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Abstract

The comments examines the rationale for the fairness doctrine, the obligations arising under it, and the FCC's administration of the doctrine. It further analyzes the judicial construction of the doctrine with emphasis on the doctrine's functional role and Constitutional ramifications. The fairness doctrine is part of a basic broadcast philosophy that mandates viewpoints on any controversial issue of public importance be fairly presented. It is partially codified by the FCC. However, after litigation, it seems clear to the courts that the fairness doctrine and the first amendment cannot share a peaceful coexistence. It may well be that the Court is waiting for a propitious opportunity to declare that the first amendment must prevail. The Federal Communications Commission will soon be required to oversee a potential source of virtually unlimited information making this job nearly impossible.

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