The main one was the so-called Fairness Doctrine, defunct since 1987.
While the commission voted in 1987 to do away with the rule — a legacy to a time when broadcasting was a much more dominant voice than it is today — the language implementing it was never removed. The move Monday, once published in the federal register, effectively erases the rule.
Monday’s move is part of the commission’s response to a White House executive order directing a “government-wide review of regulations already on the books” designed to eliminate unnecessary regulations.
Nixing these regs were never done by the Bush administration, but even before Obama was elected, right-wing talk hosts were riling the dittoheads with predictions that Democrat Dictators would use the long-shelved regulation to silence them.
(photo: a muffled Rush: yeah, right...)
The Doctrine was like Elvis. Or Jesus. Dead for a long, long, time but sighted or resurrected whenever convenient to scare the dittoheads, or frighten the begging-to-be-frightened listeners of religious radio.
Rush, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Glenn Beck, the Marx Brothers, Pat Robertson, J.P. Patches, Neal Boortz, Dori Monson, Donald Trump, Billo Reilly, and Rev. James Dobson- all have warned that the subversive, socialistic and dangerous Doctrine (not ever a law) which required access to broadcast stations of opposing views, and discussion of controversial issues, would be revived by Barack Obama, his FCC henchpersons, or Congressional running dogs like Nancy (Shiver) Pelosi.
It was a convenient right-wing straw man, a conspiracy theory that buttressed the right's dire predictions that Obama was an evil oligarch on the brink of cancelling the Constitution; it was cited in Christian pastoral infomercials on religious stations to scare the money out of their flighty listeners.
Despite FCC Chair Julius Genachowski testified in 2009 he wasn’t going to revive it. And he never has. No matter candidate Obama was against bringing it back, and President Obama still opposed the Doctrine. Or that Speaker Nancy Pelosi never proposed it when she had the power, and neither has Leader Harry Reid.
Despite all this the policy remained, fallow, on the books. Until now.
And Limbaugh, Beck et al, kept it alive by warning that it might be revived in the long-debated "localism" initiative proposed by the Bush FCC, and continued in the Obama years by Genachowski.
Don't expect the right to stop using this bogey man- Obama's “'government-wide review of regulations already on the books' designed to eliminate unnecessary regulations" runs counters to their narrative of "big-governent liberal trying to run your lives."
The facts haven't fazed the right so far, don't expect them to any time soon.