Fairness Doctrine

Broadcast Localism and the Lessons of the Fairness Doctrine

In this policy briefing, John Samples examines the legacy of the speech-stifling Fairness Doctrine to inform a recent broadcast localism initiative. Although the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has permanently removed the Fairness Doctrine from its regulatory books, localism isn’t going away. While the Fairness Doctrine required licensed broadcasters to share airwaves equally in order to preserve competing political viewpoints, the broadcast localism initiative would similarly silence speech by exposing it to regulation through content requirements and advisory boards that would oversee broadcast speech. Furthermore, as was the case under the Fairness Doctrine, under this proposed localism initiative, these regulations would be susceptible to exploitation by individuals who wished to use them to bully and silence their opponents. Accordingly, through a historical overview of this political intimidation culminating with the end of the Fairness Doctrine, Samples illustrates the dangers in pursuing a policy of localism and recommends that the FCC avoid this type of regulation.

Filed Under: Fairness Doctrine, Faulty Assumptions, Research, Fairness Doctrine

Unmasking the Myths Behind the Fairness Doctrine

This paper concludes that the Scarcity Rationale for regulating traditional broadcasting is no longer valid. The Scarcity Rationale is based on fundamental misunderstandings of physics and economics, efficient resource allocation, recent field measurements, and technology. It is outmoded in today’s media marketplace.  Perhaps in recognition of the Rationale’s flaws, many variations of it have been attempted, but none fares much better under sensible, factual analysis.

Filed Under: Fairness Doctrine, Research, Fairness Doctrine

The Scarcity Rationale for Regulating Traditional Broadcasting: An Idea Whose Time Has Passed

This paper concludes that the Scarcity Rationale for regulating traditional broadcasting is no longer valid. The Scarcity Rationale is based on fundamental misunderstandings of physics and economics, efficient resource allocation, recent field measurements, and technology. It is outmoded in today’s media marketplace.  Perhaps in recognition of the Rationale’s flaws, many variations of it have been attempted, but none fares much better under sensible, factual analysis.

Filed Under: Fairness Doctrine, Research, Fairness Doctrine