White House: Obama Opposes 'Fairness Doctrine' Revival

Published February 18, 2009

| FoxNews.com

President Obama opposes any move to bring back the so-called Fairness Doctrine, a spokesman told FOXNews.com Wednesday. 

The statement is the first definitive stance the administration has taken since an aide told an industry publication last summer that Obama opposes the doctrine -- a long-abolished policy that would require broadcasters to provide opposing viewpoints on controversial issues. 

"As the president stated during the campaign, he does not believe the Fairness Doctrine should be reinstated," White House spokesman Ben LaBolt told FOXNews.com. 

That was after both senior adviser David Axelrod and White House press secretary Robert Gibbs left open the door on whether Obama would support reinstating the doctrine. 

"I'm going to leave that issue to Julius Genachowski, our new head of the FCC ... and the president to discuss. So I don't have an answer for you now," Axelrod told FOX News Sunday over the weekend when asked about the president's position.  

The debate over the so-called Fairness Doctrine has heated up in recent days as prominent Democratic senators have called for the policies to be reinstated. Conservative talk show hosts, who see the doctrine as an attempt to impose liberal viewpoints on their shows, largely oppose any move to bring it back. 

Fueling discussion, a report in the American Spectator this week said aides to Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman, Calif., met last week with staff for the Federal Communications Commission to discuss ways to enact Fairness Doctrine policies. The report said Waxman was also interested in applying those standards to the Internet, which drew ridicule from supporters and opponents of the doctrine. 

Both the FCC and Waxman's office denied the report. 

The Fairness Doctrine was adopted in 1949 and held that broadcasters were obligated to provide opposing points of views on controversial issues of national importance. It was halted under the Reagan administration.  

FOXNews.com's Judson Berger contributed to this report. 

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