ERIC Number: ED172305
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Minority Voices in the Marketplace of Ideas: A Case Study of Women and the Fairness Doctrine.
Freedom of Speech Newsletter, v5 n2 p3-13 Jun 1979
The fairness doctrine was established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to promote public debate over the media and to ensure that opposing viewpoints be heard on issues of public importance. To change the image of women as portrayed in the mass media, the National Organization for Women (NOW) focused on television because of the pervasive influence and effect it was assumed to have on the public. In 1971, NOW launched a campaign to monitor both network and local television broadcasting across the country. On the basis of these data, NOW filed petitions in 1972 against the license renewals of two television stations for, among other objections, their alleged failure to comply with the requirements of the fairness doctrine. NOW argued that the role of women in society is a controversial issue of public importance, but that these stations presented only one side of the issue in their programing, which portrayed women as primarily valuable for their supportive services and physical attractiveness. The FCC rejected NOW's petitions without benefit of an evidentiary hearing. While agreeing that entertainment programing could raise controversial issues, the FCC concluded that the fairness doctrine applied only if the programing amounted to "advocating a position" on the issue. (DF)
Publication Type: Historical Materials; Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Western Speech Communication Association.