February 13th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Regulating talk radio?

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Former President Bill Clinton says when it comes to right-wing talk radio, it's time for "more balance" on the airwaves.

Regulating talk radio?

Former President Clinton thinks talk radio needs "more balance."

Clinton says the government should either bring back the "Fairness Doctrine" or have more programs that present the other side. "Because essentially there's always been a lot of big money to support the right wing talk shows and let's face it... Rush Limbaugh is fairly entertaining even when he is saying things that I think are ridiculous," said the former president.

This follows recent chatter from some Democratic Senators to possibly hold hearings on radio accountability, even though no one has scheduled them as of yet.

The Fairness Doctrine required broadcasters to air both sides of controversial topics. But in 1987, the FCC found it unconstitutional. Congressional Democrats tried to bring it back, but President Reagan vetoed that effort.

Several Democrats started talking about bringing back the Fairness Doctrine last fall, which worried Republicans and talk radio hosts. At the time then-Senator Obama said he didn't support the idea, saying it was a distraction to more pressing issues in the media business. I wonder how he feels now.

Nonetheless, just the possibility of hearings has been enough to get the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity buzzing.

Here’s my question to you: How would you regulate talk radio?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Will from San Jose, California writes:
If you want more left-wing talk radio, then listen to it and buy the products advertised during the programs. The Daily Show and Colbert Report are great shows and do just fine without government help. If other shows aren't doing well, it's because they frankly aren't any good.

BJ from Seminole, Florida writes:
This is so obvious; the moon would truly be green cheese if anyone disagreed. The Fairness Doctrine should be reinstated asap.

Joseph in Los Angeles writes:
Somehow, I don't think Bill Clinton would be pushing for the Fairness Doctrine if it were liberal talk-radio dominating the airwaves.

Richard in Kansas writes:
There are good and bad radio hosts for sure but it certainly doesn't need to be regulated. If elected officials can't take criticism they should find another line of work. All opinions count in this country.

Marie writes:
Yeah! It's all so funny and harmless until someone pokes an eye out. The constant hate spewed everyday from popular conservative hosts will continue until something major happens to put an end to it.

Terry from Iowa writes:
In all things, we must abide by the Constitution. From right wingers to left wingers, we all have the fundamental right to freedom of speech. I despise much of what talking heads like Limbaugh or Stern spew on their radio talk shows. Primarily because it’s ignorant, biased propaganda that is of little moral, intellectual or entertaining value. These types will say and do anything for a buck. Unless they are endangering others, there should be no regulations.

Keith from Twinsburg, Ohio writes:

Every radio, like a TV, has knobs on them to either change to another station or to turn the damn thing off. That's all the regulation that I need. I like to make my decisions.

Filed under: Bill Clinton • Radio
soundoff (118 Responses)
  1. Chris - Savannah GA

    Why is "Talk Radio" targeted in the first place? Why not all media? Jack, when the time comes, can I be your big brother looking over your shoulder censoring what you say and post?

    February 13, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  2. Gary

    In our house we regulate talk radio by not listening to it. Radio is so 20th century.

    February 13, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  3. Matt in Minneapolis, MN


    The fairness doctrine is all about people bemoaning the fact that life isn't fair. If a liberal talk radio station goes out of business, its not because of a mass conspiracy. Its because no one is buying their product. If there aren't enoug people listening to the Dem's talking points, maybe they should get better ones. Perhaps we ought to let the people decide what they want to listen to and leave the politicians out of it.

    February 13, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  4. Darin in Denver

    Why bother Jack, it's a battle meant for losing, they'll scream amendment right violations. All we can do is change the station if we don't like it.

    February 13, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  5. Jerry- Illinois

    There is a little switch or button that says On/Off.

    February 13, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  6. Diana in NJ

    I would regulate them by using static on all right wing hate speading programs

    February 13, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  7. Kyle- DuPont, WA

    Just the mention of the phrase "regulating talk radio" hints at a violation of the 1st Ammendment. The best way to "regulate" inflammatory talk radio programs is to turn off the radio and boycott their advertizers.

    February 13, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  8. Carole S.C.

    I wouldnt try to regulate talk radio. I rarely listen to them and most of the people I have heard sound very unreasonable, vengeful, and hateful. I think they should bloviate until they explode or collapse.

    Basically, if I am not required to listen to them, I really dont care what they say.

    February 13, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  9. Hasani Brown

    Take Rush Limbaugh off the Air. It would end a big problem. It would put a end to at least 50% of fear mongering, hate & racism.

