The Federal Communications Commission has asked a federal court to return a Fairness Doctrine case to the FCC, where presumably the commission could vote to reimpose the regulation that forces broadcasters to air both sides of a controversial issue.
Over the objection of interim chairman James Quello, FCC members Ervin Duggan and Andrew Barrett ordered commission lawyers to ask the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis to “remand” the Fairness Doctrine case back to the FCC.
Duggan and Barrett have supported reimposition of the Fairness Doctrine in the past, but were thwarted by Quello, former chairman Al Sikes and commissioner Sherrie Marshall. Because Sikes has resigned and Marshall has stopped voting on broadcast-related issues while she hunts for a new job, Duggan and Barrett now constitute a majority at the FCC on the issue.
The case involves a Fairness Doctrine complaint filed by the Arkansas AFL-CIO last year against KARK-TV, Little Rock.