Fairness Doctrine would threaten Christian stations, author says

Christian radio and television stations had better watch out — the government might get them. So says conservative author Brad O’Leary.

He spoke out at the Heritage Foundation Wednesday against the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine, a defunct Federal Communications Commission rule that would require equal attention to both sides of controversial issues in broadcast editorial content.

Although there is no formal bill in Congress, O’Leary still wrote a book warning of the rule’s potential dangers.

“Talk radio is under attack,” said O’Leary, a Catholic. “Christian radio is under attack. And even the Internet is under attack.”

In his book, O’Leary wrote that the doctrine could require Christian stations to give equal time to  activists who support keeping abortion legal, same-sex marriage activists, environmental rights activists and people of other faiths opposite supporters of Christian theology and religious principles.

“The medium would die a quick death,” he wrote.

9 Responses

  1. If this is so, then wouldn’t secular stations have to reciprocate by giving equal time to pro-life issues and representatives?

  2. I don’t know what the ins and outs of this law would be, but it sounds reasonable to me. After all, how can you justify the Catholic side of an argument without comparing it to the other side? Also, wouldn’t you want other news agencies to give equal time to the Catholic side of an argument? On a side note, what do you think the Church has against environmental activists?

  3. Kerry, it’s not a matter of simply presenting the opposing viewpoint. It’s a matter of Christian stations having to actively allow that viewpoint to be promoted.

    As for environmental activists, it’s not that the Church has anything against them per se, for we are all called to be steward of God’s creation. Rather, too often these activists place the environment and animals at an equal if not greater level of dignity. Case in point, PETA will complain about the president swatting a fly, but will say nothing about the dignity of the unborn humans.

  4. In terms of public media diversity of opinion is fine but we don’t find equal time, instead we find the marginalizing of views supporting Church teaching. On June 12, the PBS show “Now” (formerly with Bill Moyers) devoted most of its half-hour to smearing the pro-life movement as a vicious band of terrorists. They hailed two men who abort babies into the ninth month, Dr. Warren Hern of Colorado and Dr. Leroy Carhart of Nebraska. Reporter Maria Hinojosa briefly noted at one point that pro-life groups issued press releases denouncing Dr. Tiller’s murder. But those words were lies, claimed the abortionists. Despite the noxious theme that describing abortion as the death of a baby enables terrorism, no one , not a single professional in the pro-life movement was granted the courtesy of an interview by PBS. So why would anyone think there will be equal time granted under the Obama adminestration’s watch?

  5. Who watches the watchmen? In light of the comments I have read above I would say that I would fear a government selectively enforcing this doctrine

  6. It’s hard to believe that they would implement a rule like that.

    If you had a radio programme that condemned the third reich and the holocaust, would you have to give air time to opposite views?

    God Bless,

  7. Father Maximillian Kolbe went to the camps for speaking out regarding this similar thing.

    No matter how things change they stay the same.

    Yes we can listen to both sides but as Catholics we cannot pick an choose we have to go by what the Magisterium teaches.

    That is what Jesus taught which is in the Bible and our learning tool the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    You can write the FCC and tell them to leave our stations and TV programs alone as along as they are respectful and peaceful.

    I wrote a few years ago when the atheists were going to try to get rid of Jesus’ TV station EWTN and other Christian broadcasting programs.

    Its just coming around again.

    So write your representatives of the FCC or your Congressman and tell them to peacefully and respectfully leave our stations alone as long as they are applying Freedom of Speech properly.

    Every time you get a liberal President this nonsense always crops up its called power play.

    BE PEACEFUL AND RESPECTFUL WHEN YOU SPEAK OUT BUT FIRM OTHERWISE YOU LOOSE OUT.

  8. I think the worries on this are a phantom. Indeed, Rush Limbaugh would have to start inviting liberals on his show, and Howard Stern would need to give air time to people with class and dignity.

    That said, I do think that Christian media people have an obligation above the notion of a secular doctrine to be fair. If there’s an objection to giving air-time to, for example, a person who doesn’t believe abortion ends a human life, then the least we can do is not attempt to put others’ arguments into our own words so as to more easily knock them down.

    It might be that Christian radio should seek out sensible voices and viewpoints contrary to what we teach and believe to test our mettle, as it were, and to show that we have nothing to fear from engaging the vital issues of our culture in an open way. If we don’t believe we can accomplish that, then perhaps the modern communications media aren’t the way to go for us anyway.

  9. Broadcast media was required to follow this doctrine for many years and it did not hurt our country.

    When it was abolished the talk airwaves were then taken over by the Limbaughs and what has become known as HATE radio.

    There is so much outright misinformation floating around now put out by talk radio, religious television and right wing blogs that no real christian should be able to accept it’s existence.

    Hate spewing talking heads seek to inflame the ignorant or just easily lead with seemingly atrocious yet nonexistent facts that often enable the overly obsessive to commit acts of violence.

    There is so much hate speech against our president right now and most of it is outright LIES.
    What purpose does misleading people with lies serve? What true christian would do this?

    The answer is that we have raised a generation of people to whom winning at any cost trumps the truth. Winning is all that matters.

    We have so called christians who believe a little lie is ok to achieve a goal. A half truth is ok to make a point. Threatening a stranger is ok because we didn’t really mean for someone to kill anybody. Repeating a rumor known to be a lie is ok because we’re not really hurting anyone.

    Return of a fairness doctrine wouldn’t bother real religious stations because there aren’t that many people who would apply to respond. It’s the over the top rightwing radio and tv stations who are frightened. They cross the line everyday with spin, innuendo, distortions and lies misleading millions of Americans and helping to create the vicious divide now encompassing our country. They do it every day and they know it.

    I spent a good part of my life in broadcast media so I know of what I speak.

    I met a young Jeff Christie of KQV-FM in Pittsburgh in the late 70’s. He was a depressed, neurotic and angry person who abused substances and was a loner who eventually was fired.

    You know him now as Rush Limbaugh. He has spent the last 20+ years trying to get back at all the people he felt wronged him so many years ago when he was repeatedly fired from every station he worked at until his magic emergence as the angry voice you now know. He tells his listeners repeatedly that they don’t need to read or inform themselves because he’ll tell them what to think and laughably most of them believe his rantings and repeat them. He laughs all the way to the bank as you attempt to fight a law that would force him to speak more truthfully and hurt his profits.

    No true christian would espouse this abomination.

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