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Senate Says No, Firmly, to Fairness Doctrine

Amendment is included in package on D.C. representation

The vote was 87 to 11 as the U.S. Senate gave a thumbs down to any return to a Fairness Doctrine, or requiring balanced coverage on broadcast airwaves.

The matter was approved as an amendment to the legislation to give Washington, D.C., a vote in Congress. It now moves to the House.

The National Association of Broadcasters quickly issued a statement after the late Thursday action: “NAB applauds today’s Senate vote in opposition to the inaptly-named Fairness Doctrine. Diversity of opinion has never been greater than in today’s media landscape. We salute President Obama and a bipartisan majority of the Senate for opposing the return of a rule that clearly violated the fundamental free speech rights under which this country was founded.”

Conservative talk show hosts have made this a high-profile issue since the election of Barack Obama, though Obama and his administration have said more than once they did not favor such a change, and critics have called the latest Fairness Doctrine alarm a tempest over nothing.

The move to put the matter preemptively before the Senate has been led by Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina.