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Kucinich To Hold Fairness Doctrine Hearings

Per his telegraph to a media reform conference last week, Ohio Democratic Representative and presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich has been named head of a new House Domestic Policy Subcommittee and he plans to hold hearings on media ownership with an eye toward a reintroduction of the fairness doctrine.

The doctrine, which was scrapped by the FCC in 1987 as unconstitutional, put an affirmative obligation on broadcasters to air both sides of controversial issues. It's absence is also credited with the rise of conservative talk radio.

Appearing on Lou Dobbs CNN program Kucinich said he planned to hold hearings on the doctrine. He said that since the doctrine was scrapped by the FCC, 50 media companies have shrunk to six. Kucinich, who voted against the war in Iraq and does not want to fund the administration's proposed troop increase, tied the absence of the doctrine and concentration of media to the launch of the war. "How in the world did we end up in this war in Iraq when one study said that only three news sources that opposed the war were able to get on the air out of 393. What does that say. Was there an uninhibited exchange of ideas." He did not identify the study.

"I think that this is an opportunity for America to revisit the issue of consolidation of the media," he told Dobbs. "And how it relates to whether the media is serving in the public interest."