Journalists Oppose Fairness Doctrine

While only a handful of Democrats support reinstituting the Fairness Doctrine, conservatives have been using the prospect of its return as a means of scaring their followers and raising money. The Fairness Doctrine is essentially a non-issue being promoted by conservative talk radio. These are the people who generally look down on what they see as the liberal media. I wonder how they feel about receiving this support:

The nation’s largest organization of professional journalists announced Tuesday it will oppose the reintroduction of the Fairness Doctrine.

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) announced it would stand against the Fairness Doctrine, which the group said would allow the government to control broadcast editorial content.

The announcement makes for strange bedfellows with conservatives in Congress, who have alleged the Fairness Doctrine would result in severe constraints on their talk radio base, including superstars like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

“SPJ in general opposes government intervention on speech. The Fairness Doctrine does that and discussion about having it again should end,” SPJ President Dave Aeikens said in a statement. “The SPJ Code of Ethics requires fairness in news coverage, but we don’t want the government to mandate that.”


  1. 1
    GB says:

    At last!  Bipartisanship. Who’d a thunk it? Maybe we can get a consensus on some more of the most outrageous conservative fears/fantasies. Personally, I can support the continued use of the Dollar as our currency, and oppose the formation of FEMA  concentration camps.

  2. 2
    Christopher Skyi says:

    Well, pursuing “fairness” is still very much in fashion — I’d like to see the SPJ get involved in this:

    From the World Copywriting Blog:

    Testimonial Tamp-Down: Is a golden age of marketing about to come to a screeching halt?

    Uh-oh. New rules now being considered by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission could put a whole new spin on how marketers can use testimonials.
    And make it a whole lot harder to sell anything and everything in print, on radio, or with video.
    Testimonials would not become illegal. But anytime an advertiser talked about extreme results, they would have to give equal time to describing “typical results.”
    “The tougher rules, the first update to the guidelines [about testimonials] since 1980, are designed to make it easier for consumers to judge the credibility of marketers’ claims,” writes The Chicago Tribune. “The changes would affect all forms of advertising and marketing, including blogs and company Web sites. The FTC could bring legal action against firms that don’t comply.”
    This could have serious consequences for businesses that depend entirely on results obtained by outliers — people at the very front of the bell curve, the exceptional achievers — to hold up as inspiring examples to sell their products.  Such businesses could disappear from the landscape entirely.

    For the rest of us,
    it may be a signal to roll up our sleeves, hunt down the works of John E. Kennedy and the other old masters of copywriting, and learn to work much harder to sell with the written word.
    As someone who was born in Washington, DC (and now lives just about as far away from there as you can get while still living in the continental U.S.), it consistently amuses and amazes me:
    Look at the claims, promises and assertions made by the good folks who run for public office.  Like: The President, Vice President, and Members of Congress.
    If they were held to one-tenth the “truth in advertising” standards that the businesses who overtly and covertly fund their campaigns are, well, we would be an ungoverned nation because nobody would vote for nobody.
    Ah… isn’t life ironic?
    Thanks to Jon Keel and Perry Marshall for bringing the FTC news to my attention.
    Source for details about the FTC proposed regulations, which are “widely expected to be adopted”:
    Chicago Tribune, March 20, 2009

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