E-mails show exchange on Fairness Doctrine

May 29, 2009 at 4:41 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 29 (UPI) -- E-mails between a Democratic House staffer and a U.S. government lawyer about the Fairness Doctrine discusses the right wing's "conspiratorial" beliefs.

In the e-mails, the two men talk about a report posted earlier this year on the American Spectator Web site, The Hill reports. The Spectator, a conservative magazine, said staff from the Federal Communications Commission had been discussing restoring the doctrine with aides to Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Rick Chessen, a member of the FCC staff, got in touch with Roger Sherman, the committee's chief counsel, to discuss the response with both saying they had no idea where the report in the Spectator had originated. The e-mails were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Both the FCC and the committee called the report untrue. Feb. 18, the day the denials were published in Broadcasting and Cable magazine, Sherman e-mailed Chessen saying there was no way to disprove the report.

"Whatever we talk about is five degrees of separation -- in their conspiratorial thinking -- to bring back the fairness doctrine."

President Obama has consistently opposed restoring the doctrine, which required broadcasters to give equal time to opposing political views.

If the doctrine was restored, broadcasters might have to provide time to opponents of conservative talk-show hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

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