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The Fairness Doctrine
The Fairness Doctrine first came about when Congress through the Radio Act of 1927
mandated the FCC to give broadcast licenses only to stations that served the public interest.
Around 1949 the FCC understood this to imply that licensees should involve debates about
matters of public significance in their broadcasts and it should be done fairly. The Fairness
Doctrine faced various challenges as years went by (Papa, 10-10).
In 1969 a court case; Red Lion Broadcasting Co., Inc. v. Federal Communications
Commission reached the Supreme Court challenging the policy based on the First Amendment.
The court ruled that since the Federal Communications Commission was owned by the
government and the fact that it licensed broadcasters, it maintained the right to control the
content of news. Red Lion then began allowing more rights in reference to speech to those
broadcasting, and this questioned the constitutionality of the Fairness Doctrine (Ford, 3-16).
This made the FCC reassess these rule during the mid-80s, and in 1987, it was revoked
after Congress instructed the commission to examine the matter. These decision has been
attributed with the bursting of talks that were conservative in talk radio during the late 80s and
early 90s (Morris, 134).
It has been more tw...