Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) Attempts to Build Coalition to Reverse FCC Ownership Ruling through Discharge Petition

WASHINGTON – Liberal Rep. Maurice Hinchey, one of the leading proponents of reinstating the so-called "Fairness Doctrine," will lead the charge in the House of Representatives to force a vote on a rare "resolution of disapproval," reversing the Federal Communications Commission\’s (FCC) June 2 ruling deregulating media ownership.

On the front page of the Sept. 23 issue of The Hill, Rep. Hinchey was interviewed about his upcoming effort to gather support in the House of Representatives for a discharge petition on a resolution of disapproval that would reverse the FCC\’s June 2 Media Ownership Review, in which the Commission voted to relax the limits on television station ownership. The Senate passed a similar measure last week, 55-40. The resolution of disapproval, if passed by the House, would likely be the first step in a re-regulatory agenda that would eventually result in a return to the Fairness Doctrine. The Fairness Doctrine, eliminated in 1987, required radio stations to provide equal time to opposing viewpoints on political talk shows, and a reinstatement would likely mean the end of popular talk show hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and G. Gordon Liddy.

"The fact that Rep. Hinchey is moving into the point position on reversing the FCC just proves what we\’ve been saying all along," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. "While the pending legislation doesn\’t include the Fairness Doctrine, placing a vocal proponent of the Fairness Doctrine in such a high profile role positions him to take the next step, and potentially destroy conservative talk radio."

In a June 5 press release, Hinchey denounced the 1987 end of the Fairness Doctrine as having "pushed aside the public interest in favor of big profits," and called for "undo[ing] all the previous damage that\’s been done over the last several years." The press release also announced Hinchey\’s drafting the Reclaiming the Public\’s Airwaves Act, which would also reinstate the Fairness Doctrine.