First, some background:
The Fairness Doctrine was a policy of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), introduced in 1949, that required the holders of broadcast licenses to both present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was, in the Commission's view, honest, equitable and balanced. The FCC decided to eliminate the policy in 1987, and in 2011 the Fairness Doctrine was effectively eliminated.
The 1949 Commission Report served as the foundation for the Fairness Doctrine, since it had previously established two other forms of regulation onto broadcasters: to provide adequate coverage of public issues, and to ensure that coverage fairly represented opposing views. The second rule required broadcasters to provide reply time to issue-oriented citizens. Broadcasters could therefore trigger Fairness Doctrine complaints without editorializing. [...]
The Fairness Doctrine should not be confused with the Equal Time rule. The Fairness Doctrine deals with discussion of controversial issues, while the Equal Time rule deals only with political candidates. [...]
The main agenda for the doctrine was to ensure that viewers were exposed to a diversity of viewpoints, and in 1969, the United States Supreme Court upheld the FCC's general right to enforce the Fairness Doctrine where channels were limited. But the courts did not rule that the FCC was obliged to do so.. The courts reasoned that the scarcity of the broadcast spectrum, which limited the opportunity for access to the airwaves, created a need for the Doctrine. However, the proliferation of cable television, multiple channels within cable, public-access channels, and the Internet have eroded this argument, since there are plenty of places for ordinary individuals to make public comments on controversial issues at low or no cost. [...]
“ Well, you either ought to have the Fairness Doctrine or we ought to have more balance on the other side, because essentially there's always been a lot of big money to support the right wing talk shows. ”
Clinton cited the "blatant drumbeat" against the stimulus program from conservative talk radio, suggesting that it doesn't reflect economic reality. [...]
On August 12, 2008, FCC Commissioner Robert M. McDowell stated that the reinstitution of the Fairness Doctrine could be intertwined with the debate over network neutrality (a proposal to classify network operators as common carriers required to admit all Internet services, applications and devices on equal terms), presenting a potential danger that net neutrality and Fairness Doctrine advocates could try to expand content controls to the Internet. It could also include "government dictating content policy".
Now for the reason for this post, via Politico:
Earlier this summer FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski agreed to erase the post WWII-era rule, but the action Monday puts the last nail into the coffin for the regulation that sought to ensure discussion over the airwaves of controversial issues did not exclude any particular point of view. A broadcaster that violated the rule risked losing its license. [...]
Monday’s move is part of the commission’s response to a White House executive order directing a “government-wide review of regulations already on the books” designed to eliminate unnecessary regulations.
So there you have it. The monopoly of right wing propaganda in the media continues, gargantuan conservative corporations control most of what we see and hear, and ClusterFox et al continue to lie with abandon, while those on the left struggle to maintain a minimum number of outlets through which to get their message out.
And just for good measure:
Maybe we need a Truth Doctrine.