    February 13, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  10. jeffrey

    Only thing I'd do is break up the coverage. If one radio, TV, cable, or whatever are so successful as to hold over 35% of a market. bust it up. Yes that's not rewarding hard work...very unAmerican. No just very anti-big business. Make it small, make it hire lots of Americans, and don't give a hoot what they talk about. If it's small, it's bias is limited. No problem right!

    I wouldn't mind a general break up of the whole Fortune 1000. They can always form joint ventures is they need more money then any one can do.

    I do not support any effort for the government to have ANY say on what goes on media.

    February 13, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  11. Pugas-AZ

    When it gets too one sided it automaically shuts off.

    February 13, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  12. Mike S., New Orleans

    It is journalism, and they should have to be able to prove that what they are stating is accurate.

    And if they can't, then we take away their Oxycontin.

    February 13, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  13. Kevin

    No I don't believe in regulating it. If Limbaugh Harvey & Riley want to make a idiot of themselves ( and they do that so well) – they have that right. I, in turn, have the right to turn another station. The stations that sponser these fanatics simply loose attendence.

    February 13, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  14. Charlie in Belen, New Mexico

    How would I regulate talk radio ???? The same way I do now, with the station selecter, or the OFF switch....

    February 13, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  15. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    When you start to try to regulate some form of the media the bill rights always comes into question. If a person feels that they have been talked about in such a manner that is unlawful, then they should file a lawsuit. The radio has several buttons that you can press or set in order not to hear some big mouth. There's one in particular that I do not care for and wish sometimes I could put his big cigar someplace else other than in his big mouth. But I realize that he has a right to say what his small brain in a big head thinks is right. So I do not turn on or listened to what the big Wizard is telling the Republican Party to do. The only way I find out what the big Wizard said is when the news media reports it.

    February 13, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  16. Tim Bernard

    the only thing talk radio accomplishes is to fuel anger and fear with the uneducated. Having an oposing view thats equal in time lets people come to their own conclusions instead of being spoon fed anger. Thats not regulation thats right thing to do!
    Tim Minot, Maine

    February 13, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  17. Paul

    Jack, I wouldn't regulate talk radio. Geez Louize! If you don't like the talk show, get off our butt and change the channel.

    February 13, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  18. Mark, OKC, OK

    How about just letting talk radio do what it's supposed to do....talk? If the "liberal" element in our society had anything worth saying, there would be a demand for "Liberal" talk radio. The people who see conservative talk radio as a "threat" just don't get it and they never will. Most Americans do not agree with the whiney, blame-America first crowd who wants to silence talk radio.

    February 13, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  19. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    Put a muzzle on the extreme right-wing nut-cases who are only interested in hearing the sound of their own voices.

    February 13, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  20. Nancy, Tennessee

    Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern both need reining in. One plainly needs a gag and the other some soap in his mouth. Rush has a way of slanting things that causes disruption and unrest among the natives and Howard just puts out pure garbage. The result is the same; neither are worth listening to more than once.

    February 13, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  21. Ryan, Galesburg, IL

    The best way to regulate the filth on hate radio is to educate the public. Otherwise Hannity, Limbaugh, et al. will continue to get away with deluding and fouling all those who do not know any better.

    February 13, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  22. joev

    umm...I wouldn't? Seriously, talk radio does not need regulation. the listeners "speak" via audience numbers and advertising dollars.

    Though, I suppose we could shove through the fairness doctrine and after that, the fairness doctrine II which includes provisions for fines up to imprisonment to listeners who tune out the "fairness" portion.

    I say this as an avid supporter and donor to PBS/NPR as well as an occasional AM radio listener–when I want my blood pressure to soar that is.

    Joe V
    New Orleans LA

    February 13, 2009 at 2:38 pm |

    As much as it pains me to say it, I don't think talk radio should be regulated other than the usual fcc rules. Rush and all the Rush wanna-be's may be fomenting hate and division, but unless they reach the point of inciting a riot, I think they have every right to spout all the vitriol their tiny little minds can muster.

    February 13, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  24. Richard, Syracuse, NY

    Regulating Talk Radio is out of the question. This is American, but we can also be informed when people like Rush Limbaugh lie, time after time just to fire up his base. And we can always speak loud and clear with our Dollars and our Support.

    A true American would not need to lie, and a lier is not a true American.

    February 13, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  25. Keith - Twinsburg, OH

    Every radio, like a TV, has knobs on them to either turn to anothe station or to turn the damn thing off.

    That's all the regulation that I need. I like to make my decisions.

    February 13, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  26. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    I would say that under a government's responsibility of providing the common good, and under the FCC requirement of radio for public service, that propaganda and lies should be banned.

    Does it make any sense to have laws protecting the public from peanut butter and not to protect them from misinformation? In a democracy, news is how we decide to act. If propagandists aren't banned as such, is government doing its duty of public service and is it defending itself against the real danger?

