Fairness Doctrine legislation is likely to be passed and signed into law by President Clinton, congressional staffers told broadcasters at the NAB convention Monday.
The doctrine, which requires broadcasters to air both sides of a controversial issue, was jettisoned by the FCC during the Reagan administration.
Reagan later vetoed Democrat-sponsored legislation that attempted to make the doctrine the law of the land.
John Windhausen, an aide to Senate communications subcommittee chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), said he is “very optimistic” the Fairness Doctrine will be reinstated.
Windhausen’s remarks drew criticism from former NAB radio board chairman Dick Novik, who claimed broadcasters will shy away from tackling “the really important issues” if the Fairness Doctrine returns.
That drew little sympathy from congressional staffers. David Leach, an aide to House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) said broadcasters should “sit back and enjoy the ride.”