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The Fairness Doctrine was in effect from 1949 to 1987. So I ask:

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Commie Pinko Dirtbag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-03-09 07:32 PM
Original message
The Fairness Doctrine was in effect from 1949 to 1987. So I ask:
Were radio and TV less democratic, or less fair, during that time? Were there any ill effects?
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-03-09 07:35 PM
Response to Original message
1. Once we got rid of the ridiculous Hayes Office, it was great
There was a lot of crap for people who like to watch crap, but there was also great political and cultural discussion going on.

The Fairness Doctrine gave us great things like "Point, Counterpoint" on "60 Minutes," among other things. More than one side of the political spectrum got heard.

Joe Pyne still got to scream against liberals on his show, but he didn't do it in an intellectual vacuum with no one to answer his crap.
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Donnachaidh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-03-09 07:37 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. "Jane, you ignorant slut!" oh wait..
Different Counterpoint.... :evilgrin:
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baldguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-03-09 07:35 PM
Response to Original message
2. Those brainwashed by the neocons will say "yes".
Edward R Morrow was a horrible propagandist.
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bbinacan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-03-09 07:35 PM
Response to Original message
3. Today,
there are so many media outlets that the fairness doctrine has become moot.
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Commie Pinko Dirtbag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-03-09 07:42 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. If it's moot, why is it being fought against so vehemently?
Don't lots of people still listen to broadcast TV and radio mainly?

Isn't broadcast TV going to be able to carry more channels soon? (DTV)
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bbinacan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-03-09 08:18 PM
Response to Reply #6
17. Waste of time, money, and effort. n/t
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Rage for Order Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-03-09 07:36 PM
Response to Original message
4. I'm not really qualified to say, so I'll chime in!
The 1980's were my teen years, spent in a haze of pot smoke and heavy metal. That said, there were only 3 or 4 TV stations, and all the radio stations in my area sucked, so I didn't see any benefit or detriment.

Hopefully someone else will have a more relevant answer to your question :)
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spanone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-03-09 07:45 PM
Response to Original message
7. with the fairness doctrine, you saw both sides of an issue...faux could not exist
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-03-09 07:50 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. It artificially reduced issues to usually two and only two viewpoints IMO
Most important issues have multiple facets, and many different ways of looking at them.
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spanone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-03-09 07:53 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. it gave both sides of political issues.....that's how i saw it. especially in news broadcasts.
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-04-09 07:30 AM
Response to Reply #11
24. What if an issue has three sides? Or four?
Many issues are not binary choices.
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Occam Bandage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-03-09 07:57 PM
Response to Reply #7
13. Sure it could. Fairness doctrine can't do anything about cable news.
There's no Constitutional grounds for that. Only the airwaves (which are public property) can be regulated.
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Junkdrawer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-03-09 08:00 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. AM / FM News Radio?
:shrug:
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spanone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-03-09 09:09 PM
Response to Reply #14
19. federally regulated airwaves.....end o pigboy
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Doremus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-03-09 08:06 PM
Response to Reply #7
15. Nor could Rush. The repigs got a bonanza when Sir Ronny struck down the FD.
He may have been suffering from dimentia, but even Raygun knew what the repigs could achieve without the constraints of the FD. And he was right, much to our everlasting regret. :(


To answer the OP, I was in my 30s when the FD became history. The entire TV industry has changed in the years since so I'm not sure if there's much relevance anymore. For instance, news departments weren't profit centers for the parent conglomerate, they were considered a public service. In order to keep their licenses, they and their radio counterparts had to justify that what they were serving up as programming in some way served the public good.

There wasn't much commentary on the screen but when there was it was clearly labeled as such (none of these armies of half-baked, has-been "experts" opining as if it were gospel from on-high). Those with opposing viewpoints could request time to present the other side of the story, and were often granted, at least on our local channels.

The Fourth Estate of 30 years ago (and prior) wasn't perfect, but in my humble opinion it was light years ahead of the sleazy, infotainment-filled, propaganda pipeline that calls itself the news today.



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EstimatedProphet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-04-09 07:38 AM
Response to Reply #15
27. Rush could exist very well in that market
The Fairness doctrine only stated that broadcasters had a responsibility to air opposing viewpoints. Rush could still say anything he wanted that he says now. The station would just be required to provide a forum if anyone wanted to disagree with him publicly.
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EstimatedProphet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-04-09 07:31 AM
Response to Reply #7
25. Of course it could.
Fox is a PAY SERVICE. You can have pay channels that do everything short of slander if you want.
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-04-09 07:35 AM
Response to Reply #7
26. No, actually it's been explained the Fairness Doctrine simply dictated a station run ONE editorial
ONE short editorial.

Sorry that isn't seeing "both sides of an issue" in a meaningful way.

And Fox certainly could exist.

They'd just have Colmes do a 30 second editorial every day at 3am.