    Limpbough and Faux News have damaged America much more than Al Qaida did.

    February 13, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  27. Martha

    Talk radio should be subject to the same laws that regulate defamation, hate crimes etc.

    For instance, when Sarah Palin spoke about Obama "palin around with terrorists", the FBI directly linked that to the increase in death threats Obama received. She should have been stopped.

    If the same link could be made, say with Rush Limbaugh speaking outrageous nonsense about any person, he should be charged with endangering a persons life through hate speech.

    Any one should be able to avail themselves of the defamation laws,
    without the talking heads being able to fall back on "opinion" pieces.

    They use "opinion" to get way with murder. If you use your "opinion" to
    endanger peoples lives and/or defame their character, you should be held accountable.

    February 13, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  28. therealmarie

    Yeah! it's all so funny and harmless until someone pokes an eye out. The constant hate spewed everyday from popular conservative host will continue until something major happens to put an end to it.

    February 13, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  29. MARCUS123 Flanders

    I would ban anybody that I disagreed with.just like Clinton wants to do;

    February 13, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  30. Steve, San Clemente, CA

    Fairness doctrine? Sounds more like censorhsip to me Jack. There are plenty of outlets in the media that presents the other side – CNN as an example.

    February 13, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  31. Dennis North Carolina

    Accountability all the way for every one.

    February 13, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  32. Wendy Theriault, Nashua, New Hampshire

    All the regulation radio needs is already built in...volume control and the on/off switch. Anything else is an infringement of free speech.

    February 13, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  33. Jeff in Glen Carbon IL

    It would be a far better world if we could regulate lies without becoming a police state.

    Do you suppose we could simply outlaw overpaid obese officious bloviating blowhards with oxycontin addictions from pontificating on the airwaves?

    February 13, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  34. V.K. Raman, Sparks

    A constant publicity not to listen to right wing radio talk should be the first step. Freedom of speech should not be curbed but left to public what they want to listen. Let us not glorify the Rushi's and Hannity's.

    February 13, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  35. Liz in Towson, MD

    I'm a Democrat, and I couldn't care less if the right-wing conservative nuts take over the airwaves. If Dems really wanted a radio show, they'd pay for the time slot. As it is, though, we're smart enough not to waste money doing that. However, I DO think that if a radio station seems to take sides, they ought to stop saying that "the views expressed in this program are not necessarily those of this station."

    February 13, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  36. Barbara, Texas

    I wouldn't regulate it. I like it the way it is..without talk radio, we would not know we are being screwed by our government. They keep us informed and of course our government doesn't like us knowing what they are doing to us.
    Free Speech... if they suceed in quieting talk radio, what is next?

    February 13, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  37. Brittany Palm Beach, Fla

    I can not even believe we are having a conversation. Jack take this off you blog now!

    February 13, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  38. Paul Columbia, SC

    It's Friday alright. Cafferty quotes the epitome of truthfulness, Bill Clinton? Go home and rest, Jack. You obviously need it badly.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  39. Malachi from PA

    Radio Personalities should be held accountable for what they say. They have an impact on elections and make news. If they slander someone's name they should be held accountable. They now effect what is reported on the news and I'm tired of insignificant information being broadcasted during this crucial time in America. The media seems to give so much press to the Republicans and seems to be real critical of everything that President Obama says and does. Being Critical of President Obama and giving press to the antagonist Republicans is not helping America.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  40. Diane, Barneveld, NY

    They pay for it, they have the right to air what they want. Now if you are talking about stations supported by government, etc. then yes.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  41. Harry Doyle

    If SNL, CNN, Daily Show, Colbert Report, The View (not a balanced panel at all) and most newspapers in this country would agree to report fairly about the right, then I would agree that the Fairness Doctrine should be looked at.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  42. Melanie in Arkansas

    Jack, i can't pretend to have the right answer, I just worry that thiis whole regulation problem seems like a slippery slope straight into the arms of "Big Brother"

    February 13, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  43. Terry- Greensburg, IN

    There's no regulating anyone that would listen to that crap. People just use it to get home from work,everybody knows that. It's drivetime intertainment. Why do you think there's so much congestion?

    February 13, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  44. Horn Lake, MS

    Doesn't China do this already? Certainly the democrats can (and probably already have) learned a great deal from their Chinese brothers on how to run a great society. Isn' t that right Comrade Clinton?

