Time to re-visit the Fairness Doctrine?

By Dvitale300, a Trail Mix Contributor

In August of 1987, four FCC commissioners (1 appointed by Nixon, 3 appointed by Reagan), dismantled what was known as the “Fairness Doctrine”.  The Fairness Doctrine had been in place since 1941 where it originally applied to radio broadcasts.

In a nutshell, the FD “established two forms of regulation on broadcasters: to provide adequate coverage of public issues, and to ensure that coverage fairly represented opposing views”.

‘In keeping with our station’s ‘fairness doctrine,’ let’s hear from a bigot…’

I remember watching television news broadcasts where opposing points of view were brought on screen to rebut an editorial or critical/controversial news story.  Sometimes it seemed a bit awkward, but usually you could tell in a few seconds whether the opposing viewpoint was BS or not.

While I realize we have an entirely different media schema today, with the passing of opposing newspapers in cities, and the plethora of cable and internet media (not to mention the fact that viewers of Faux News are statistically considered the most ignorant media consumers in our country); current politics and policy have arrived at the point in which perhaps a new Fairness Doctrine needs to be re-visited.

As a discussion topic point, Megyn Kelly is set to air an interview on NBC news this Sunday.  The interview is with Alex Jones, a renowned conspiracy guru who has said that 9-11 was an “inside job” and that Sandy Hook was fake in which no one died and the teachers and children were actors.

While JP Morgan Chase has cancelled all advertising on NBC until after the interview – is this enough?  Is it enough to let the free market system police what goes on the public airways?  Or, is it time to re-visit the Fairness Doctrine?

What say ye?

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64 thoughts on “Time to re-visit the Fairness Doctrine?”

  1. How did this Post pass the review process? If we’re going to criticize, at least be accurate with basic facts. Inaccuracies just add to garbage. Doesn’t matter if it’s from the Right, Left, Center.

  2. The death of the fairness doctrine was also in conjunction with the relaxation of ownership rules allowing media ownership to be consolidated into three owners.  The only major change that has occurred in ownership has been Amazon owner, Bezos, buying Washington Post.

    The “leak” that is not a leak because it does not involve classified material, is that Mueller is looking at the floater for obstruction charges.  Every now and then someone says what the real issue is, money laundering, but goes no further and that recedes to the rear for days or weeks before being spoken again.  Why would russians and ner’do right types buy over priced crap for high prices?  Yeah, you got it.  Is the floater a middle man in the money trade?  We will find out.

  3. “Viewers of Faux News are statistically considered the most ignorant media consumers in our country” –

    Yeah, let’s dig that divide deeper & wider. This President is going down one way or another. What type of country will emerge? My thoughts might be considered stupid by some here, but I’d hope it’d be a country where everyone is respected & heard. We have to live together or leave. Choice is ours.

  4. I think many humans are getting immune to the shootout scenario…nash posted many years ago about how the mass shootings, attacks, etc. will get to be commonplace enough to have their ten minutes every morning…just like traffic news.  I commented I was sorry to hear about the shooting…always sorry, but not outraged anymore.  And because the political dominates and controls guns, ammo and more guns — many in congress are elected with the help of the NRA (like Bernie).   Our current prez is an NRA supporter…claiming to end the eight year assault by Obama yet Obama was the nation’s best gun salesman.   And enter the conspiracy crowd who helped elected the commander-in-thief.  Deny that Sandyhook took place…actor parents.  The sad fact is that you lie, Barton’s 10 year old son was at the practice yesterday and I imagine he was terrified.  Just like those little children at Sandyhook….some are still alive and we forget about them in the rush to air political salvos.  Live and Die by the gun…should be on our money….the damn truth.

  5. the legitimizing of Fox News in the last election allowed the poison into the mainstream election.  First time they were able to anchor a debate nationally with chris wallace in Vegas?  bannon took down the CPD during the Las Vegas debate…creating the pussy circus.  Our international debate and election star became tarnished…and we were being hacked as a country by russia.  It was like the twin towers fell on the internets in a cyber war and the newly elected repugs did not notice?  No one seemed to care and only notice when pressed on the issue.