The problem is media consolidation.
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-03-09 07:48 PM
Response to Original message
8. There were some pretty amusing "qualified representatives of opposing viewpoints" on local TV
No ill effects that I could see. Not much good either.
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Junkdrawer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-03-09 07:50 PM
Response to Original message
10. Before Cable TV, News was considered a Public Service...
and was handled more by journalistic professionals.

Once News Divisions had to turn a profit, sensational news and corporate propaganda became the norm.
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Sheets of Easter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-03-09 09:29 PM
Response to Reply #10
21. 24-hour cable news killed journalism.
There are only so many news stories per day or per week, the rest is filler, and that's where the bias seeps in.

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Occam Bandage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-03-09 07:56 PM
Response to Original message
12. I think there are a number of things that have happened since that make a fair judgment impossible.
Edited on Tue Mar-03-09 07:56 PM by Occam Bandage
The first and most important is the rise of cable TV and with it the 24-hour news cycle. Also important have been the conglomeration of media corporations, the rise of the Internet and decline of newspapers, increased media outreach and coordination efforts on the part of political campaigns, and the coming of the permanent campaign mentality.
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KharmaTrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-03-09 08:16 PM
Response to Original message
16. It Was More Local...
1949 marked the end of radio's "golden age"...TV had overtaken the radio as the prime home entertainment and radio was struggling to find its way (not much different than today). Stations found their niches in programing to their local audiences...the heydey of disk jockeys and time and temp guys ruled the airwaves until MTV came along in the early 80's. Also radio went through a post war boom...radio stations appeared all across the country, not to mention the new fangled FM stations. In short, people had unprecedented access to the airwaves. FCC rules, including the Fairness Doctrine were designed to encourage this movement that helped the industry propser like never before.

The Fairness Doctrine was never a factor in radio programming...it was designed to prevent a station from freezing out a candidate from buying advertising time (or charging them a higher rate than a favored candidate) and give them access to mandated public affairs shows.

There were controversial shows during those days...folks in LA will surely remember Tom Payne and Wally George. They sure didn't hold back on their right wing leanings...nor were William F. Buckley who appeared weekly on teevees all across the country. But they were just a few of many voices...when rules prohibited the massive consentration of power in one owner or even one network. Cross ownership rules even prevented a powerful newspaper from dominating the local airwaves.

It wasn't the "Fariness Doctrine" that changed radio, it was "deregulation"...or should we call it what it was...monopolization. When one company can control 1,100 radio licenses...what type of diversity or democracy can one expect? Radio fell to the "golden rule"..those who had the gold, like the Mayes family who were boooshie rangers, made the rules and dictated the formats. It's this mismanagement that has put radio on the edge of bankruptcy.

In retrospect, the free market will do in those that attempted to turn the public airwaves into their own plantations.
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Commie Pinko Dirtbag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-04-09 07:23 AM
Response to Reply #16
23. Ah, the ownership rules. When did THOSE change? -nt
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KharmaTrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-04-09 07:49 AM
Response to Reply #23
28. Several Stages...
The first movements for Dereg came under Raygun that eliminated many of the public service and news requirements. In '91, under Poppy booosh, the first "duopolies" were allowed...that enabled a company to "double-up"...or pick up a second station in a market. This voided the rules set up in 1941 that prevented one company (RCA in specific) from gaining too much control of a market and forced a company to own only one AM and one FM station in up to 5 (and then 7) markets. In '91, the market caps were elminiated...companies could buy anywhere they wanted. Also, the FCC began to permit LMA or "Limited Management Agreements" that permitted a smaller station or competitor to have its programming or sales run by a cross-town operation, but the license remained in seperate hands.

The real coup de grace was Telcom '96...it allowed corporates to own up to 5 AM and 5 FM stations in major markets and through their LMAs to all but control the best frequencies in every market around the country. Station license values rose dramatically as local operators sold out for the good money (all borrowed, now coming due)...bigger got better...stock prices sored and the big got bigger...Clear Channel now controls over 1,100 licenses across the country.

The problem hasn't been "fairness", it's access.

Cheers...
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stillcool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-03-09 09:07 PM
Response to Original message
18. I don't know from personal experience...
I did watch Ted Turner's CNN, and I didn't see the down-side to that take-over immediately. From what I've read the "Fairness Doctrine" does not require equal time, it does not change the content of cable news, and I'm not sure what constitutes 'controversial issues'. From what I understand the airing of the other side of the 'controversy' is scheduled by the owner at any time they choose to show it. It seems to me that CNN and MSNBC provide two sides. One is a lie, one is the truth, but they do not differentiate between the two.
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Sheets of Easter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-03-09 09:28 PM
Response to Original message
20. I'm only 35, so I may not have a whole lot of insight.
But as the saying goes, the media is only as liberal as the corporations that own it, and the same applies to the era of the Fairness Doctrine. Still, the FD allowed both sides of a story to be told in a balanced matter; it's not a device to prop up one ideology over another.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-03-09 09:33 PM
Response to Original message
22. It mean the right wing couldn't run propaganda all the time ... slight interruptions!
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