Did it have anything to do with the enormous investment required to get a TV or radio show on the air? --Ed Poor 08:56, 16 May 2007 (EDT)
- http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/F/htmlF/fairnessdoct/fairnessdoct.htm would seem to see that it used to, but doesn't any more. --Ed Poor 09:00, 16 May 2007 (EDT)
I rewrote the article a bit, so it no longer seemed that Reagan was opposing "fairness". Rather, he was championing free speech. That's fair, isn't it?
- Yes. I was in a hurry to correct an article which indicated that the fairness doctrine was still in effect, and wasn't fussing too much about politics.
- As to why...
- My recollection... shooting from the hip... is that it had nothing much to do with investment, but with the idea that there were no ownership rights to the electromagnetic spectrum. It was a "commons," although I don't think that phrase was used at the time. Broadcasters did not own their spectrum, they licensed it. A condition of the license was that they were required to serve the public interest. The fairness doctrine sprang from that.
- I believe the concept of public service was part of the Communications Act of 1936, which opened up the airwaves to commercial use.
- The parallels with the Internet are very strong. It was, essentially, the universities and colleges that did all the heavy lifting in the pioneering of broadcast radio. There was great debate about commercializing the airwaves. There was serious consideration given to keeping it restricted to nonprofit use, and the universities were very annoyed at the possibilities of their doing all the hard work and businesses reaping the rewards, and concerned about getting squeezed the air completely if commercial interests were allowed.
- In the end, Congress gave business about 90% of what they wanted, but set some special rules that kept a portion of the radio spectrum open for educational broadcasting. I don't remember what happened on the AM dial, but that's basically why virtually all the campus broadcasting stations (which includes most of the NPR outlets) are at the low end of the FM dials.
- I remember reading that for first few years of commercial broadcasting, it was usual for commercial stations to turn off their transmitters one full day of the week, to give listeners a shot at receiving more distant stations. Dpbsmith 11:33, 16 May 2007 (EDT)
- P. S. I put a lot of that in the past tense, but I believe "license, not own" and "serve the public interest" are still the current legal framework, but have been essentially hollowed out for practical purposes by the FCC's current policies and interpretation. My guess is that when someone has paid big bucks in a spectrum auction, they probably feel as if they've bought something, or leased it anyway.
- I think it's inconsistent and wrong for the FCC to take a laissez-faire, free-market, free-speech approach to issues of political speech on the airwaves, or commercials on children's television, but not to take the same laissez-faire, free-market, free-speech approach when it comes to Janet Jackson's wardrobe. Dpbsmith 11:40, 16 May 2007 (EDT)
Unfairness of the doctrine
I have just read an article at The Claremont Institute implying that the "Fairness Doctrine" was intended purely to censor conservative ideas. The doctrine did not put an end to public affairs programming, but rather ensured that only liberal views got a "fair" hearing.
Obama opposes doctrine
Is this really relevant? I do not think so. I feel that removing it is the best course of action as it does not contribute to the article and contains a liberal bias. Please feel free to correct me otherwise. --TaylorH 00:30, 11 August 2011 (EDT)