PEEK

Obama FCC Nominee Comes Out Against Fairness Doctrine -- Will Conservatives Finally Stop Freaking Out?

Probably not.

So, for the better part of the past year, right-wing radio talkers have been sore afraid that President Barack Obama was going to reimpose this piece of legislation called the "Fairness Doctrine." And right along, I've been trying -- vainly! -- to chill people out, and let them know that no such thing was going to happen.

What is the "Fairness Doctrine?" Imposed in 1949, the Fairness Doctrine mandated that the scarcity of media resources made it necessary that FCC license holders allow competing points of view to have equal time and access. In practice, the Fairness Doctrine was always tricky to enforce, and so in 1987 is was done away with. In the immediate offing, right wing radio flourished. Of course, since then, the media has expanded to include satellite radio and cable television and the internet, eliminating the original "scarcity of resources" argument that underpinned the Fairness Doctrine in the first place, while greatly complicating a media sphere that the law couldn't handle well when it was implemented nearly sixty years ago.

Jason Linkins is an associate editor at the Huffington Post, based in Washington, DC.
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