Fairness Doctrine
The Fairness Doctrine was a policy of the United States Federal Communications Commission
Federal Communications Commission
The Federal Communications Commission is an independent agency of the United States government, created, Congressional statute , and with the majority of its commissioners appointed by the current President. The FCC works towards six goals in the areas of broadband, competition, the spectrum, the...

 (FCC), introduced in 1949, that required the holders of broadcast license
Broadcast license
A broadcast license or broadcast license is a specific type of spectrum license that grants the licensee the privilege to use a portion of the radio frequency spectrum in a given geographical area for broadcasting purposes. The licenses are generally straddled with additional restrictions that...

s to both present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was, in the Commission's view, honest, equitable and balanced. The FCC decided to eliminate the Doctrine in 1987, and in August 2011 the FCC formally removed the language that implemented the Doctrine.

The Fairness Doctrine had two basic elements: It required broadcasters to devote some of their airtime to discussing controversial matters of public interest, and to air contrasting views regarding those matters. Stations were given wide latitude as to how to provide contrasting views: It could be done through news segments, public affairs shows, or editorials. The doctrine did not require equal time for opposing views but required that contrasting viewpoints be presented.

The main agenda for the doctrine was to ensure that viewers were exposed to a diversity of viewpoints. In 1969 the United States Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 upheld the FCC's general right to enforce the Fairness Doctrine where channels were limited. But the courts did not rule that the FCC was obliged to do so.. The courts reasoned that the scarcity of the broadcast spectrum, which limited the opportunity for access to the airwaves, created a need for the Doctrine. However, the proliferation of cable television, multiple channels within cable, public-access channels, and the Internet have eroded this argument, since there are plenty of places for ordinary individuals to make public comments on controversial issues at low or no cost.

The Fairness Doctrine should not be confused with the Equal Time
Equal-time rule
The equal-time rule specifies that U.S. radio and television broadcast stations must provide an equivalent opportunity to any opposing political candidates who request it...

 rule. The Fairness Doctrine deals with discussion of controversial issues, while the Equal Time rule deals only with political candidates.


The 1949 FCC Commission Report served as the foundation for the Fairness Doctrine. It established two forms of regulation on broadcasters: to provide adequate coverage of public issues, and to ensure that coverage fairly represented opposing views. The second rule required broadcasters to provide reply time to issue-oriented citizens. Broadcasters could therefore trigger Fairness Doctrine complaints without editorializing. The commission required neither of the Fairness Doctrine's obligations before 1949. Until then broadcasters had to satisfy only general “public interest” standards of the Communications Act.

The doctrine remained a matter of general policy and was applied on a case-by-case basis until 1967, when certain provisions of the doctrine were incorporated into FCC regulations.

Application of the Doctrine by the FCC

In 1974, the Federal Communications Commission stated that the Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 had delegated it the power to mandate a system of "access, either free or paid, for person or groups wishing to express a viewpoint on a controversial public issue..." but that it had not yet exercised that power because licensed broadcasters had "voluntarily" complied with the "spirit" of the doctrine. It warned that:

In one landmark case, the FCC argued that teletext
Teletext is a television information retrieval service developed in the United Kingdom in the early 1970s. It offers a range of text-based information, typically including national, international and sporting news, weather and TV schedules...

 was a new technology that created soaring demand for a limited resource, and thus could be exempt from the Fairness Doctrine. The Telecommunications Research and Action Center (TRAC) and Media Access Project (MAP) argued that teletext transmissions should be regulated like any other airwave technology, hence the Fairness Doctrine was applicable (and must be enforced by the FCC). In 1986, Judges Robert Bork
Robert Bork
Robert Heron Bork is an American legal scholar who has advocated the judicial philosophy of originalism. Bork formerly served as Solicitor General, Acting Attorney General, and judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit...

 and Antonin Scalia
Antonin Scalia
Antonin Gregory Scalia is an American jurist who serves as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. As the longest-serving justice on the Court, Scalia is the Senior Associate Justice...

 of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit known informally as the D.C. Circuit, is the federal appellate court for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Appeals from the D.C. Circuit, as with all the U.S. Courts of Appeals, are heard on a...

 concluded that the Fairness Doctrine did apply to teletext but that the FCC was not required to apply it.  In a 1987 case, Meredith Corp.
Meredith Corporation
The Meredith Corporation is a media conglomerate based in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. The company has two divisions, National Media and Local Media.-History:...

 v. FCC
, two other judges on the same court declared that Congress did not mandate the doctrine and the FCC did not have to continue to enforce it.

