IT NEVER ENDS…. The National Review‘s Michael G. Franc’s latest item begins with the headline: “Will Obama Revive the Fairness Doctrine?”


Apparently, during Eric Holder’s confirmation hearing, both Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania (remember, he’s supposed to be one of the Republican caucus’ more sensible members) and Jeff Sessions of Alabama peppered the Attorney General-designate on his position on the Fairness Doctrine. Holder conceded he didn’t know much about the policy, saying he would need to “know more about it before I could intelligently respond to the question.”

Later, Holder responded to Specter and Sessions in writing, explaining that if Congress acted on the Fairness Doctrine, he would review its legality and be “fair and impartial” about its application. In other words, Holder doesn’t much care, and the issue isn’t on his radar screen. Given that he’ll be at the Justce Department, the issue isn’t really up to him anyway.

The National Review‘s Franc, without noting for his readers that Obama has already said he opposes reinstating the Fairness Doctrine, believes Holder’s “evasive responses” offer a “hint” that the new Obama administration may “re-open” the Fairness Doctrine issue. Franc concludes:

The bottom line is beware — and stay tuned to your favorite talk radio host for further details!

It’s like reading dispatches from a parallel universe.

For the record, TNR‘s Marin Cogan recently wrote a great piece, noting that she couldn’t find anyone on the left who was serious about reinstating the policy. Cogan explained, “The prospect of being in the opposition often brings out the worst in conservatives — paranoia and self-pity.”

And as Matt Yglesias recent put it, “I’ve never heard of anything like the current conservative mania for blocking a particular legislative provision that nobody is trying to enact.”

I suppose it’s better to have far-right voices obsessing over a problem that doesn’t exist — as opposed to, say, bothering us with input on actual policy disputes — but conservatives’ obsession with this sure is tiresome.

(thanks to Ron Chusid for letting me know about Franc’s item)

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.