The Fairness Doctrine never applied to cable TV

TL;DR Summary

  • A long time ago, there was a law known as the Fairness Doctrine that required over the air broadcast stations to give equal time to different perspectives, typically meaning left versus right on political topics.
  • This rule applied only to over the air broadcasters and never applied to cable television “broadcasters” who do not use the over the air spectrum.
  • This propaganda poster asserts that Fox News came about because Reagan vetoed a bill to re-instate the already ended Fairness Doctrine.
  • Fox News, however, is a cable network and was not subject to the Fairness Doctrine. Thus, the assertion made by this poster is false.

This propaganda item works because most people who see this do not know the Fairness Doctrine only applied to over the air broadcasters. The poster’s claim – that Fox News was made possible by the veto of this bill, is false as Fox News was not launched as an over the air broadcaster – it is a cable content provider which was never included in the original Fairness Doctrine.

Today it is felt that there are so many outlets for political views (radio, TV, Internet, Youtube, social media) that there is no need to legislate that each perspective be accompanied by an opposing perspective. Anyone can look elsewhere for other views. A 2008 poll, quoted from Wikipedia, illustrates that most people “got it” that the Fairness Doctrine was no longer needed due to the plethora of content widely available:

In an August 13, 2008 telephone poll released by Rasmussen Reports, 47% of 1,000 likely voters supported a government requirement that broadcasters offer equal amounts of liberal and conservative commentary, while 39% opposed such a requirement. In the same poll, 57% opposed and 31% favored requiring Internet websites and bloggers that offer political commentary to present opposing points of view. By a margin of 71%-20% the respondents agreed that it is “possible for just about any political view to be hear

Source: Fairness Doctrine – Wikipedia

Text for Search Engines

The Father of Fake News

Ronald Reagan’s FCC abolished the Fairness Doctrine which, since 1949, required media to present both sides’ opinions in the rare event they weren’t just reporting straight news.

A Democrat-controlled Congress passed a bill to re-instate the Fairness Doctrine in 1987.

Reagan vetoed the bill.

Fox News followed in the 1990s. America is now more polarized and misinformed than ever.