Show trials? Schultz, Sharpton propose FCC review board, public hearings to keep radio talkers in line

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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Some have insisted the chance for the renewal of the Fairness Doctrine is a straw man argument perpetrated by conservatives to stir emotions so that they are able to exploit it politically and that this really isn’t a threat from legislators.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still those who want to see government intervene and regulate the airwaves in a way a Fairness Doctrine would. On MSNBC’s Monday airing of “The ED Show,” host Ed Schultz asked his guest, National Action Network President Al Sharpton, if there should be ways that the Federal Communications Commission could intervene in the wake of the alleged hostile reaction to a California state senator’s proposed boycott of Rush Limbaugh.

“How would you anticipate the FCC governing what talkers might say on the air in situations like this?” Schultz said. “Would there be a review board? Would it go — because obviously once the license is given out, they still put talkers on the air. What if they continue to act like that and who would be the judge on what’s over the line?”

Sharpton said Schultz’s suggestions could work and would be appropriate just as profanity is regulated on the airwaves.

“I think that they can determine that in public hearings,” Sharpton said. “There could be a review board. There could be a commission. Just as they do when they enforce – you can’t use profanity and other things on the air. There are already standards they have even after they give licenses. This would only include in the existing list of things they set as standards in the first place, particularly given a climate like this.”


Why this step? According to the National Action Network president, the call for civility after the shooting of Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords last month warrants it.

“We are less than a week away from when you had people sitting together in the House of Representatives talking about civility where the president called for this nation in the middle of a tragedy to be more civil and then we have state senators being threatened like this,” Sharpton said. “We have the governor of Ohio insulting the entire caucus of color in his state. I think this is an outrageous answer to a level of — that I think the country must reach and that is calling on the president’s call for civility and all of us must deal with this and deal with it in a responsible way.”