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Senate Votes To Ban Fairness Doctrine

(AP Photo/Gary He)
By an overwhelming majority, the Senate has voted to keep federal regulators from reinstituting the Fairness Doctrine, which required that there be ideological balance on public airwaves.

The Associated Press reports that the 87-11 vote – added to a bill giving Congressional voting representation to District of Columbia residents – comes amid a push for such a move from conservative radio talk show hosts. They are worried that Democrats will try to bring back the doctrine, which was in place from 1949 to 1987.

Reinstating the doctrine, they argue, would destroy their industry because radio stations that now largely air conservative talk shows would be forced to air liberal shows – which are not as popular and thus not as profitable. That would lead stations to air neither conservative nor liberal shows, they say.

The vote comes despite the fact that President Obama has said he will not seek to reinstate the doctrine, which Sen. Mitch McConnell characterized as "government control over political speech." The measure will now be considered in the House of Representatives.

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