Following President Obama’s warning against listening to Rush Limbaugh, rumors regarding the Fairness Doctrine have become even more common. This week’s Eye on ’09 segment will explain the Fairness Doctrine and how it relates to you.The Fairness Doctrine is an FCC rule that was implemented in 1949, and was designed to ensure fair and equal coverage of controversial issues on television and radio. However, the rule quickly morphed into one that allowed government officials to force radio and TV stations to agree with the President’s messages. In 1969, The Supreme Court said that the Fairness Doctrine is legal as long as it does not hamper the on-air coverage of important issues. Just five years later, The Supreme Court found that the government’s involvement in the media makes the debate on issues less colorful and decreases the variety of information one could get through the radio or television. The rule was removed in 1987, and several attempts to revive the Fairness Doctrine have been unsuccessful. Some members of Congress have expressed interest in bringing back the Fairness Doctrine, but because it is an FCC rule, the FCC Chair (appointed by the President) can bring it back at any time without the need to pass any new law.
If the Fairness Doctrine is brought back, you can be sure that conservative talk radio and religious freedom over the airways would come to an end.
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