I mean, our new president has talked rightly about accountability and transparency. You know, that we all have to step up and be responsible. And, I think in this case, there needs to be some accountability and standards put in place.

PRESS: Can we count on you to push for some hearings in the United States Senate this year, to bring these owners in and hold them accountable?

STABENOW: I have already had some discussions with colleagues and, you know, I feel like that’s gonna happen. Yep.

Feb. 5, 2009, Bill Press radio show

President Clinton

“Well, you either ought to have the Fairness Doctrine or we ought to have more balance on the other side, because essentially there’s always been a lot of big money to support the right wing talk shows and let face it, you know, Rush Limbaugh is fairly entertaining even when he is saying things that I think are ridiculous….”

Feb. 12, 2009,

Senator Durbin

“It’s time to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). “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.”
June 27, 2007 The Hill

Senator Feinstein

Feinstein says she is “looking at” reviving the Fairness Doctrine. She wants to bring it back because she thinks “one-sided programming” pushes the American people into “extreme views.
June 27, 2007 The Hill

Sen. Dianne Feinstein told “FOX News Sunday” that she was reviewing the Fairness Doctrine because “talk radio is overwhelmingly one way.”
June 24, 2007 Fox News

Senator Kerry

“I think the Fairness Doctrine ought to be there and I also think equal time doctrine ought to come back. I mean these are the people who wiped out one of the most profound changes in the balance of the media is when the conservatives got rid of the equal time requirements. And the result is that, you know, they’ve been able to squeeze down and squeeze out opinion of opposing views and I think it’s been an important transition in the imbalance of our public”¦”
June 26, 2007 Bryan Lehrer radio show

Congressman Hinchey

Rep. Maurice Hinchey tells The Washington Times that the Democrat is planning to reintroduce a bill that calls for a return to the doctrine, saying “The American people should have a wide array of news sources available to them.”
June 22, 2007, NPR

Congressman Kucinich

In January, Democrat presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich announced that he was going to pursue the Fairness Doctrine through his Government Reform Subcommittee. That announcement was greeted with silence. But now, Pelosi has moved things to the front burner.
May 14, 2007 American Spectator

Senator Harkin

“By the way, I read your Op-Ed in the Washington Post the other day. I ripped it out, I took it into my office and said ‘there you go, we gotta get the Fairness Doctrine back in law again. “¦ Exactly, and that’s why we need the fair — that’s why we need the Fairness Doctrine back.”
Feb. 11, 2009, Bill Press radio show