Fairness Doctrine Essay

1028 words - 5 pages

Throughout the history of television, it has been evident that certain news stations have portrayed their news in a way that aligns itself with a certain viewpoint or political position. For example, today one can see how stations like Fox take a conservative stance on most issues while CNN takes a more liberal perspective on the same issues. Much of the influence that the media could have on people, especially during elections, was a cause of alarm for many people. This led to the creation of the Fairness Doctrine in 1949.
Before the Fairness Doctrine, there had been numerous attempts at trying to prevent biases or influences from making their way through the media. First of all, the ...view middle of the document...

Because of the Fairness Doctrine, some of the most noticeable differences in television were seen in smoking commercials and certain movies. For example, when smoking ads were permitted in the 1960’s, the Fairness Doctrine said there had to be one anti-smoking ad for every five smoking ads. This led to the creation of character “Johnny Smoke” who starred in a 60-second commercial warning people about the dangers of smoking and how it can lead to heart disease. These anti-smoking ads had been quite successful leading people to quit smoking resulting in cigarette companies losing money. Another example of the Fairness Doctrine in use was the 1983 movie “The Day After” which was about anti-nuclear war. When this movie had appeared on ABC, Nightline, the program that came on after the movie, had conservative politicians speaking in response to the movie on how nuclear war was acceptable.
Additionally, the Fairness Doctrine included other pieces of information added later on in hopes to make it more effective. In 1967, the Political Editorial Rule was created in regards to a station’s editorials for or against a candidate running for office. Ultimately, the Political Editorial Rule said that stations who editorialized a candidate had to notify the candidate within 24 hours to comment. Also in 1967, the Personal Attack Rule was created which said when someone’s integrity is challenged when discussing a controversial issue, the person must be notified within one week and be allowed time for a response.
One of the major purposes of the Fairness Doctrine had been to set down rules and standards meant to level the playing field and give everyone an opportunity for their viewpoint to be heard. However, once America became interested in deregulation in the 1980’s, many people questioned the need for the Fairness Doctrine. Many people argued that the Fairness Doctrine had been a violation of the First Amendment, specifically the right to free speech and free press. Furthermore, the Fairness Doctrine even led journalists to no longer cover...

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