“In Stark Contravention of Its Purpose”: Federal Communications Commission Enforcement and Repeal of the Fairness Doctrine

This Note analyzes current FCC policy to determine whether the agency violated its statutory purpose and acted unlawfully by restricting and later repealing the fairness doctrine. Because the Commission’s attack on the doctrine has been based, in part, on conclusions drawn from the doctrine’s history, Part I examines prior FCC enforcement of the fairness doctrine. Part II views the Commission’s contemporary enforcement and repeal of the doctrine. Finally, Part III assesses Commission action in light of its legislative mandate and administrative law standards of judicial review to conclude that the FCC both violated its administrative responsibilities by deemphasizing enforcement of the fairness doctrine and acted illegally in repealing it.