Media Research Center (MRC) President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell joined lawmakers and a conservative radio host today in calling for an up-or-down vote on the Broadcast Freedom Act, which would drive a stake through the so-called Fairness Doctrine, which, if resurrected, would threaten conservative talk radio.
ALEXANDRIA, VA - Media Research Center President L. Brent Bozell joined with House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO), Congressmen Mike Pence (R-IN), Greg Walden (R-OR) and Trent Franks (R-AZ), syndicated radio talk show host Laura Ingraham and President of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist in declaring this July 4th to be Radio Independence Day, and called for Congress to allow a full up or down vote on the Broadcaster Freedom Act (BFA).
The BFA will kill once and for all the Fairness Doctrine, the onerous governmental policy that served to stifle free speech on the radio airwaves for four decades. Twenty-one years since its repeal, conservatives have flourished on the air, and liberals have been seeking to again silence them with the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine.
The BFA is currently stuck in committee. A discharge petition has been started to allow it to the floor for a full vote, but it has only 194 of the needed 218 signatures.
Bozell and his fellow free speech advocates today demanded that members of Congress sign the petition for broadcaster freedom by Radio Independence Day, July 4th.
"Today we declare Radio Independence Day, and demand that free speech be given a full and fair vote in Congress this summer.
"The Founding Fathers deemed free speech first among our rights to be listed in the Constitution. What they envisioned and guaranteed with the First Amendment was a national dialogue teeming with as many voices and with as many opinions as could be raised.
"The era of the Fairness Doctrine represented dark days for this first and fundamental right. Government regulators monitored every radio broadcast minute, demanding and imposing "fairness" -- as defined by government. What they and the American people got instead was silence.
"Now, with talk radio flourishing, and conservatives finally having their voices heard, liberals desire to shut them up and shut them down by reinstituting the Fairness Doctrine.
"We are not here today to ask liberals to cast a vote for free speech and against the Fairness Doctrine. We are simply asking that a vote be allowed to occur. Give every member of Congress the opportunity to go on the record: either for free speech, or for the Fairness Doctrine."