Former Gore Staffer: ‘Reinstate Fairness Doctrine’

Published November 9, 2010

Donna Brazile, appearing in the October 2010 issue of Oprah Winfrey’s O magazine, says she supports reinstituting the Fairness Doctrine, the controversial Federal Communications Commission policy rescinded in 1987.

In her monthly column for the magazine, the former campaign manager of Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign lightheartedly lists things she’d change if she were in charge, including sending the cast of MTV reality series Jersey Shore to the French Foreign Legion.

Brazile strikes a more serious tone when she writes: “Bring back the Fairness Doctrine, which required holders of broadcast licenses to present controversial issues of public importance in an honest, equitable, and balanced fashion.”

The Federal Communications Commission issued “The Fairness Report” in 1985, declaring unanimously the doctrine violated the First Amendment and “hurt the public interest.” Two years later, Congress attempted to make the doctrine federal law.

Congress’ effort was vetoed by President Reagan, who wrote: “History has shown that the dangers of an overly timid or biased press cannot be averted through bureaucratic regulation, but only through the freedom and competition that the First Amendment sought to guarantee.”

Internet Resources:

“What the World (Really) Needs Now,” Donna Brazile, O, October 2010:

“1987 Fairness Doctrine Veto Letter to U.S. Senate,” President Ronald Reagan: