Tags: zogby | fairness | doctrine

Zogby Poll: Undecided Voters Reject 'Fairness Doctrine'

Monday, 27 Oct 2008 11:50 AM

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Washington, D.C. — Obama supporters and Democrats are at odds with Independents and undecided voters when it comes to clamping down on free speech over the air waves, according to a just-released ATI-News/Zogby poll.

“Barack Obama has shown a stunning lack of tolerance for free speech throughout the course of this campaign,” said ATI-News president Brad O’Leary. “His presidency, combined with supermajorities for Democrats in Congress would almost certainly bring back the so-called ‘Fairness Doctrine’ and allow the Democrats to snuff out any broadcasters with whom they disagree.”

The poll surveyed 1,203 likely voters nationwide and was conducted October 23-26. It has a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points.

ATI-News/Zogby asked likely voters: “Some say the Fairness Doctrine could result in popular radio shows, such as Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, to be taken off the air in some markets. Knowing this, do you support or oppose reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine?”

Those who say they will vote for Barack Obama support reinstating the Fairness Doctrine 53 to 37 percent (10 percent are not sure). Meanwhile, Independent voters oppose reviving the Doctrine 49 to 40 percent, and undecided voters reject it 50 to 17 percent (33 percent are not sure).

Originally instituted in 1949 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Fairness Doctrine was soon recognized as a tool for silencing any opposing views – particularly conservative views.

The FCC repealed the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 admitting the doctrine “had the net effect of reducing rather than enhancing the discussion of controversial issues of public importance.”

According to O’Leary, Obama and the Democrats would rather silence their detractors through oppressive regulation than compete on an even playing field. To make his case, he cites several examples:

  • When Chicago radio station WGN scheduled journalist Stanley Kurtz to talk about Obama’s ties to Ayers, the Obama campaign recruited 100,000 supporters to act in a cult-like manner and besiege the station with protests.

  • When “Joe the Plumber” questioned Obama about his plan to raise taxes on small businesses, Obama supporters sought to destroy Joe and publicly embarrass him by digging through his tax files, work history and personal life.

  • Obama forces also tried to hush a national organization that ran TV and radio ads attacking the candidate’s position on an issue. In that instance, Obama’s general counsel fired off a letter threatening the licenses of stations that didn’t pull the ad “for the sake of FCC licensing and the public interest.”

  • After seeing a dip in the polls in September, the Obama campaign dispatched prosecutors and law enforcement officials in Missouri to act as so-called “truth squads” to target anyone who runs ads on TV or radio critical of Obama.

    “There is nothing ‘fair’ about the Fairness Doctrine, and re-establishing the Doctrine would have the chilling effect of silencing America’s 2,000 talk radio show hosts that discuss politics,” warned O’Leary.

    “There is very little doubt that if Obama ascends to the presidency and Democrats achieve super majorities in both houses of Congress, the Fairness Doctrine will become law and freedom-of-speech will be purged from our nation’s airwaves.”

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