    February 13, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  45. Alan-Buxton,Maine

    I would require truthfulness. Some of the things the right wing fanatics are saying are just plain lies and fabrications. I have no problem with airing ones views but I do object to dishonesty.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  46. Michael H. Oil City, PA

    Media fell asleep during the sell-off of the Iraq war, they were hob-knobbing with the CEO's, politicians, other media pundits, yet they have never taken reponsibility for their crime. The Framers wrote in the Consitution that free press was needed for checks and balances on the government. Time magizine should have placed them on the "who's to blame for the economic crisis" list too. Disinformation is rampant to the uninformed, usually spead by GOP blowhards, no law should be write to hold them accountable, but other media outlets should call them out.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  47. neo

    The fairness doctrine is a bad idea, its fake fairness. We should require all opinion shows to show their facts, and deliberate lies or creative omissions should result in a FCC fine.

    To prevent abuse it should be reserved to things that are easily proven. For instance Bill Orielly recently bad mouthed Cher, he's quote the first part of the quote to make her look bad - this should be slander for some reason its not.

    All of the FDR slander - like he created the Depression should result in a fine. I'm surprized that cnn, fox, cbs, nbc, abc even allow that on the air. He couldn't have done it, he was president 4 years after the depression started.

    We rely on the press to tell us the truth. We shouldn't have to fact check you.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  48. Rae from Indiana

    I wouldn't. It would be nice if the news programs (hint,hint) would point out the more obvious lies and misrepresentations. That way more people would realize they are mostly entertainment spewing hateful propaganda.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  49. JoycesVoice-Marshall, TX

    I wouldn't regulate. It's called freedom of speech. There's choice involved too. I can choose not to listen to an idiot like Rush the drug addicted talk show host. It's clear, his cranium is fragile from his drug use so only stupidty and ignorance can flow. Give them their voice and then give America the choice. Sometimes he makes for good humor and especially when someone needs a good laugh at an ignut–someone who doesn't know, doesn't know they don't know and doesn't want anyone who knows to tell them what they know. We don't have to get RUSHED like we got BUSHED!

    February 13, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  50. Nancy, Grand Ledge,MI

    I would fine them heavily for blatant lies the same way that broadcasters are fined for profanity! The way they mislead the public is a crime. Their propaganda affects our public policy, our elections and even our economy. The shame of it all is the way people follow them blindly, without ever checking the facts. "Trust but verify" is a good policy to follow.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  51. James from Ohio

    If presenting both sides/ all sides of a story is Unconstitutional, it is no wonder our Nation is so screwed up.

    Of course that mantra is brought to you by the same people who remind you that The United States of America is a Republic, not a Democracy – The Republic of China and the former Soviet Union are Republics, is this the definition of Republic?

    Fairness is Unconstitutional?, welcome home soldiers, I don't know what you faught for.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  52. June-NY

    I wouldn't. There is nothing preventing "liberal" commentators from being on the radio. The ones that have been on have failed and I am not sure why. Stephenie Miller is still on and is a good listen.
    This sounds too much like censorship .

    February 13, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  53. Terence

    Jack, Get rid of Rush Limbaugh and keep everyone else!
    Terence, Piscataway, NJ

    February 13, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  54. Jeff in E. Lyme, CT

    Yes Jack, talk radio as well as any other "pundit" show should be required to speak only the truth. Those who listen to only Rush Limbaugh & Sean Hannity have no idea that much of what they spew is flat out lies. Personally, I'd like to see each lie told on political radio or TV carry a one year mandatory sentence to be carried out consecutively, not concurrently.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  55. RJ, Michigan

    This is exactly the kind of distraction that will galvinize the Republicans. Don't play into Rush and Hannities hands. I use to listen to them, then they shot themselves in the foot by their own outrages statements. Anybody with minimal intelligence will see through them in time. They're just like Ann Coulter. I think the best thing to do is ignore them. By the way, anybody who seriously believes their evaluation of issues have already made up their mind and having someone else present the other side is a waste of time and breath. In the bible, it says the if someone doesn't want to listen to you, leave and wipe the dirt of your feet when you do so (my paraphrase of the versus). This will be a huge DISTRACTION. Don't let them suck you in,. Can we please not give them more press coverage??????????

    February 13, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  56. Ben in Oil City, Pa

    The Truth and Fairness Doctorine worked well for forty years, and it wasn't til they scrapped it back during the Reagan administration, using the excuse that you have to give groups like the Neo-Nazi and KKK equal time, and the truth lost out on the public airwaves. I say give them equal time to any extreme groups, if their idea's are bankrupt then the'll lose out to better idea's.
    If conservative talk radio is worried, then it means they are afraid of true debate and their ideas are bankrupt as well.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  57. Timer

    I wouldn't ... too much. I think when the radio personality starts to give indirect approval to harm another individual or group, then it has crossed the line. You know what I mean Jack.

