On this day in 1987 the FCC voted unanimously to rescind a rule that required broadcasters to present all sides and opposing views on controversial issues. What was the rule called?
Answer: The Fairness Doctrine
Some broadcasters claimed the Fairness Doctrine was chilling speech because some stations were shying away from airing controversial topics because they would risk fines. Others countered that getting rid of the rule would give broadcasters undue power over what Americans were watching, reading and listening to.
"Yes, there are risks," then-FCC Chairman Dennis Patrick said of the FCC's decision to abolish the rule, "but we as a people have elected to bear the risks of freedom rather than the greater risks which attend government control of the press."
According ABC News, the rule had been in place for 38 years before it was abolished in 1987.