A Brief History
On August 4, 1987, the Federal Communications Commission officially removed any obligation of television and radio media to present controversial issues in an even and “fair” manner when they rescinded the Fairness Doctrine.
Much has been made of the blatant cheerleading by mass media for one side or the other in recent years, making so called news programs more partisan than just information. Calling the media “biased” and “fake news” has become an allegation by all sides of every issue anytime the media does not agree with a point of view.
The Fairness Doctrine originated with the Federal Communications Commission back in 1949, especially important in light of the existence of only three major TV networks and the incredible influence they would have on the public. The doctrine remained fairly popular and was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1969, before the Reagan administration did away with it.
Question for students (and subscribers): Should the Fairness Doctrine be brought back? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Simmons, Steven. The Fairness Doctrine and the Media. University of California Press, 2022.
US Senate. Fairness doctrine: Hearings before the Subcommittee on Communications of the Committee on Commerce, United States Senate, Ninety-fourth Congress. University of Michigan, 1975.
The featured image in this article, the FCC seal prior to 2020, is a work of the Federal Communications Commission, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain in the United States.
You can also watch video versions of this article on YouTube.