Copps: Don't Let Fairness Doctrine 'Straw Man' Deflect Move Towards Diversity
May 8, 2009 at 5:00 AM (PT)
FCC Acting Chairman MICHAEL COPPS told the first meeting of the Commission's newly reformed Diversity Committee THURSDAY that addressing ownership diversity issues are not "the equivalent of bringing back the Fairness Doctrine," charging that those who think the panel's actions are aimed at a back-door reinstitution of talk radio content regulation "understand neither the Fairness Doctrine nor, more importantly, the lack of opportunity minorities and women have when it comes to owning and operating the enterprises that allow us to communicate with one another."
COPPS told the panel, "What you are about is righting the wrong of generations of denied opportunity. When all the statistics show us still heading in the wrong direction, most people without an axe to grind appreciate the wisdom of that old adage, 'justice delayed is justice denied.' Resurrecting the straw man of a bygone Fairness Doctrine to deflect this country’s passage to equal opportunity is a kind of issue-mongering that has no place in 21st Century AMERICA."
In his remarks, COPPS recommended that the panel build an extensive factual record and consider "full-file review" as an interim method for changing the Commission's procedures to encourage diversity. "(W)e must act quickly," COPPS said. "The window of reform has been pried open, but history teaches us that it is impossible to know how long we will have before it closes again. I know it’s asking a lot, but I would like to have the Committee’s recommendations on the ADARAND studies and full-file review within the next four months.