For all the talk in some quarters of the fairness doctrine being a non-issue, its possible reimposition under a new administration or FCC has been the the focus of a lot of attention lately.
That was the doctrine that required broadcasters to seek out opposing viewpoints on issues of public importance. It’s demise in 1987 gave rise to conservative radio talkers who have been pains in Democrats’ sides, and elsewhere, ever since.
FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell, a fiscal and political conservative and one of the most thoughtful and reasonable people I have run into on the regulatory front, spoke at length to a Media Institute crowd last week about the history and implications of the doctrine, as well as ways it might resurface both robed in its original righteousness and masquerading as something else.
Those comments drew a quick response from an equally thoughtful voice from the other side of the political aisle, Henry Geller.
In the interests of fairness, and without even a doctrine to point us to that conclusion at the end of a regulatory rifle, we wanted to expose you, dear reader, to both sides of this potentially controversial issue of public importance.