    For the record…I am a moderate. And I became a democrat after the election.  This labeling 2/3rds of the country as left or liberal?  Hogwash!  Most are moderates and the alt right is in the WH, not the general population.

    In fairness to div for a fine post?  Edit button…these talking heads change networks constantly…news refugees.

  6. “My thoughts might be considered stupid by some here, but I’d hope it’d be a country where everyone is respected & heard.”

    sjwny, imho your thoughts are considered by our fellow mixers no more stupid (stupider?) than the drivel I post… look at it as poetic license.  at times the trail does seem like a boisterous game of paint ball where by the end of the day all have been slapped with a broad brush of boos, bahs and bs.


    bw & sjwny, hopefully fearless leader will correct dv’s faux pas.  I blame it on spell check whenever it sees megyn it automatically writes fox.

  7. sj…  good to see you posting.

    DV….  the fairness law was a good thing, IMO.  Am I watching Megyn’s interview…  no.  But not because I’m officially “boycotting” anything.  I just stopped doing politics on Sundays years ago and feel much better for it.  Many people choose to not listen to differing opinions…  I don’t share their view…  but that’s the world we live in now.

    As for the outrage over what happened yesterday in Alexandria VA…  I like what xrep said.

  8. patd…I see it more as megyn cannot wash-off the stink from Faux News.  ailes is gone. period.   An era of yesterday and Faux News was the sperm donor of fake news…machine learning…artificial hatred…dividing America voice boxes of the alt right, right and leaning right groups.   ailes…the maker of kings and presidents.

  9. I am going to watch outtakes of the kelly/jones interview as they will be on the internets where I do get much news…tv is for opine in the 24 news cycle.  Anyway, who could stand to watch the entire interview?…just like her interview with putin.  BTW, our prez putin has weighed in on the election hack...putie claims comey provided no evidence.  I wonder if Mueller will interview putie, take a deposition.

  10. bb, have a hunch that latest “leak” on the Mueller expansion  did not came from fbi, but from within wh staff.  most likely from one of those who are daily in the line of fire-ing.  mutiny among the ranks likely if they are close to pence and or speaker ryan (i.e. the successors next in line for potus).

  11. even Australia sees the hack…from Turnball’s remarks about trump —

    “We’re winning in the real polls,” he continued, to gales of laughter from the audience. “You know, the online polls.” He added, “They are so easy to win. I have this Russian guy.”

  12. So sorry for the f-up guys.  I know Kelly is with NBC and left Fox in January.  I think I just had Faux on the brain as I was trying to recall those research studies that were done re which media consumer had what level of governmental knowledge.

    Please read the post in the light of the fairness doctrine.


  13. putie’s plan worked.period.sad.

    AND for the record, fox is dropping the ‘fair and balanced’ slogan!

  14. from the article about fox dropping ‘fair and balanced’ slogan —

     Ailes invented the slogan when he launched the network in 1996, and over the years it became a quasi-religious doctrine among Fox’s anchors and viewers. The effectiveness of Fox News as a vehicle for conservative ideology depended on it. “If you come out and you try to do right-wing news, you’re gonna die. You can’t get away with it,” Ailes once told a reporter.

  15. Gabrielle Giffords: We need courage to face our gun-safety problem now


    We should emulate the courage of the Capitol Police officers who ran toward danger, selflessly putting the safety of those they protect before their own, and the Alexandria officers who responded with force within three minutes of the attack.

    We will all need courage to speak to one another and actually listen; to put aside partisan political differences and talk with one another, not yell or call names. We can stand shoulder to shoulder and say differences will not prevent us from working toward solutions. We are Americans; it’s in our nature to work toward a better, safer union.

