Phoenix Mayor Blames Immigration Law Partly On Absence Of Fairness Doctrine

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, who opposes his state's controversial new immigration law, blames the Regan-era Federal Communicastions Commission, at least in part, for the law's passage.

In a Center For American Progress forum May 14, Gordon said the seeds of the law go back to 1987, when
the FCC scrapped the fairness doctrine as unconstitutional. "I think it goes back to the Reagan era when the
fairness doctrine was dropped," he said, "and instead of rquiring both sides of a debate to be aired, only one side
was given the chance depending on who was providing that."
He said that even more important was the change in tone stemming from that decision. "Language that was never
acceptable became maintstream," he said. "Those that were deemed to be in disagreement with those on television or radio were demonized as traitors and extremists and hateful and language that we have never heard seen."
The result, he said, was that such demonization became "acceptable in the mainstream media and acceptable in

The National Hispanic Media Coalition last year asked the FCC to investigate what they said was hate speech on
radio and TV, particularly as directed at the immigrant community. But they also said they were not looking to re-
imposed the doctrine, which required broadcast stations, radio and TV, to seek out opposing viewpoints on issues of national importance.

Conservative talk radio and some cable news programs have been targets of complaints about anti-imigration speech.

Monday the ACLU led a legal challenge to the Arizona law, which instructs police to seek documentation of the status for anyone they suspect of not being in the country legally. The groups say the law "encourages racial profiling, endangers public safety and betrays American values. "

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.