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CU Statement on Rush Limbaugh Reaction on Media Ownership

For immediate release
September 12, 2003
Susan Herold, 202-462-6262

Rush Limbaugh Whips Up Outrageous Distortion of Media Ownership Debate
Falsely Claims Bipartisan Dorgan-Lott effort in Senate to Overturn FCC Rules Would Reinstate Fairness Doctrine

Statement from Gene Kimmelman, senior director of public policy and advocacy (Washington, DC) – “As the attached verbatim comments from today’s Rush Limbaugh radio show reveal, Limbaugh has falsely asserted that the pending Senate legislation to overturn FCC rules would, among other things, reinstate the Fairness Doctrine. He goes on to claim that since the Fairness Doctrine requires balancing points of view in the media, this legislation would require him to entertain opposing viewpoints on his own program. Limbaugh has incited his listeners to call Senate offices based on this false premise about the media ownership legislation.
“Consumers Union believes Rush Limbaugh has the right to present any views he wishes to his listeners. However, with just a few days before a vote on this important legislation, we certainly hope that independently owned media outlets will challenge Limbaugh on these false statements and present the facts about what truly is in the Senate’s media ownership legislation to their viewers and readers.
“Imagine a future where people like Rush Limbaugh not only controlled the most popular radio shows in the community, but also the only newspaper and the leading television broadcast news outlets. What kind of balance in presentation of viewpoints about important public policy issues would we have then? That is what the current media ownership debate is all about.
“Rush Limbaugh has just made our case for why America needs more diversity in media ownership and content,” Kimmelman said.
“The Rush Limbaugh Show” – Broadcast Friday, Sept. 12, 2003 –
Quotes From Rush Limbaugh
“There are Republicans in the Senate helping the Democrats reinstate the Fairness Doctrine, among them is Trent Lott.”
“You think this has to do with ownership. And it does, certainly, that’s part of it. But as part of the new rules on ownership and the Democrats attempt to roll them back. And the Republicans attempt to roll them back, they’ve thrown in the reinforcement of the Fairness Doctrine as well.”
“The fairness doctrine is part of the largest media ownership bill and Senator Hutchison and Senator Lott are voting for the whole package, including the Fairness Doctrine.”