The top Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee want the Federal Communications Commission to kill the fairness doctrine once and for all.
The doctrine requires broadcasters to air opposing points of view but the FCC ruled in 1987 that it would stop enforcing it. Republicans in recent years, however, have voiced concern that the FCC may try to revive the rule in some way, citing past comments from FCC Associate General Counsel Mark Lloyd on the doctrine and his criticisms that talk radio is not balanced.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has said that he does not support reinstatement of the fairness doctrine.
Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., wrote Genachowski on Tuesday to urge him to formally remove from the Code of Federal Regulations the doctrine and rules allowing for those who are attacked by a broadcaster's editorial to respond on air. They pointed to President Obama's recent executive order asking agencies to abandon unwarranted regulations and noted that the chairman has directed the agency to follow the order even though it does not apply to the FCC.
"The Fairness Doctrine, political-editorial and personal attack rules would seem like and easy place to start since the FCC has already abandoned them based on the principles you say you continue to support," Upton and Walden wrote.
They called on Genachowski to reply by Friday on whether he will comply with their request and to provide an estimate on how long it will take him to remove the rules.