The FCC (Part One).

On the death of the fairness doctrine.

FCC commissioners inspect the latest in television, December 1, 1939.

This week we finally heed the call to Unf*ck the Federal Communications Commission (FCC.) We don’t get all the way there (it’s been around since 1934) but we manage to tackle the fairness doctrine, which was intended to provide balance and equal time in broadcasting and was repealed in 1987. Many credit this Reagan-era move as the beginning of the end of civility, leading to the divide in the nation today. But, of course, the story behind the doctrine is far more nuanced. We review a history of the FCC, its limitations and whether or not the fairness doctrine ever really had a place in America given the natural tension with the First Amendment.

Read the full essay on substack
FCC commissioners inspect the latest in television, December 1, 1939.