    We will dig deep and work together to make sure that in America, teams can gather to play baseball, children can go to school, friends can meet at a dance club and elected officials can go out in public among their neighbors and constituents, all without fear of gun violence.


    she was also on abc “good morning America”

    Gabby Giffords calls on Republicans, Democrats to ‘work together’ after GOP baseball shooting

  16. hurrah for the judicial branch!

    from wapo:

    A federal judge in Washington on Wednesday ordered the Trump administration to conduct further environmental reviews of the Dakota Access pipeline but stopped short of halting oil-pumping operations pending further hearings beginning June 21.

    U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg handed a limited victory to Native American tribes in North Dakota that had challenged the administration’s effort to speed the project, and his dense, 91-page opinion directed both sides to appear before him next Wednesday to decide next legal steps.

  17. my pet peeve on this issue is that media companies have conspired to get us to forget that the airwaves are public, they’re at it now regarding the internet

  18. Even more than the fairness doctrine, the lifting of the restrictions on mergers, number of outlets allowed in a market, ownership of multi-media outlets has handed communications over to a limited number only interested in the next click, ear, or eye ready to buy whatever is being shilled.

    I may want to avoid Megyn Kelly NBC, but it will likely be by watching something else on Comcast Cable or streamed over X-Finity also at least partially owned by NBC.

    This chart on Media cross-ownership is just the tip of the iceberg.


  19. Oh and if you want to know what swayed 30% of the voting public even more than the Russians on line, all of the major checkout tabloids are owned by American Media which produces The National Enquirer, Star Magazine, and The Globe.

    I’m sure they all shared the “Hillary On Her Deathbed” photos.

    This article gives the Very Cozy Relationship between Pecker & Trump (There is a Patd joke waiting to happen in that duo)


  20. I’m not scared to watch what’s-her-name. In fact, I watched her broadcast last Sunday (I recorded 60-min as well). I thought Kelly’s broadcast was interesting; I plan to watch this week as well. If her guest turns out being shrill and irrational I’ll consider that the price of furthering my education.

    SJ! I missed you

  21. Oliver Stone is  Putin apologist   -speaking of NOT watching something

    what  a fool he has turned into

  22. DV

    great post

    when I was on the board of Common Cause in Cal  I used to do all the responses to the stupid editorials of the stations -great fun.

    Bring back the fairness doctrine and let us remember we own the airways and the rights of ways

  23. I think there should more gun control, mental health coverage and jobs for people between the ages of 50-65 who have been left out.


    Pussy G – give more guns to the mentally ill and fake jobs for the senior job seekers


    I suspect the goopers don’t want this to become a gun control issue and are going to use it to build up a case for greater police presence   –after all it would have been so much worse of the capitol police hadn’t been there as the security detail….

  24. excerpt form  Bloomberg:
    Scalise’s position on firearms legislation puts him within the mainstream of the Republican Party, which endorsed gun rights in its platform last year. The NRA urged voters to support President Donald Trump.

    Scalise voted along with other House Republicans in January to reverse a federal rule aimed at preventing people with serious mental-health problems from buying guns. The measure succeeded following a Senate vote, and the repeal was signed by Trump in February.

    Scalise is among 148 co-sponsors of a bill to loosen restrictions on silencers that had been set for a hearing Wednesday. A House committee canceled the session.

    Over his congressional career that began in 2008, Scalise has introduced four times a measure to ease interstate firearms sales. He has supported bills to repeal gun-control measures in the District of Columbia and to allow people with state-issued permits to carry concealed weapons do so in other states. Those measures never became law.

  25. Of course the instant this announcement of investigation of the great orange appeared, the WH immediately issued talking points for all the Spokesclowns.  You would almost suspect they knew it was about to happen.  Feel free to sing along when one appears on the political yammer shows.

  26. Pussy G can kiss his ass good bye.  Even if by some miracle he manages to blame someone else

    his behavior and affect is so repellent  I think he is done.

