Resolved: That the Fairness Doctrine should be reinstated.
Foreword: Congratulations to everyone who debated at nationals in Kansas this past summer. It was great to meet and work with so many of you. To anyone new to debate, or to Finalist Files, I’m looking forward to meeting you at nationals next summer.
The Fairness Doctrine was implemented in 1949 as an FCC policy to regulate broadcast media. Simply stated, the Doctrine required those licensed to broadcast to cover controversial issues of public importance and to exhibit a reasonable balance in their overall programming. In the spirit of deregulation common to the Reagan years, the Fairness Doctrine was repealed in 1987. Debates over the Doctrine have arisen sporadically over the last two decades. This year, the debate began after talk radio deemed the immigration bill “amnesty.” The bill was subsequently defeated on the Senate floor. The influence of conservative talk radio is a hotly contested and partisan issue. Rush Limbaugh is becoming a household name on the floor of Congress. As Democrats have no hope of reinstating the Doctrine before Bush leaves office anyway, all the hype is likely trying to establish the Fairness Doctrine as a campaign issue.
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