Reagan’s Veto Kills Fairness Doctrine Bill
President Reagan, intensifying the debate over whether the nation’s broadcasters must present opposing views of controversial issues, has vetoed legislation to turn into law the 38-year-old “fairness doctrine,” the White House announced Saturday.
The doctrine, instituted by the Federal Communications Commission as public policy in 1949, requires the nation’s radio and television stations to “afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views on issues of public importance.”
“This type of content-based regulation by the federal government is, in my judgment, antagonistic to the freedom of expression guaranteed by the First Amendment,” Reagan said in his veto message. “In any other medium besides broadcasting, such federal policing of the editorial judgment of journalists would be unthinkable.”