Newt misleading on Fairness Doctrine? Claims to vocally oppose, but sponsored original bill
Posted on December 3, 2011 at 11:36 AM EST
By Aaron Klein
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was one of the sponsors of the Fairness in Broadcasting Act of 1987, which would have turned the controversial so-called Fairness Doctrine into law.
Gingrich’s official campaign website, however, states the politician opposes the doctrine.
A section of Newt.org entitled â€śAnswering the attacks,â€ť states: â€śNewt does not support the Fairness Doctrine and he has been vocally critical of the leftâ€™s efforts to reinstate the doctrine over the past decade, including supporting Mike Penceâ€™s bill that prohibited government censorship in radio in 2007.â€ť
In 1987, Gingrich was singing a different tune.
At the time a national debate was raging about whether to abolish the Doctrine.
In June 1987, Gingrich was one of 71 co-sponsors of the Fairness in Broadcasting Act of 1987, which would have codified the Fairness Doctrine in federal law, as Pajamas Media noted last April, before Gingrich joined the 2012 presidential race.
President Reagan vetoed the congressional bill.
In August 1987, the FCCÂ officially eliminated the Fairness Doctrine.
Newt.org does note that in 1987 “many of Americaâ€™s most influential conservative activists, including the American Conservative Union and Phyllis Schlafly, supported the Fairness Doctrine.”
Gingrich’s site does not mention he sponsored the Act to legalize the doctrine.
The Fairness Doctrine was a policy of the Federal Communications Commission that required the holders of broadcast licenses to issues of public importance in a manner that was, in the Commission’s view, honest, equitable and balanced.
Critics have attacked the doctrine as an attempt to regulate news and talk radio and as an attack on First Amendment rights.