    For instance, when I highly respected personality makes suggestions that things would be better if something devastating happened to an individual or group that holds opposite opinions or beliefs. Rush has pushed that envelope.... many times. Others have as well.

    So the question becomes, "What will be in the ENVELOPE, and who will stuff it?" 🙂

    February 13, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  58. Ondrya in the San Fernando Valley, CA

    I already regularly regulate talk radio. There’s three knobs on my radio for regulating radio talk. The first knob allows me to regulate up the volume whenever I like what is being said. If I don’t like what they’re saying, there’s a knob for regulating the frequency, also known as “changing the channel or station.” Lastly, there’s the on/off knob or switch for regulating off the power to the radio for when I think that all the talk on the radio sucks.

    February 13, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  59. Victor in Saanich, B.C. Canada

    Gee Jack, how about right wing talk TV??!!!
    Some of those clowns slammed Bush for many actions that went against American workers but quickly turn on a new president who is less than one month into office and has inherited a financial and social mess.
    It wouldn't be because of his skin pigment, in the 'WHITE' House, would it Jack??

    February 13, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  60. Ken in NC

    The only way to regulate Talk Radio is to pull the plug on all but one. Put that one in a One Watt station in Alaska where he can see Russia and only Putin and Palin can hear him.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  61. Lisa

    Regulate talk radio??? Is this Orwell's 1984?

    February 13, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  62. Doreen Suran RN

    How about a truth doctrine. If you say it, be prepared to prove it or off the air you go.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  63. John in Arizona

    Jack, talk radio is already regulated – with the push button on everyone’s car radio. The people who listen to the trash talk of the on-air Rush Limbaughs of the world already subscribe to their fundamentalist beliefs, so the net effect on public disinformation is negligible.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  64. Ondrya in the San Fernando Valley, CA

    I already regularly regulate talk radio. There’s three knobs on my radio for regulating radio talk. The first knob allows me to regulate up the volume whenever I like what is being said. If I don’t like what they’re saying, there’s a knob for regulating the frequency, also known as “changing the channel or station.” Lastly, there’s the on/off knob or switch for regulating off the power to the radio for when I think that all the talk on the radio sucks.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  65. gary, des plaines, il

    nuisance tax?

    February 13, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  66. Bill V

    I'd go to China, and ask them how they do it.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  67. sandie from Galesburg IL

    How would I regulate talk radio? Personally, I just change the channel...just like with tv...or if I'm really bugged by content I send an email.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  68. Joseph in TX

    Well Jack, as relieving as it would be to be able to step in and stop some of these completely outrageous claims made by conservative "journalists," the Fairness Doctrine was done away with in the first place because of the sheltered media that it resulted in. So, as much as guys like Limbaugh or O'Reilly dumb down half our population, they're old anyways, so let's just wait for those guys to croak and we won't even need to worry about this issue anymore.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  69. Ed

    Limbaugh is a fool, but he still has a right to free speech. We on the left should spend our time and energy demonstrating how Limbaugh et al. are wrong, not trying to shut them up. Let's not forget, we have our partisans too–and I like them! I don't have my own talk radio show, but if I did, I'd have a few choice words for Limbaugh. And I don't want to present "both sides" of the issue.

    Ed from Virginia

    February 13, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  70. Ivan

    ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS!! Our government, Republicans, Democrats, ALL are destroying this country!! What about the First Amendment? How does our congress think that this is fair?

    February 13, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  71. Mike O'D

    I think radio and every other form of media should be regulated. Just think how nice our world would be if the government controlled what the people watched, read and listen to.

    Oops...I guess that's been tried by others, huh?

    February 13, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  72. Roy Lamont

    When you say "regulate talk shows" you are essentially saying regulate the freedom of speech or regulate the news.
    Hands off.
    With all the liberal media you already have ample exposure of the liberal view. Would you considwer restricting the liberal news media and insist on adding conservative views on regular broadcast medium? Probably not.

    Roy Lamont
    North Carolina

    February 13, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  73. Steve from Hartland WI

    I would regulate the talk show by requiring drug testing for all radio hosts.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  74. Bob Adams

    Talk radio should not be regulated...This is one advantage of living in the United States...If the left wing liberals which is in control of the Democratic Party get there way then we will change to a socialist government, if we haven't already arrived...This is the reason MOST Americans listen to Fox news not CNN...to get the balanced and fair news...

    February 13, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  75. mike l.

