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Fairness Doctrine Often "Not Really Fair," Prof. Jeff McCall '76 Tells Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

November 15, 2008

Jeff McCall 2006.jpgNovember 15, 2008, Greencastle, Ind. - "There is a huge misconception, I think, in the public about what a Fairness Doctrine could possibly do," Jeffrey M. McCall, professor of communication at DePauw University, tells the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "I don't think people understand the repercussions that it would have on talk radio, on religious radio stations or the fact that even though it has been called the Fairness Doctrine, in many ways, it is not really a fair doctrine."

The Fairness Doctrine, which was set aside in 1987, mandated that broadcasters provide balanced coverage of controversial issues. But Dr. McCall states, "It's called the Fairness Doctrine and it might sound good, and a lot of folks would say, 'Who can be against fairness?' But this really isn't an issue of discussing fairness. This is an issue of discussing whether the government should be forcing communicators to talk about things that they don't want to (talk about) or to advocate positions that they don't believe."

The professor is quoted several times in an opinion column by Dimitri Vassilaros. Radio Microphone.gifIf the Fairness Doctrine were to be reinstated, when "controversial issues are aired, the respective stations will be mandated to air other programs that counterbalance whatever opinions were aired on the aforementioned shows," Vassilaros writes.

Access the column, "The Unfairness Doctrine," at the newspaper's Web site.

Jeff McCall, a 1976 graduate of DePauw, authored an Indianapolis Star op-ed on the Fairness Doctrine in September and recently analyzed the media's coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign. He is the author of the book Viewer Discretion Advised: Taking Control of Mass Media Influences and has been cited in articles published by more than 80 newspapers.

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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