Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. v. Democratic National Committee 412 U.S. 94 (1973)

Author:Steven Shiffrin

Page 445

The Supreme Court here considered a FIRST AMENDMENT challenge to a broadcaster's refusal to accept editorial advertisements except during political campaigns. Some Justices maintained that the broadcaster's action did not amount to governmental action, but the Court did not reach the question. Even assuming STATE ACTION, it held that the First Amendment permitted broadcasters to discriminate between commercial and political advertisements. Broadcasters, the Court observed, were obligated by the FAIRNESS DOCTRINE to cover political issues, and their choice to cover such issues outside of commercials protected CAPTIVE AUDIENCES and avoided a threat that the wealthy would...

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