    Why single out talk radio. All the major so called nightly news programs slant drastically left. The New York Times is extremely liberal in their print along with most big city newspapers.. And doesn't GE have its liberal paws all throughout media oh and now they want bailout money, conflict of intrest? FREE SPEECH! Fairness doctrine I don't think so. They just want to muzzle the views of 55million hard working American to make a huge power grab and socialize our country.
    Mike L.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  76. Lauren

    No, nor do I want cable, internet, newspapers or magazines regulated. Regulation oftentimes has a way of becoming censorship. I know this would produce more of things I hate like Limbaugh and his ilk, but still, I'll take my chances that quality work will come through.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  77. Christine

    Hi Jack, I have never submitted my comments, But this is a "No brainer!" Ummmm, regulate? OK here we go. CNN or Fox News? Let me decide...
    Rush L. or NPR news? Let me decide....

    "Come on people" we can do this? I regulate all the time.(By the way, I have never listended to Rush L. I'm just aware of him because of the news.

    Thanks for listening.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  78. Todd S

    How do you regulate talk radio? Start fining Clear Channel, Infinity, and all other radio broadcast corporations for endorsing and employing hate mongerers, $100,000 a day for each day of employment of limbaugh and hannity and bortz should send a CLEAR message

    February 13, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  79. David Orozco New Baltimore, MI

    Its already regulated...its called the NInth Commandment. Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  80. Sri

    How about bringing some fairness in cable & internet media? so that obama tankers can get real

    February 13, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  81. deb from Minnesota

    Talk radio is just that – talk! One of the freedoms we have in this country is the freedom of speech. We also have the freedom to choose what we listen to.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  82. Marianne, Illinois

    Perhaps Corporations who may have an agenda should not be allowed to own radio stations, thus controlling the content.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  83. Rip

    Dont' regulate any radio. That sets a dangerous precident. We have the right, in a free nation, to say what we want, as long as it doesn't call for vfiolence against individuals or our government.

    The best way to make fools look like fools, is to let them act like fools, and that goes for people like Rush, Sean, and the who lot of right-wing lunatics on the radio.

    To silence them in any way is to, in a wierd sort of way, silence the truth. For by trying to regulate them, we would simply be covering up their own ignorance and stupidity. And it's actually a public service to let these blowhards rant. That way, all will know what fools they are.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  84. William Rita

    Assess fines on stations that air material errors during political talk shows or when political commentators attriibute political positions to groupts (liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans) that are unsubstatiated. Do not bring back the fairness doctrine.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  85. Tom Orlando, Fl

    The teams are equal. I used to listen to Keith Olberman, but during the election he and Rachel Meadows showed how their side. If you want to be a Democrat and cheer for your team then fine, but don't sit there and disrespect the President of the United States in the process. If you don't like it change the channel. I did!

    February 13, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  86. maryG

    talk radio host are who there are, their comments speaks about them they have a right to speak whatever, but if he or she is speaking something good about ME then it okay, when it speaks against ME then LET'S cut them off

    February 13, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  87. Peter Rosenwald

    Has everyone forgotten about a free press? Rush Limbaugh can blab away but so can those with other (more reasonable) views. Try to regulate it and the public will be fed custard not content. Let's hope listeners are mature enough to weigh one vfiew against another. You are right Jack, there are knobs on the radio and you can turn to another station or, as you suggest, turn it off.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  88. Suzanna

    Jack, hate radio is hate radio. What I would be interested in is fact radio. Suzanna in Illinois

    February 13, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  89. stephen mial

    Bring back the fairness act!



    February 13, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  90. Bob48362

    The model is in Iran. They have special courts to regulate the media.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  91. Jorge, Miami, Fl

    Jack, I would love to regulate you if that's ok with you!!!! Are you for freedom of speech? Leave talk radio alone. It's funny how you go after Rush and other conservative radio hosts but not Air America or any liberal hosts. I see were your comming from. Regulate the people who don't agree with you!!!

    February 13, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  92. Christopher

    Didn't the Fairness Doctrine have something to do with broadcasting (as opposed to telecommunications), public ownership of the airwaves and land transport rights attaching to commercial principles in the guise of common carrier law? Or sum’n like ‘at.


    February 13, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  93. Craig

    Is this truly a fairness doctrine? Will MSNBC see the same scutiny? Will this effect the NY Times, Boston Globe or SF Chronicle? I would actually be ok with this 'doctrine' if they actually will hire someone who will scrutinize EVERY second of EVERY channel and radio station and EVERY word in EVERY newspaper to make sure views are 50/50. Think that'll happen? Or will we have some left-wing idiot listening only to AM radio from 10am til 3pm every day?

    February 13, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  94. Andre


    Please tell my you're kidding! With all of the crises we are facing in our country, congressional Democrats really think that among the top 20 items we need to address is balance on commercial radio? Left wing radio exists, but because it is not as successful as right wing radio, our government will impose its will. This is great; fairness as defined by congress for all. To whom should I send my resume to apply for host of the anti-Cafferty file?

