Magazine article Church & State

Bush Defends War, Attacks 'Fairness Doctrine' before Religious Broadcasters

Magazine article Church & State

Bush Defends War, Attacks 'Fairness Doctrine' before Religious Broadcasters

Article excerpt

Perhaps eager for a friendly audience, President George W. Bush addressed the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) in March, where he pledged to keep the airwaves open for religious programming and vowed to press on with the war in Iraq.

Bush attacked efforts to reintroduce the "Fairness Doctrine," a policy once part of federal law that required holders of broadcast licenses to offer balanced coverage of controversial issues. There are occasional calls to bring the Fairness Doctrine back, which the NRB strenuously opposes. "This organization has had many important missions, but none more important than ensuring our airwaves--American airwaves--stay open to those who preach the Good News," Bush said. "The very first amendment to our Constitution includes the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion. Founders believed these unalienable rights were endowed to us by our Creator. They are vital to a healthy democracy, and we must never let anyone take those freedoms away."

Continued Bush, "Some members of Congress want to reinstate a regulation that was repealed 20 years ago. It has the Orwellian name called the Fairness Doctrine."

Bush, speaking to the NRB at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, insisted that the policy is intended to weaken shows hosted by people like Rush Limbaugh and James Dobson of Focus on the Family. He asserted that backers of the Fairness Doctrine "know they cannot prevail in the public debate of ideas. They don't acknowledge that you are the balance, that you give voice. …

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