Commentary

Fairness Doctrine = Regulated Speech

Dragging the issue out of the corners of the extreme left wing, Congress today is debating reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine. The not-so-veiled target, of course, is conservative talk radio, which tends to dominate the political discourse that occurs within the subset of the media transmitted on FCC-allocated radio spectrum from 530 and 1700 KHz. The Fairness Doctrine, abandoned in 1987 after the FCC realized it would have a hard time withstanding constitutional challenge, stipulated that a TV or radio station had to provide time for opposing viewpoints. While the goal may have been to promote dialogue, most stations shied away from any political discourse at all, lest they face loss of license at the complaint of an aggrieved individual, stopwatch in hand, who felt shorted of due airtime.

Steven Titch served as a policy analyst at Reason Foundation from 2004 to 2013.

Titch's work primarily focused on telecommunications, the Internet and new media. He is a former managing editor of InfoTech & Telecom News (IT&T News) published by the Heartland Institute. His columns have appeared in Investor's Business Daily, Total Telecom, and America's Network, among others.

Prior to joining Reason in 2004, Titch covered the telecommunications industry as a journalist for more than two decades. Titch was director of editorial projects for Data Communications magazine where he directed content development for supplemental publications and special projects. He has also held the positions of editorial director of Telephony, editor of Global Telephony magazine, Midwest bureau chief of CommunicationsWeek, and associate editor-communications at Electronic News.

Outside of the telecom industry, Titch conducted rich media and content development for publishers and corporate marketing groups. He has also developed and launched his own web-based media, including SecuritySquared.com, an on-line resource for the security industry.

Titch graduated cum laude from Syracuse University with a dual degree in journalism and English.