Twenty-Five Years After The Demise Of The Fairness Doctrine, We Need New Solutions
progressive.org — We need more local broadcasting, not a return to the Fairness Doctrine, to enhance our media diet. Twenty-five years ago this month, the Reagan administration’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) did away with the Fairness Doctrine. It ruled that the 38-year policy of requiring broadcasters to devote airtime to controversial public issues and to offer diverging viewpoints was obsolete because of the proliferation of cable TV stations. But the doctrine was not the panacea its champions believed it to be, and it wouldn’t cure what ails us today. Today, just a handful of media conglomerates hog both the TV and radio spectrum. And local TV news programming is shrinking, with enterprise reporting fading fast. Restoration of the Fairness Doctrine wouldn’t change this course. However, a move toward local ownership of broadcast media might bring us more information we need and a greater variety of meaningful voices and political sensibilities.