    February 13, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  95. Lew in Virginia


    The proposal is fabulously unrealistic.

    First, the Fairness Doctrine had some justification when media access was scarce. The Internet and digital broadcasting now provide virtually unlimited opportunity for anyone to communicate to as large an audience as has any interest. If the Congress were foolish enough to pass such legislation the courts would have a strong basis to find it unconstitutional.

    Second, I believe President Obama would discourage such an effort and veto it if need be, consistent with his earlier expressions. The public wants attention focused on the really urgent problems on his plate - the economy, the economy, the economy, and then the wars. He is a smart guy, he knows that will be the measure of his success, and he has made it clear he does not welcome divisive distractions.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  96. Paul from FL

    Not only should talk radio be regulated, the media as a whole needs a healthy dose of same. For every Rush Limbaugh talking up Republicans, there's a Jack Cafferty ramming Obama-love down our throats with the holier than thou excuse of Obama being the "better story". Remember that, Jack? Sexism is ok (as in your assault on Clinton and Palin), but racism and radical right wing ideology are not? The regulation is easy – simply hold journalists and their employers legally liable to tort claims should you decide to be an activist rather than a journalist. Might I suggest the media take note of the example set by Lou Dobbs as the correct job description for a journalist?

    February 13, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  97. don

    Why is regulation required? The shows are extended opinion pieces and as such,are protected speech ... they are also not put on or funded by the federal government,thus the government should butt out .... if the so-called " fairness doctrine" is reinstated, it will be one more step towards a liberal dictatorship ..... from central louisiana .... I don't wish to reveal what city i am in ....

    February 13, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  98. John T from SC 2

    The same way you regulate religion.
    The same way you regulate the PRESS
    The same way you regulate how many votes a person gets
    The same way you regulate me or YOU
    The same way you regulate the disabled rights to live.
    The same way you regulate SPEECH

    Wow Obama could raise MILLIONS and Clinton said "Because essentially there’s always been a lot of big money to support the right wing talk shows and let’s face it… Rush Limbaugh is fairly entertaining even when he is saying things that I think are ridiculous,"

    Oh yeah the DEMS ARE BROKE ?!?!? Is he having a Big Mac withdraw???

    If you want to be heard (ill say this sloooooow),

    you buy airtime or you buy your OWN radio station or you get HIRED by a station (not shortcuts to that... LIVE EVERYONE ELSE YOU WORK YOUR WAY UP)
    Then you TALK and if no one listens to you you can't force people too. IF they listen to the other guy its not that its UNFAIR its that people WANT to hear the person NOT YOU.

    I am a ham radio operator, trust me, there is a TON of bandwidth available you don't have to crowd out anyone.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  99. Jeff S

    Fairness Doctrines is cleverly named. It has nothing to do with fairness. We live in free markets. Freedom of Speach is protected. This Fairness Doctrine is nothing more than an effort to supress speach.
    Left radio exists folks! What does it say when listeners do not tune in? Remember Air America? Satelitte radio carries everything, AM radio DOES have left only leaning chatter.
    Congress attempting to pass this act is nothing more than another unconstitutional power grab. Radio, cencus redistricting, stimulus package to create an out of control government, $5B to ACORN in stimulus package (indicted for multiple voter fraud/intimidation)....
    Is Obama's administration attempting a coup????????
    So far, only 3 weeks into Obama's reign, the Democrats have broken nearly every campaign promise. This so called stimulus package is political payback for those who delivered votes from unions to ACORN (in the billions).
    Politicians haven't even read this stimulus package. It was promised to be on display for no less than 4 days to the American public before votes were tallied. Now, it's being crammed down the countries throat while no economist outside of the administration thinks it has a chance to work.
    This bill will rewrite medicine procedures, build trains to Harry Reid's district, STD prevention... oh my.... our country is about to crumble.
    We are primed for an attack as Obama tours the country for photo op's... our enemies (IRAN, N KOREA) continue their clandestine programs. Russia, Chavez, Cuba all forming alliances. And Obama wants to talk in months.... by then Iran will have their precious bomb... our economy in ruins.... debt owned by those not quite in line with USA (China, Saudi's).
    Obama is just playing a mis-direction game and the media has bought it hook, line and sinker.
    With talk radio shut down, who will hold Washington accountable???

