The Fairness Doctrine in Broadcasting

Problems and Suggested Courses of Action

by Henry Geller


Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 6.5 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback161 pages $30.00 $24.00 20% Web Discount

Analysis and suggested actions for resolution of the FCC inquiry into the fairness doctrine (Docket No. 19260). The Congressional scheme for broadcasting is a system of short-term licensees obligated to operate in the public interest. Crucial to this operation is a two-fold duty: to devote a reasonable amount of broadcast time to discussion of controversial issues; and to do so fairly, by affording reasonable opportunity for opposing viewpoints. This report suggests several policies regarding both these duties in order to promote the goal of robust debate, including a return to the practice of generally applying the fairness doctrine only at time of license renewal, percentage guidelines for informational programming, and an annual listing of the main fairness efforts on the most important issues covered by the broadcaster. Other policies are suggested regarding rules on personal attacks and political editorializing, staged or slanted news, commercials, and the flat ban on sale of time for controversial issues.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.