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Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. Federal Communications Commission


The ruling upheld and solidified the use of the Fairness Doctrine in the regulation of political speech on the public airwaves. The Fairness Doctrine was, however, overtaken by events in due course. The Court seemed to back away from its position on the doctrine in Miami Herald Publishing Company v. Tornillo (1974), ruling that the right of reply did not apply to printed media. A final blow to the doctrine was delivered in 1987, when President Ronald Reagan vetoed legislation codifying the doctrine and the FCC abandoned it altogether shortly thereafter. Despite this retrenchment, the Court has continued to interpret the right of reply and personal attack rules as justifying the regulation of programming to ensure the airing of a variety of political viewpoints. In the 1981 case of CBS v. FCC, for instance, the Court ruled that broadcasters must allow "reasonable access" for all candidates for federal office.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. Federal Communications Commission - A Personal Attack On The Airwaves, The Fairness Doctrine, Regulation Of Content, Freedom Of Speech For Broadcasters And The People