  27. Yesterday, I went through my Facebook “On This Day” link and my tweets from last year at this time were about gun control. Sad to see what happened yesterday. Was reminded of a song lyric that said “Love is still the answer at all times”. I tweeted to Megyn Kelly the other day that if she wanted to talk to someone about conspiracies, she could talk to 3 guys I know at work. I mean, none of us at work wanna listen to people spouting conspiracy theories. A few weeks ago at work, some guy said that the recent Times Square incident was fake. It was all CGI. That’s how ridiculous some of these people are.

  28. Corey, I know those twerps bother you; they’d bother me too. About all you can do is maintain a veneer of sociability while keeping an eye on your six.

  29. CNN files lawsuit seeking Comey’s Trump memos – CNN



    “That constitutes a violation of the federal Freedom of Information Act, the lawsuit alleges. CNN asked the court to require the agency release the documents “unredacted, and without further delay

  30. sj – Glad to see you back in the trail!


    The Republican Noise Machine was published about a dozen years ago.   Media was an effective tool, so the left decided to fight fire with fire.  Now, we have a lop-sided mess, in that we can completely ignore the other side’s bias in favor of our own.  Media may become a less effective tool if nobody trusts the information on either side because news is all opinion and little/no fact.

  31. All I said to him was, “Don’t even go there.” He replied, “I just did.”

    The other night, this guy was complaining about the things we can’t have at work. You know, food and drinks (other than water) on the plant floor.

    I said, “I once worked at a place where we could have whatever food and drink we wanted on the floor.”

    He said, “Really?”

    I said, “Yep. Of course, I worked at a grocery store.”

  32. Sjwny raising the bar- i like it!


    The problem isn’t media content, it’s a lack of critical thinking skills from its consumers.  This is evidenced by the fact that a charlatan like Alex Jones is even considered by a major media outlet to have broad appeal to its viewers.


    “airwaves are public, they’re at it now regarding the internet” -CC

    -they’re not public airwaves if they enter your domain through a cable, exclusively.

  33. Just look at things this way: if a media talking-head wants you to espouse a particular philosophy or support some sort of public policy, ask yourself, “what is the cost of implementation to that person, and what is the cost to me?”


    If your answer is something close to “nothing, and everything”, respectively, it may behoove you to disregard that person.

    (You may want to consider being doubly suspicious is you conclude that such a policy-proponent benefits directly while you sacrifice.)

    Have a good day; duck and cover.

  34. If the mainstream mediots had critical thinking skills the viewers might catch on after a bit. I can’t imagine matthews or scarborough ever developing those skills. And, fakes news ? Well, forget that.

  35. I’ve always felt that the airwaves, like the ocean and air, belong to the nation, and that the nation, rather than corporate big shots, ought to decide what may be broadcast. If ripofflicans don’t like it, they can start their own country – as in their favorite novel Atlas Shrugged.

  36. no idea what you’re talking about Bink. FCC and congress have authority to regulate cable TV same as broadcast, affirmed by long standing Supreme Court rulings going back to the industry’s beginnings. They might abdicate their authority but doesn’t mean they don’t have it.

  37. Bink

    Cable for the most part (although  they rent space from utilities) travel over public rights of way

    thus the local franchise.

    Craig said it very well –just because they don’t doesn’t mean they can’t

  38. horsey cartoon above and below in la times:

    Trump’s follies distract while Mitch McConnell brews healthcare poison

    Mitch McConnell has never let concerns about hypocrisy get in the way of advancing his legislative agenda. Now, while the media and American citizens are fixated on each daily warp of the soap operatic presidency of Donald Trump, McConnell has huddled behind locked doors with his Republican loyalists and favored lobbyists to assemble a healthcare scheme that will disassemble Obamacare.

    There are no public hearings scheduled; no engagement with any Democrats; no amendments allowed; no light of day to shine on the shadowy sausage-makers who want to give a huge tax cut to the wealthy by taking away healthcare from millions of Americans. McConnell, the majority leader of the Senate, just wants to get a bill to the floor as expeditiously as possible and get it passed quickly before more than a handful of people get a chance to look at it.

