FCC Eliminates Fairness Doctrine for US Broadcasts
'Fair and Balanced' No More: Fairness Doctrine Discarded
The FCC has eliminated the Fairness Doctrine.
The Fairness Doctrine, enacted in 1949 when airwaves were considered a public resource, required broadcasters to provide equal airtime to opposing views. The Fairness Doctrine has actually not been enforced since 1987, but you already guessed that if you've been watching US television at any point in the last 20 years.
The Fairness Doctrine is now officially dead as the FCC purges unenforced laws from its books. While arguments against the law are valid, perhaps they assume a more switched-on viewing public than actually exists. Regardless, the law was set aside in 1987, and was never re-implemented.
What will this change? Nothing, really. There would be no Rush Limbaugh, no Bill O'Reilly, no Keith Olbermann had the Fairness Doctrine been enforced, and Rupert Murdoch's empire would most likely not have grown as quickly or as large.
In the days of cable TV and the internet, though, the doctrine is irrelevant. Most TV channels are not public properties, and websites are not the same creatures as television programs. FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said that his agency would eliminate the Fairness Doctrine in June, and the deed has now been done.