FCC Strikes Fairness Doctrine From Rule Book

More than 80 outdated rules removed for good

The Federal Communications Commission announced today that it has eliminated more than 80 outdated media-related rules, including the controversial Fairness Doctrine, which, until it was halted in the 1980s, required broadcasters to include different viewpoints on “issues of public importance.”

“The elimination of the obsolete Fairness Doctrine regulations will remove an unnecessary distraction,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement. “As I have said, striking this from our books ensures there can be no mistake that what has long been a dead letter remains dead.”

The doctrine hasn’t actually been enforced since 1987, when it was deemed unconstitutional by the FCC. But Republicans and conservative broadcasters, worried about its re-emergence, pushed for the doctrine to be officially removed from the rule books, despite the fact that President Obama repeatedly stated that he didn’t support the doctrine.

The FCC is also doing away with two corollaries to the doctrine which forced broadcasters endorsing a particular political candidate to give other candidates equal time, and to give candidates time to respond to personal attacks. Both corollaries were repealed by the FCC in 2000 but also remained on the books.