Decisions of the United States Supreme Court

In Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC, , the U.S. Supreme Court upheld (by a vote of 8-0) the constitutionality of the Fairness Doctrine in a case of an on-air personal attack, in response to challenges that the doctrine violated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The case began when journalist Fred J. Cook
Fred J. Cook
Fred James Cook was an investigative journalist whose prime years of reporting spanned from the 1950s to the late 1970s...

, after the publication of his Goldwater: Extremist of the Right, was the topic of discussion by Billy James Hargis
Billy James Hargis
Billy James Hargis was a fundamentalist Protestant Christian evangelist. At the height of his popularity in the 1950s and 1960s, his Christian Crusade ministry was broadcast on more than 500 radio stations and 250 television stations...

 on his daily Christian Crusade radio broadcast on WGCB
WGCB-TV is a television station serving the Harrisburg/Lancaster/York region of Pennsylvania, United States. Broadcasting a digital signal on UHF channel 30, it is an independent station producing mainly Christian programs.It is also affiliated with Me-TV...

 in Red Lion, Pennsylvania
Red Lion, Pennsylvania
Red Lion is a borough in York County, Pennsylvania, settled in 1852 and incorporated on January 16, 1880. The population was 6,373 at the 2010 census.-History:Red Lion, settled in 1852, was named after one of the first pubs in town, the Red Lion Tavern....

. Mr. Cook sued arguing that the Fairness Doctrine entitled him to free air time to respond to the personal attacks.

Although similar laws are unconstitutional when applied to the press, the Court cited a Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 report (S. Rep. No. 562, 86th Cong., 1st Sess., 8-9 [1959]) stating that radio stations could be regulated in this way because of the limited public airwaves at the time. Writing for the Court, Justice Byron White
Byron White
Byron Raymond "Whizzer" White won fame both as a football halfback and as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Appointed to the court by President John F. Kennedy in 1962, he served until his retirement in 1993...


The Court warned that if the doctrine ever restrained speech, then its constitutionality should be reconsidered.

However, in the case of Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo
Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo
Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo, 418 U.S. 241 , was a United States Supreme Court case that overturned a Florida state law requiring newspapers to allow equal space in their newspapers to political candidates in the case of a political editorial or endorsement content...

, , Chief Justice
Chief Justice of the United States
The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the United States federal court system and the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Chief Justice is one of nine Supreme Court justices; the other eight are the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States...

 Warren Burger wrote (for a unanimous court): This decision differs from Red Lion v. FCC in that it applies to a newspaper, which, unlike a broadcaster, is unlicensed and can theoretically face an unlimited number of competitors.

In 1984, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress could not forbid editorials by non-profit stations that received grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Corporation for Public Broadcasting
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is a non-profit corporation created by an act of the United States Congress, funded by the United States’ federal government to promote public broadcasting...

 (FCC v. League of Women Voters
League of Women Voters
The League of Women Voters is an American political organization founded in 1920 by Carrie Chapman Catt during the last meeting of the National American Woman Suffrage Association approximately six months before the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution gave women the right to vote...

 of California
). The Court's 5-4 majority decision by William J. Brennan, Jr.
William J. Brennan, Jr.
William Joseph Brennan, Jr. was an American jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1956 to 1990...

 stated that while many now considered that expanding sources of communication had made the Fairness Doctrine's limits unnecessary: After noting that the FCC was considering repealing the Fairness Doctrine rules on editorials and personal attacks out of fear that those rules might be "chilling speech", the Court added:

Basic doctrine

In the mid-1980s, under FCC Chairman Mark S. Fowler
Mark S. Fowler
Mark S. Fowler served as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission from May 18, 1981 to April 17, 1987. Appointed by Ronald Reagan, he led repeal of the Fairness Doctrine and spearheaded the deregulatory trend in telecommunications policy, stating, "The television is just another appliance...

