fairness doctrine


: a tenet of licensed broadcasting that ensures a reasonable opportunity for the airing of conflicting viewpoints on controversial issues

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Bolstered by his dogged reporting and backed with an internal fairness doctrine most journalists only dream of, Wahl changed the field for women’s sports. Tara Sullivan, BostonGlobe.com, 17 Dec. 2022 The migration reminds her of the late Eighties and early Nineties — after the FCC fairness doctrine was repealed. Samantha Hissong, Rolling Stone, 4 Jan. 2022 The real disaster in the United States was the abandonment of the fairness doctrine in the Reagan era. Rodger Dean Duncan, Forbes, 1 June 2021 The fairness doctrine went out the window and there are consequences. Oliver Staley, Quartz, 27 Mar. 2021 Limbaugh replaced him and was soon developing his ad-lib style — but one constrained by the Federal Communications Commission's fairness doctrine. Star Tribune, 17 Feb. 2021 In 1949, the Federal Communications Commission established the fairness doctrine, which interpreted operating in the public interest to require broadcasters to cover major public-policy debates and present multiple points of view. New York Times, 13 Oct. 2020 Under the fairness doctrine, a dozen or so minor party candidates would have been entitled to participate in the debates. Sam Roberts, New York Times, 24 Apr. 2020 The 1987 repeal of the fairness doctrine means television and radio broadcasters are no longer required to air conflicting views on significant public issues; balance is mostly self-policed. Isaac Stanley-becker, The Seattle Times, 8 Jan. 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fairness doctrine.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1952, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fairness doctrine was in 1952

Dictionary Entries Near fairness doctrine

Cite this Entry

“Fairness doctrine.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fairness%20doctrine. Accessed 31 Mar. 2023.

Legal Definition

fairness doctrine

: a doctrine requiring broadcasters to provide an opportunity for response to personal attacks aired by the broadcaster and especially for the airing of conflicting viewpoints on controversial issues
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