    Here’s where the hypocrisy rears its homely head: When Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — back in 2010, Republicans screamed that the bill had been rammed through without careful analysis and with no participation from Republicans. Actually, that was not especially true. Compared with the GOP Senate’s current secret legislative process, what Democrats did back in 2009 and 2010 looks like pure Athenian democracy. The Senate alone held 58 hearings on the ACA over a year of public consideration. Republicans were not part of the process because they refused to take part.

  39. from Chicago trib:

    A frequently polarized Senate found common ground Thursday as Republicans and Democrats joined forces to approve a sweeping sanctions bill that punishes longtime adversaries Iran and Russia with an array of financial penalties.

    The bipartisan legislation passed overwhelmingly Thursday, 98-2, more than five months after U.S. intelligence agencies determined Moscow had deliberately interfered in the 2016 presidential campaign. Lawmakers have long sought to hit Iran with more sanctions in order to check its ballistic missile program and rebuke Tehran’s continued support for terrorist groups.


    Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., voted against the sanctions package.

  40. Holy Roller!  Baptists resolution against the alt right and white nationals…chaos in Arizona meeting.

    from the article —

    It affirmed that “there has arisen in the United States a growing menace to political order and justice that seeks to reignite social animosities, reverse improvements in race relations, divide our people, and foment hatred, classism, and ethnic cleansing.” It identified this “toxic menace” as white nationalism and the alt-right, and urged the denomination to oppose its “totalitarian impulses, xenophobic biases, and bigoted ideologies that infect the minds and actions of its violent disciples.” It claimed that the origin of white supremacy in Christian communities is a once-popular theory known as the “curse of Ham,” which taught that “God through Noah ordained descendants of Africa to be subservient to Anglos” and was used as justification for slavery and segregation. The resolution called on the denomination to denounce nationalism and “reject the retrograde ideologies, xenophobic biases, and racial bigotries of the so-called ‘alt-right’ that seek to subvert our government, destabilize society, and infect our political system.”


    there goes the trumpence coalition.

  41. back in 1997, the transition had started from analog to digital of the American airwaves.  An old opine on the process from the NYT.  The public still owns the airwaves and now I can put a digital antennae on my digital tv and get free tv…just like old analog days with the metal ‘rabbit ears.’  However, I do not own the stations, networks, cable, transmission, equipment, etc.  If I tried to enter any secure areas of transmission, I would be arrested.  Yes, I own the airwaves, but it is nothing but air without equipment.  As an end user, my equipment is cheap compared to the broadcast side.  My complaint?  We are taxed on cable, phone service, internet, etc.

  42. and the Baptist resolution will not become official, but interesting to see that language at a Baptist convention.

  43. The issue comes down to two, perhaps even three, sides.  First side are the political attacks. How many per decade?  Around the world?  One or two? Give ’em five?  Second one are the religious attacks (not the talibon or antiabortion). Give ’em five?  Third are the out and out loonies.  Give ’em ten?  Total of twenty per decade.  How many are the republicans preparing for?  ten or twenty thousand?

    Finally an MSNBC panelist spewed the words I have not.  The words which would bring down the entire mob family. The words which would give meaning to “. . . they would rot in jail .  . . ”   The words which have struck fear in the meekest of mice and the strongest of gorillas.  She said “Tax Evasion”


  44. Looks like a good time for Trump to ramp up funding for white collar prisons.

  45. Mueller sees Trump’s childish tweets, thinks ‘fire me’ and see how that works for you.

  46. High crimes and misdemeanors. Our founders understood the value of vagueness.

  47. In Wapo about the admin members lawyering up,

    The vice president was kept in the dark for nearly two weeks about Flynn’s misstatements, before learning the truth in a Post report. Trump ultimately fired Flynn for misleading the vice president. 

    Fake news?  lol.

  48. I’m happy to announce that pence has retained a tip top criminal attorney. What did pence know and when did he know it ?

  49. xr, pence should have hired a lawyer the minute the twit asked him to sign that confidentiality promise.

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