, a communications attorney who had served on Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign staff in 1976 and 1980, the commission began to repeal parts of the Fairness Doctrine, stating in 1985 that the doctrine hurt the public interest and violated free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Fowler said in February 2009 that his work toward revoking the Fairness Doctrine under the Reagan Administration had been a matter of principle (his belief that the Doctrine impinged upon the First Amendment), not partisanship. Fowler described the White House staff raising concerns, at a time before the prominence of conservative talk radio and during the preeminence of the Big Three television networks
Big Three Television Networks
The Big Three Television Networks are the three traditional commercial broadcast television networks in the United States: ABC, CBS and NBC...

 and PBS in political discourse, that repealing the policy would be politically unwise. He described the staff's position as saying to Reagan: Instead, Reagan supported the effort and later vetoed the Democratic-controlled Congress's effort to make the doctrine law.

In August 1987, the FCC abolished the doctrine by a 4-0 vote, in the Syracuse Peace Council decision, which was upheld by a panel of the Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit in February 1989. The FCC also suggested that because of the many media voices in the marketplace, the doctrine be deemed unconstitutional, stating that:

In June 1987, Congress attempted to preempt the FCC decision and codify the Fairness Doctrine, but the legislation was vetoed by President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

. Another attempt to revive the doctrine in 1991 was stopped when President George H.W. Bush threatened another veto.

Corollary rules

Two corollary rules of the doctrine, the personal attack rule
Personal attack rule
The personal attack rule was a corollary to the Federal Communication Commission's fairness doctrine that mandated response time for an individual or group attacked during "origination cablecasting" that focused on a controversial issue of public importance...

 and the "political editorial" rule, remained in practice until 2000. The "personal attack" rule applied whenever a person (or small group) was subject to a personal attack during a broadcast. Stations had to notify such persons (or groups) within a week of the attack, send them transcripts of what was said and offer the opportunity to respond on-the-air. The "political editorial" rule applied when a station broadcast editorials endorsing or opposing candidates for public office, and stipulated that the unendorsed candidates be notified and allowed a reasonable opportunity to respond.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ordered the FCC to justify these corollary rules in light of the decision to repeal the Fairness Doctrine. The FCC did not provide prompt justification and ultimately ordered their repeal in 2000.


In February 2005, U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter (Democrat of New York) and 23 co-sponsors introduced the Fairness and Accountability in Broadcasting Act (H.R. 501) in the 1st Session of the 109th Congress of 2005-7 (when Republicans
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 held a majority of both Houses). The bill would have shortened a station's license term from eight years to four, with the requirement that a license-holder cover important issues fairly, hold local public hearings about its coverage twice a year, and document to the FCC how it was meeting its obligations. The bill was referred to committee, but progressed no further.

In the same session of Congress, Representative Maurice Hinchey
Maurice Hinchey
Maurice Dunlea Hinchey , is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1993. He is a member of the Democratic Party...

 (another Democrat from New York) introduced legislation "to restore the Fairness Doctrine". H.R. 3302, also known as the "Media Ownership Reform Act of 2005" or MORA, had 16 co-sponsors in Congress.

In June 2007, Senator Richard Durbin (D-Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

) said, "It's time to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine," an opinion shared by his Democratic colleague, Senator John Kerry
John Kerry
John Forbes Kerry is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, the 10th most senior U.S. Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 presidential election, but lost to former President George W...

  of Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

. However, according to Marin Cogan of The New Republic
The New Republic
The magazine has also published two articles concerning income inequality, largely criticizing conservative economists for their attempts to deny the existence or negative effect increasing income inequality is having on the United States...

in late 2008:

On June 24, 2008, U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Patricia D'Alesandro Pelosi is the Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives and served as the 60th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011...

 of San Francisco, California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 (who had been elected Speaker of the House in January 2007) told reporters that her fellow Democratic Representatives did not want to forbid reintroduction of the Fairness Doctrine, adding "the interest in my caucus is the reverse." When asked by John Gizzi of Human Events
Human Events
Human Events is a weekly American conservative magazine. It takes its name from the first sentence of the United States Declaration of Independence...

