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Sufficient bite to be meaningful

Posted by Word Camel on May 27, 2003

In Reply to: Sufficient bite to be meaningful posted by Celia on May 27, 2003

: I don't quite understand the bracketed sentences. Could anyone do me a favor?

: In general , the Federal Communications Commission's efforts to regulating fairness met with little success throughout the 1950s, partly due to its inability to adequately police the requirements. (A further contributory factor was the commission's internal confusion over how best to delimit a balance between advocacy on the part of the broadcaster, on the one hand, and the rights of those expressing opposing views, on the other.) The net effect of the fairness requirements, then, was to encourage the makers of news programmes to avoid reports which were likely to attract the attention of the FCC even if, (as was likely the case, its strictures would lack sufficient bite to be meaningful.)

: Thanks a lot.

It means that one of the reasons the FCC wasn't successful in policing the fairness requirements it set was that it found it difficult to clearly express in writing exactly what the balance between the broadcasters' ability to use their positions to to advocate views they believed in and the rights of people who were not broadcasters who did not share the same opinions (I am guessing they were concerned with what the consequneces of a violation would be as much as what constituted a violation). This lack of clarity affected broadcasters as much as the FCC. Their (the bradcasters') strategy was to avoid controversial reports rather than deal with the FCC even if the consquences of having breached the fairness regulations were fairly trivial.