Committee Leaders Urge FCC to Suspend Work on “Fairness Doctrine 2.0”

December 10, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders, along with every Republican member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, today wrote to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler urging him to suspend the Federal Communications Commission’s efforts to conduct a field study that could lead to a revival of the Fairness Doctrine. Members cited similar concerns with respect to the original Fairness Doctrine and committee leaders urged then FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to remove the statute from the Code of Federal Regulations in 2011. The doctrine was eliminated in August 2011.

“Given the widespread calls for the commission to respect the First Amendment and stay out of the editorial decisions of reporters and broadcasters, we were shocked to see that the FCC is putting itself back in the business of attempting to control the political speech of journalists. It is wrong, it is unconstitutional, and we urge you to put a stop to this most recent attempt to engage the FCC as the ‘news police,’” wrote the members. “The commission has no business probing the news media’s editorial judgment and expertise, nor does it have any business in prescribing a set diet of ‘critical information.’ These goals are plainly inappropriate and are at bottom an incursion by the government into the constitutionally protected operations of the professional news media.”

The members concluded, “The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is the beacon of freedom that makes the United States unique among the world’s nations.  We urge you to take immediate steps to suspend this effort and find ways that are consistent with the Communications Act and the Constitution to serve the commission’s statutory responsibilities.”

To read the entire letter, click here.

The letter was signed by the following members:

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI)
Energy and Commerce Committee Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX)
Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR)
Communications and Technology Subcommittee Vice Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH)
Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL)
Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE)
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI)
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)
Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ)
Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY)
Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO)
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS)
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)
Rep. Billy Long (R-MO)
Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC)

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