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Phoenix Mayor Says Lack of Fairness Doctrine Led to AZ Immigration Law

Related: AirWars Break Out Over Fairness Doctrine

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

In a Center For American Progress forum on 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 requiring 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 reinstate 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-immigration speech.

The ACLU led a legal challenge May 17
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."