FAIRNESS DOCTRINE TALK CAUSES FAR-RIGHT HEARTBURN…. I’ve been on the Fairness Doctrine beat for quite a while, telling people that Republican hysteria about a possible reinstatement is wildly misplaced. And yet, as several readers have reminded me this week, a growing number of Democrats are talking more about the idea.

Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), for example, told CNN Radio this week, “I think the Fairness Doctrine should be reinstated.” Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) both expressed similar sentiments this week. None other than Bill Clinton said this week, “Well, you either ought to have the Fairness Doctrine or we ought to have more balance on the other side, because essentially there’s always been a lot of big money to support the right wing talk shows.”

Given all of this, far-right activists, as you might imagine, are not pleased.

So, what about all of those posts I wrote, insisting that there’s no chance that the Fairness Doctrine would be reinstated? They’re still true. Craig Aaron had a good piece the other day on the larger dynamic.

As I’ve written here repeatedly, there is no chance the Fairness Doctrine will come back. There’s no bill to reinstate it in Congress, no public interest advocates are campaigning for it, and the netroots aren’t interested. Acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps doesn’t want it back, and President Barack Obama is unequivocally opposed. […]

[N]either [Stabenow nor Harkin] is in a position to actually bring back the Fairness Doctrine, unless the agriculture or banking committees are about to suddenly expand their jurisdictions. And it would seem the current Democratic president’s views on the subject are more important than the last one’s. But these factors won’t keep the Fairness Doctrine from being topic No. 1 on talk radio and Fox News.

The recent statements are evidence that there are some Democrats who are open to the idea, but that doesn’t point to a meaningful legislative push.

It’s just not going to happen. As a spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently said in response to Republican fears about this, “We have enough real problems facing this country that we don’t need to invent ones that don’t exist.”

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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.