In 1985 FCC Chairman Mark S. Fowler announced that the agency would begin dismantling the 'Fairness Doctrine' because the policy was injurious to the public interest and violated free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. Ronald Reagan supported the effort despite the advice of his staff who were concerned that repealing it would result in increased media assaults on the President.
In 1987, in the case Meredith Corp. v. FCC, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that in the absence of a Congressional mandate, the FCC did not have to enforce the doctrine. In the spring of 1987 the Democrat-controlled Congress attempted to provide that mandate. Both houses of Congress passed a bill which would have provided the statutory requirement needed to ensure the continued enforcement of the doctrine by the FCC. President Reagan vetoed that bill. In August of 1987 the FCC repealed the Fairness Doctrine by 4-0 vote.
In 1988 Rush Limbaugh moved to New York City and began broadcasting The Rush Limbaugh Show nationally. Liberals recognized that the phenomenon of The Rush Limbaugh Show presented a serious threat to their agenda and, being ever unwilling to allow the 'fairness doctrine' to give up the ghost, have made repeated demands to Limbaugh that he allow them equal time to refute his right wing pontifications, to which Limbaugh has always responded, " I am equal time".
The success of the Limbaugh show proved to the broadcasting industry that the public was literally starved for an alternative to the lock step left leaning MSM. Today conservative political talk dominates the radio airwaves, and the Fox News Channel produces 9 of the top 10 highest rated cable news shows.
President Reagan died June 5, 2004, but his legacy is still being written. By repealing the 'Fairness Doctrine', he has given us the wherewithal to have the current debate; 'liberty vs. tyranny'. America owes Ronald Wilson Reagan a debt of gratitude which we cannot repay, except, possibly, by winning this debate and restoring our republic.
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