, "Do you personally support revival of the 'Fairness Doctrine?'", the Speaker replied "Yes."

On October 22, 2008, Senator Jeff Bingaman
Jeff Bingaman
Jesse Francis "Jeff" Bingaman, Jr. , is the senior U.S. Senator from New Mexico and a member of the Democratic Party...

 (Democrat of New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

) told a conservative talk radio host in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque is the largest city in the state of New Mexico, United States. It is the county seat of Bernalillo County and is situated in the central part of the state, straddling the Rio Grande. The city population was 545,852 as of the 2010 Census and ranks as the 32nd-largest city in the U.S. As...


On December 15, 2008, U.S. Representative Anna Eshoo
Anna Eshoo
Anna Georges Eshoo is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1993. She is a member of the Democratic Party. The district, which includes part of Silicon Valley, includes the cities of Redwood City, Sunnyvale, Mountain View and Palo Alto...

 (Democrat of California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

) told The Daily Post
Palo Alto Daily Post
The Daily Post is a revival of the original Palo Alto Daily News, founded in 2008 by the Daily News’ founders Dave Price and Jim Pavelich. The Post is published Monday-Saturday and distributed in more than a dozen communities on the San Francisco peninsula...

 in Palo Alto, California
Palo Alto, California
Palo Alto is a California charter city located in the northwest corner of Santa Clara County, in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, United States. The city shares its borders with East Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Stanford, Portola Valley, and Menlo Park. It is...

 that she thought it should also apply to cable and satellite broadcasters.

On February 4, 2009, Senator Debbie Stabenow
Debbie Stabenow
Deborah Ann Greer "Debbie" Stabenow is the junior United States Senator from Michigan and a member of the Democratic Party. Before her election to the U.S. Senate, she was a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Michigan's 8th congressional district from 1997 to 2001...

 (Democrat of Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

) told radio host Bill Press
Bill Press
William "Bill" Press is a US talk radio host, political commentator and author.-Career:Press has a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Niagara University and Bachelor of Sacred Theology from the University of Fribourg. He started his broadcasting career in Los Angeles for TV stations KABC-TV and...

, when asked whether it was time to bring back the Doctrine: When Press asked if she would seek Senate hearings on such accountability in 2009, she replied:
A week later, on February 11, 2009, Senator Tom Harkin (Democrat of Iowa
Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...

) told Press, "...we gotta get the Fairness Doctrine back in law again." Later in response to Press's assertion that "...they are just shutting down progressive talk from one city after another," Senator Harkin responded, "Exactly, and that's why we need the fairthat's why we need the Fairness Doctrine back."

Former President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 has also shown support for the Fairness Doctrine. During a February 13, 2009, appearance on the Mario Solis Marich radio show, Clinton said: Clinton cited the "blatant drumbeat" against the stimulus program from conservative talk radio, suggesting that it doesn't reflect economic reality.


The Fairness Doctrine has been strongly opposed by prominent conservative
Conservatism is a political and social philosophy that promotes the maintenance of traditional institutions and supports, at the most, minimal and gradual change in society. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others oppose modernism...

s and libertarians who view it as an attack on First Amendment rights and property rights. Editorials in The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal is an American English-language international daily newspaper. It is published in New York City by Dow Jones & Company, a division of News Corporation, along with the Asian and European editions of the Journal....

and The Washington Times
The Washington Times
The Washington Times is a daily broadsheet newspaper published in Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. It was founded in 1982 by Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon, and until 2010 was owned by News World Communications, an international media conglomerate associated with the...

in 2005 and 2008 said that Democratic attempts to bring back the Fairness Doctrine have been made largely in response to conservative talk radio
Talk radio
Talk radio is a radio format containing discussion about topical issues. Most shows are regularly hosted by a single individual, and often feature interviews with a number of different guests. Talk radio typically includes an element of listener participation, usually by broadcasting live...