    February 13, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  100. richard

    This must be some sort of joke. leave it alone; I can regulate radio all by myself......ON,OFF. If you want to control the right on the radio, then the left on NBC should be limited.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  101. Audrey Branham

    It's easy to say " just turn the radio off." Later when the TV is turned on to CNN, there is the right wing radio venom being presented as news. Somehow we can't seem to get away from it. Yes, something should be done to quiet those guys who get paid so much to stir up the emotions of people who listen and agree with anything. Lets hear the other side from intelligent and thoughtful citizens.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  102. Andy in Vancouver, WA

    Has anyone ever herad of the first amendment? Or does that only apply to anti-war protestors who stand in the middle of the road? It would take about 17 seconds for any so-called "fairness doctrine" to get struck down by even the most liberal of federal judges. Stop taking your ques from Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  103. Nancy

    The United States is in great peril when censorship becomes the order of the day. Incrementalism will be employed first to silence one form of media, which will intimidate others into submission because they know they could be next. If that doesn't silence the rest, the dictators will simply expand the rules. Is THIS the change people voted for?

    February 13, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  104. Steve

    The Fairness Doctrine is right up there in importance with Steroids in Baseball. The only ones who care are the politicians. Senator to be Frankin had his network and it failed miserably. It was fair, we just didn't like it so we turned it off. I didn't work hard to get the President elected so he or his colleagues would waste a second of their time on this nonsense.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  105. Nate

    So, the dems don't like it when somebody criticizes their point of view? It's a ratings game when it comes to radio. If they want there to be a liberal viewpoint, then they have to find somebody that can bring in the ratings. Anyways, this is a stupid thing for the government to worry about now. Don't we have an economic crisis on our hands?

    February 13, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  106. Tom

    I think it would be more entertaining to hear Rush explaining to somebody else that don't agree with him.and he has to listen why. It would help RADIO TALK SHOW ratings.Most people like to hear both sides. Lets put AIR AMERICA and RADIO TALK SHOW together. this force both sides to listen to each views

    February 13, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  107. john driscoll

    Bill Clinton was the President who allowed the massive deregulation of Broadcast license limits, that's How we went from 6000 owned Radio & TV licensee's to 5 Big Media Monopolies , Maybe a stimulus bill for Talk Radio Show's like Al Franken and Stephanie Miller would make Bill happy but the real purpose is to turn down the volume, Oh and was it not also Bill Clinton's Administration who allowed our Banks to get into the Brokerage and Stock market game in 1994 will the repeal of the Glass Steagle Act? , let Rush and Bill have another Cigar !

    February 13, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  108. Jeff

    How about we regulate the fairness of YOUR daily tirades!

    February 13, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  109. Paul Brooks NC

    This only says if they offer radio to one side they have to give the other side the same option. Reps don't like it simply because they have a near monopoly on talk radio and having other views on the air might disrupt their stream of propaganda.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  110. Judith from Brookings, OR

    Wow Jeff S....fear and hate...you've just been fined about $35,000 in LIES...shame, shame

    February 13, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  111. Mari

    1st AMENDMENT ST !!! Where are we going in this country people are we that ignorant ??!! don't you see we are heading toward totalitarism STUPIDS??!! if you want to rgulate it turn your radio off or listen to that imbecil Howard Stern

    February 13, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  112. Dan

    Why REGULATE talk radio in the first place? Why are you even thinking that word? You need to look up Freed of Speech it seems. Or do you not believe in the constitution?

    February 13, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  113. Jeremy

    Aren't there more important things to worry about. Government regulation of talk radio, once you start, where do you stop?

    Who regulates the regulators?

    What happens when this extends to regulation of Television, Newspapers?

    What happens when this extends to the Internet?

    Please, lets fix the economy, schools, health-care, national debt. Once you guys have fixed that, worry about these minuscule non-issues.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  114. Stan the Man

    Come on now – this is America!! The land of the free...

    Free Speech is just that – Free Speech – any regulation imposed in my opinion would be censorship!!

    Want to present your view? Get your own talk show!

    February 13, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  115. Fred

    What is wrong with listening oposite political view in radio? I think republicans are starting to sound like "facsists" monopolizing
    the air waves with their hatemongering, racist statements on radio.
    let's bring the fairness doctrine back... it is only fair and healthy in a democracy such as ours.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  116. Marjo van Veen

    Fairness Doctrine is okay if it includes the liberal media as well. CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR, LA Times, New York Post, Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, Denver Post, Boston Globe, etc.

    Until then all the bloviating on this blog is just plain ridiculous.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  117. Timothy

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.

    There it is, plain and simple. For those arguing that talk radio should be forced to only say things that are accurate, they already are. Libel and slander laws already cover that for media of all kinds. If you think someone is saying something inaccurate, feel free to sue. For everyone else that doesn't like talk radio, too damn bad, turn it off.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  118. Rachel

    The left has just as much access to the airwaves as the right, and every listener is capable of his or her own regulation by turning ithe radio on or off.

    February 13, 2009 at 6:52 pm |