On August 4th, 1987 the Federal Communications Commission unanimously voted to repeal the fairness doctrine, its policy requiring broadcasters to air all sides of a controversial issue. Despite its lofty name, the fairness doctrine was abolished over concerns that it had a chilling effect on free speech.
"It does sound great," says George Mason University's Thomas Hazlett, "but the fact is there is a frontal conflict between the first amendment...and the government considering whether or not the fairness of a particular report passes muster."
Hazlett sat down with ReasonTV's Nick Gillespie to discuss the fairness doctrine, its repeal, and why we are unlikely to see it instituted again.
About 9 minutes. Interview by Nick Gillespie. Shot by Joshua Swain and Meredith Bragg. Edited by Bragg.
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