Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Conrad on Fake News, Personal Attacks, and Ideological Media Run Amok--It Is Time For Fairness Doctrine 2.0 @FordhamGSB

Mark A. Conrad, Fordham University, Gabelli School of Business, has published Fake News, Personal Attacks, and Ideological Media Run Amok – It is Time for Fairness Doctrine 2.0. Here is the abstract.

From 1949 to 1987, a regulation known as the “Fairness Doctrine” required radio and television stations to offer response time to those attacked by a broadcast editorial or commentary and required radio and television stations to offer differing views of issues of public concern. The Supreme Court upheld this rule against a First Amendment challenge, noting that the unique aspects of broadcasters justified this requirement. Ultimately, the rule was rescinded by the Federal Communications Commission on the ground that it was no longer needed because the growth of broadcasters rendered it outdated. The FCC determination also questioned its constitutionality. In more recent years, the expansion and influence of talk radio and cable news commentators coupled with the election of Donald Trump as president created a more toxic political environment with certain commentators employing distortions and even lies in their broadcasts and cablecasts. This paper advocates a return of the Fairness Doctrine, crafted to include cable television and streamed broadcasts deriving from cable as an effective way to allow opposing viewpoints for audiences that are effectively limited from access to those views because of the of ideological bent of the radio stations and cable services they watch. The article will demonstrate that a resurrection of the Fairness Doctrine is important for the future of the electorate and would be constitutionally valid.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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