FCC Eliminates Fairness Doctrine

Commission does away with with regulations that stipulate broadcasters must present both sides of public issues

The Federal Communications Commission is punting the Fairness Doctrine along with over 80 rules it labels "outdated and obsolete."

The doctrine was designed to ensure that broadcasters present opposing viewpoints about public issues. President Ronald Reagan abolished the rule in 1987, saying it violated free speech rights.

The commission has not enforced the regulations for over twenty years, but some Democrats in congress have agitated to reinstitute the rules as a check on a partisan cable news climate.

It is often mistakenly confused with the equal-time rule, which is still in effect and requires TV and radio stations to provide equal coverage to any opposing political candidate that asks for it. 

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has been a longtime critic of the doctrine and has been pressing to eliminate it by the end of the summer.  

In a statement, Genachowski said, “Our extensive efforts to eliminate outdated regulations are rooted in our commitment to ensure that FCC rules and policies promote a healthy climate for private investment and job creation."