FREE SPEECH -- The San Francisco Peninsula Press Club reports that Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, told the print-only Palo Alto Daily Post yesterday she will work not only to restore the Fairness Doctrine but to have it apply not only to radio and TV broadcasting but to cable and satellite programming as well, over which the Federal Communications Commission has never had jurisdiction to regulate programming, since use of the public airwaves is not involved.
Her statement prompted P.J. Gladnick, writing in NewsBusters, to comment, "Wow! Talk about over the edge. Will Eshoo next institute the "Fairness Doctrine" to private conversations? Talk about not being an advocate of free speech." He noted a report in Broadcasting & Cable magazine that House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), said today he is concerned about Eshoo's statement and called on President-elect Barack Obama to speak out against any congressional effort to "limit free speech."
The trade journal reported last June that candidate Obama had no interest in resurrecting the doctrine.
The Illinois senators top aide said the issue continues to be used as a distraction from more pressing media business.
"Sen. Obama does not support reimposing the Fairness Doctrine on broadcasters," press secretary Michael Ortiz said in an e-mail to B&C late Wednesday.
"He considers this debate to be a distraction from the conversation we should be having about opening up the airwaves and modern communications to as many diverse viewpoints as possible," Ortiz added. "That is why Sen. Obama supports media-ownership caps, network neutrality, public broadcasting, as well as increasing minority ownership of broadcasting and print outlets."