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Dem: Fairness doctrine needed ‘as long as it’s the people’s airwaves’

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said on Friday that the Federal
Communications Commission should reinstate the fairness doctrine for
broadcast television to ensure that multiple sides of controversial
topics are offered to the public.

“For over the airwaves TVs, I think they should bring it back,” said Nadler on Fox Business Network with Andrew Napolitano.

“I
think it makes sense for people to be able to hear as many sides of
political opinions as possible, and as long as it’s the people’s
airwaves that should be used for that purpose.”

Nadler’s comments come in the wake of the recent shooting of Rep.
Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), which has re-launched the debate over what
role heated political rhetoric plays in the spurring people to take
violent actions.

In a Quinnipiac University poll conducted this week, only 15 percent
of people in Giffords’ district said they thought heated political
rhetoric was to blame for her shooting.

More than half of the
people in the poll said they thought politically heated talk was enough
to drive mentally unstable people to commit acts of violence, while 41
percent of people surveyed said they did not believe it would.

Assistant Democratic Leader Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) argued
earlier this week that some violence was thwarted in the 1960s because
the fairness doctrine mandated that opposing political views be
broadcast.

Republicans are opposed to reinstating the fairness doctrine, with
several lawmakers recently offering amendments that would have banned
the FCC from using taxpayer dollars to dictate what views broadcast
television was required to portray.

In the immediate days following the attempted assassination attempt
on Giffords, Rep. Robert Brady (D-Pa.), the ranking Democrat on the
House Administration Committee, said that he planned to introduce
legislation that would make it a federal crime to use language or
symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence
against a federal official or member of Congress.

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