In 2007, Senator Norm Coleman
Norm Coleman
Norman Bertram Coleman, Jr. is an American attorney and politician. He was a United States senator from Minnesota from 2003 to 2009. Coleman was elected in 2002 and served in the 108th, 109th, and 110th Congresses. Before becoming a senator, he was mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota, from 1994 to 2002...

 (Republican, Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

) proposed an amendment to a defense appropriations bill that forbade the FCC from "using any funds to adopt a fairness rule." It was blocked, in part on grounds that "the amendment belonged in the Commerce Committee
United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
The United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation is a standing committee of the United States Senate in charge of all senate matters related to the following subjects:* Coast Guard* Coastal zone management* Communications...

's jurisdiction".

In the same year, the Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2007 was proposed in the Senate by Senators Coleman with 35 co-sponsors (S.1748) and John Thune
John Thune
John Randolph Thune is the junior U.S. Senator from South Dakota and a member of the Republican Party. He previously served as a U.S. Representative for .-Early Life, Education:...

 (R-SD) with 8 co-sponsors (S.1742) and in the House by Republican Representative Mike Pence
Mike Pence
Michael Richard "Mike" Pence is the U.S. Representative for Indiana's , and previously the , serving since 2001. The 6th district covers much of Eastern Indiana. He is a member of the Republican Party....

 of Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

 with 208 co-sponsors (H.R. 2905). It provided that: Neither of these measures came to the floor of either house.

On August 12, 2008, FCC Commissioner Robert M. McDowell
Robert M. McDowell
Robert Malcolm McDowell is a commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission.-Federal Communications Commissioner:...

 stated that the reinstitution of the Fairness Doctrine could be intertwined with the debate over network neutrality
Network neutrality
Network neutrality is a principle that advocates no restrictions by Internet service providers or governments on consumers' access to networks that participate in the Internet...

 (a proposal to classify network operators as common carrier
Common carrier
A common carrier in common-law countries is a person or company that transports goods or people for any person or company and that is responsible for any possible loss of the goods during transport...

s required to admit all Internet services, applications and devices on equal terms), presenting a potential danger that net neutrality and Fairness Doctrine advocates could try to expand content controls to the Internet. It could also include "government dictating content policy". The conservative Media Research Center
Media Research Center
The Media Research Center is a content analysis organization based in Alexandria, Virginia, founded in 1987 by conservative activist L. Brent Bozell III...

's Culture & Media Institute argued that the three main points supporting the Fairness Doctrine — media scarcity, liberal viewpoints being censored at a corporate level, and public interest — are all myths.

On February 16, 2009, Mark Fowler said:

In the 111th Congress (January 2009 to January 2011), some members introduced the Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2009 (S.34, S.62, H.R.226), to block reinstatement of the Doctrine. On February 26, 2009, by a vote of 87-11, the Senate added that act as an amendment to the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009 (S.160), [a bill which later passed the Senate 61-37, but not the House of Representatives]. The Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 reported that the vote on the Fairness Doctrine rider
Rider (legislation)
In legislative procedure, a rider is an additional provision added to a bill or other measure under the consideration by a legislature, having little connection with the subject matter of the bill. Riders are usually created as a tactic to pass a controversial provision that would not pass as its...

 was: The AP report went on to say that President Obama had no intention of reimposing the doctrine, but Republicans (led by Sen. Jim DeMint
Jim DeMint
James Warren "Jim" DeMint is the junior U.S. Senator from South Carolina, serving since 2005. He is a member of the Republican Party and a leader in the Tea Party movement. He previously served as the U.S. Representative for from 1999 to 2005.-Early life and education:DeMint was born in...

, R-S. Carolina) wanted more in the way of a guarantee that the doctrine would not be reimposed.

Suggested alternatives

Media reform organizations such as Free Press
Free Press (organization)
Free Press is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, national organization working to reform the media in the United States.It was founded in 2002 by media scholar Robert W. McChesney, The Nation contributor John Nichols, and Josh Silver, current CEO of the Democracy Fund, a foundation challenging the influence...

 feel that a return to the Fairness Doctrine is not as important as setting stronger station ownership caps and stronger "public interest" standards enforcement (with funding from fines given to public broadcasting
Public broadcasting
Public broadcasting includes radio, television and other electronic media outlets whose primary mission is public service. Public broadcasters receive funding from diverse sources including license fees, individual contributions, public financing and commercial financing.Public broadcasting may be...


