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
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.
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.
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 08:56 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.
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.
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.
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.
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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