Podcast #318: Battling the Zombie of the Fairness Doctrine – Radio Survivor

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The Fairness Doctrine a Federal Communications Commission rule thats been out of commission since the 20th century just doesnt seem to die, at least in the minds of politicians, the press and much of the public. Politicos of many political stripes trot out its specter as a bogeyman any time its convenient, while efforts to regulate online speech draw inevitable comparisons.

According to Prof. Christopher Terry from the University of Minnesota, thats because people fundamentally misunderstand what the Fairness Doctrine was, why it existed, and what it did. Often assumed to be a mandate for equal time for opposing positions, it was both more nuanced and less prescriptive. Moreover, the FCCs interpretation and enforcement evolved over the years, from its first formulation in 1949, until its death in the 1980s.

Prof. Terry is here to set the record straight, explaining the rationale, history and actual life of the Fairness Doctrine. He also details why it was, and would be, a poor tool to grapple with the perceived imbalance of partisan national media, and why he thinks its zombie should finally be laid to rest.

Photo by Nathan Wright on Unsplash

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Podcast #318: Battling the Zombie of the Fairness Doctrine - Radio Survivor

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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero
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