In June 2008, Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

's press secretary wrote that Obama (then a Democratic U.S. Senator from Illinois and candidate for President): In February 2009, a White House spokesperson said that President Obama continues to oppose the revival of the Doctrine.

Public opinion

In an August 13, 2008 telephone poll released by Rasmussen Reports
Rasmussen Reports
Rasmussen Reports is an American media company that publishes and distributes information based on public opinion polling. Founded by pollster Scott Rasmussen in 2003, the company updates daily indexes including the President's job approval rating, and provides public opinion data, analysis, and...

, 47% of 1,000 likely voters supported a government requirement that broadcasters offer equal amounts of liberal and conservative commentary, while 39% opposed such a requirement. In the same poll, 57% opposed and 31% favored requiring Internet web sites and bloggers that offer political commentary to present opposing points of view. By a margin of 71%-20% the respondents agreed that it is "possible for just about any political view to be heard in today’s media" (including the Internet, newspapers, cable TV and satellite radio
Satellite radio
Satellite radio is an analogue or digital radio signal that is relayed through one or more satellites and thus can be received in a much wider geographical area than terrestrial FM radio stations...

), but only half the sample said they had followed recent news stories about the Fairness Doctrine closely. (The margin of error
Margin of error
The margin of error is a statistic expressing the amount of random sampling error in a survey's results. The larger the margin of error, the less faith one should have that the poll's reported results are close to the "true" figures; that is, the figures for the whole population...

 had a 95% chance of being within ± 3%.)

Formal revocation

In June 2011, the Chairman and a subcommittee chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, both Republicans, said that the FCC, in response to their requests, had set a target date of August 2011 for removing the Fairness Doctrine and other "outdated" regulations from the FCC's rulebook.

On August 22, 2011, the FCC formally voted to repeal the language that implemented the Fairness Doctrine, along with removal of more than eighty other rules and regulations, from the Federal Register
Federal Register
The Federal Register , abbreviated FR, or sometimes Fed. Reg.) is the official journal of the federal government of the United States that contains most routine publications and public notices of government agencies...

 following a White House executive order directing a "government-wide review of regulations already on the books", to eliminate unnecessary regulations.

See also

  • False balance
    False balance
    False balance is a centuries old English phrase, found in the King James Bible to indicate a dishonest measurement....

  • Free speech
  • Media Freedom Project
    Media Freedom Project
    The Media Freedom Project is a project of Americans for Tax Reform, dedicated to free market, deregulatory media, technology and telecommunications policies....

  • Nakdi Report
    Nakdi Report
    The Nakdi Report, also known as the Nakdi Document or as the Nakdi guidelines is the document that provides ethical guidelines for use in Israel's broadcasting industry. Published as the Guidelines for Coverage of News and Current Affairs in 1995, the doctrine was first introduced in 1972 by the...

  • Prior restraint
    Prior restraint
    Prior restraint or prior censorship is censorship in which certain material may not be published or communicated, rather than not prohibiting publication but making the publisher answerable for what is made known...

  • Accurate News and Information Act
    Accurate News and Information Act
    The Accurate News and Information Act was a statute passed by the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, Canada, in 1937, at the instigation of William Aberhart's Social Credit government...

     - Canadian equivalent

Further reading

  • Fred W. Friendly
    Fred W. Friendly
    Fred W. Friendly was a president of CBS News and the creator, along with Edward R. Murrow, of the documentary television program See It Now...

    , The Good Guys, The Bad Guys and The First Amendment: free speech vs. fairness in broadcasting (Random House
    Random House
    Random House, Inc. is the largest general-interest trade book publisher in the world. It has been owned since 1998 by the German private media corporation Bertelsmann and has become the umbrella brand for Bertelsmann book publishing. Random House also has a movie production arm, Random House Films,...

    , New York, 1976; ISBN 0-394-49725-2) — a history of the Red Lion case and the Fairness Doctrine.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.