Aug 1 1987

What’s Unfair About the Fairness Doctrine?


Executives of America’s leading broadcasting companies have made a startling admission: Free speech, widely cherished as an American value, has not been practiced on television. What has stifled freedom of expression? The media moguls pin the blame on the Fairness Doctrine, which required TV and radio stations to air opposing viewpoints on controversial issues. (In other words, elementary journalism.) TV is bland, we’re told, because programmers shy away from controversy that might provoke demands for response time; failure to comply could result in loss of their license. What they don’t tell us is that the Fairness Doctrine was never seriously […]

Aug 1 1987

Media Workers Battle GE/NBC

30 Rockefeller Center (cc photo: Tom Bee)

In June, 2,700 members of the National Association of Broadcast Employees & Technicians (NABET)—one third of NBC’s workforce—went on strike against the network over the issue of job security. FAIR spoke with Calvin Siemer, Secretary-Treasurer of NABET Local 11 in New York, about the dispute with NBC and its corporate parent, General Electric. As Extra! goes to press, NBC and NABET have resumed negotiations; the following comments are pertinent whatever the outcome of the talks. FAIR: What prompted the strike? SIEMER: First off, it’s important to understand that a union should never accept an imposed contract. NBC made a take-it-or-leave-it […]

Aug 1 1987

Here’s Ollie

From the Folks Who Gave Us the Reagan Myth...

Oliver North mugshot

Coverage of Oliver North’s Iran/Contra testimony was marked by superficiality and an emphasis on style over substance.

Aug 1 1987

Media Put Reagan Spin on Arias Plan

The signing of the Central America peace accord in Guatemala City set off a U.S. media reaction that showed once again the extent to which White House assumptions are shared by the national press corps. While some reporters have questioned whether President Reagan sincerely supports the Arias plan, virtually all mainstream media accept the administration’s contention that its goal is to bring about “a democratic outcome in Nicaragua.” Over the years journalists have at times challenged the tactics of the contra policy (mining harbors, assassination manuals, lying to Congress), but they never doubt its objective: to promote “democracy.” It is […]

Aug 1 1987

Behind the Times

Who Pulls The Strings at Washington's No. 2 Daily?

The Washington Times, the right-wing daily that bills itself as an alternative to the Washington Post, is owned and influenced by Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church. But most journalists seem unable or unwilling to consider the political implications of this fact — despite the role of Washington Times executives in the Koreagate scandal of the 1970s and the Iran-contra scandal today. Since its inception in 1982, the Washington Times has gained a circulation of about 100,000 and the endorsement of President Ronald Reagan, who reads it every day. Founding editor and publisher James Whelan resigned in July 1984, charging […]