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Committee Rejects Amendment to Ban Fairness Doctrine

It’s a setback for effort by Pence and Walden

The House Rules Committee this week rejected a bill that would have blocked the Federal Communications Commission from reinstating the Fairness Doctrine or enacting proposed localism regulations for the next fiscal year.

Reps. Mike Pence, R- Ind. and Greg Walden, R-Ore. had introduced their Broadcaster Freedom Amendment to the Financial Services Appropriations bill.

Pence said he was “profoundly disappointed.”

Among those reacting to the vote was WorldNetDaily, an organization that has been vocal against what it calls congressional attacks on freedom of speech and press. Its article quotes radio talker Roger Hedgecock, summarizing reasons he’s worried about censorship under the Obama administration. He says the FCC as run by Julius Genachowski will censor talk radio hosts, regulate Internet speech and force racial quotas on broadcast companies. Hedgecock is active in a campaign called Don’t Touch My Dial.

Separately, two FCC nominees, Meredith Attwell Baker and Mignon Clyburn, said during their Senate nomination hearing this week that they opposed the re-instatement of the Fairness Doctrine in any form, as did Chairman Julius Genachowski and Commissioner Robert McDowell during their recent nomination hearing.