February 21, 2021

It’s Time to Revisit the Fairness Doctrine

After much vulgar brutalization, it’s time to reinvigorate the principles of the Fairness Doctrine.

Ronald Reagan, another celebrity president, executed many acts that resulted in some of our current social issues. He cut taxes for the rich (believing in disproved trickle-down economics), closed mental hospitals (creating a homeless population needing more than simple housing assistance) and deactivated the Fairness Doctrine.

The Fairness Doctrine evolved during the early years of television under the Federal Communications Commission. The Commission believed in “free and fair competition of opposing views … to all discussion of issues of importance to the public.” It required television and radio broadcasters to present opposing views to ensure Americans understood the facts surrounding public or political issues.

Under Reagan, the Fairness Doctrine was deactivated, opening the door for the likes of Rush Limbaugh to focus on “alternative facts”. Under Trump, the FCC further loosened ownership restrictions on media stations opening the door for Sinclair Broadcast Group, now the owner of nearly 300 television stations across the U.S.

The lack of guiding principles holding broadcast news accountable and the monopoly of stations owned by conglomerates has resulted in a polarized media portraying one side of an issue while — legally — completely ignoring the full facts of the situation.