Phoenix Mayor Says Lack of Fairness Doctrine Led to AZ Immigration Law
Blames controversial state law in part on Reagan-era FCC decision to scrap broadcasting policy
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 5/17/2010 4:01:34 PM EDT
Wars Break Out Over Fairness Doctrine
Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, who opposes his state's controversial new immigration law, blames the Reagan-era FCC, at least in part, for the law's passage.
In a Center For American Progress forum on May 14, Gordon said the seeds of the law go back to 1987, when the FCC scrapped the fairness doctrine as unconstitutional.
"I think it goes back to the Reagan era when the fairness doctrine was dropped," he said, "and instead of requiring both sides of a debate to be aired, only one side was given the chance depending on who was providing that."
He said that even more important was the change in tone stemming from that decision.
"Language that was never acceptable became maintstream," he said. "Those that were deemed to be in disagreement with those on television or radio were demonized as traitors and extremists and hateful and language that we have never heard seen."
The result, he said, was that such demonization became "acceptable in the mainstream media and acceptable in
The National Hispanic Media Coalition last year asked the FCC to investigate what they said was hate speech on
radio and TV, particularly as directed at the immigrant community. But they also said they were not looking to reinstate the doctrine, which required broadcast stations, radio and TV, to seek out opposing viewpoints on issues of national importance.
Conservative talk radio and some cable news programs have been targets of complaints about anti-immigration speech.
The ACLU led a legal challenge May 17 to the Arizona law, which instructs police to seek documentation of the status for anyone they suspect of not being in the country legally. The groups say the law "encourages racial profiling, endangers public safety and betrays American values."