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Federal Communications Commission
June 2, 1967
Release No. FCC 67-641
TELEVISION STATION WCBS-TV, 51 West 52d Street, New York, N.Y.
GENTLEMEN: This letter constitutes the Commission's ruling upon the complaint of Mr. John F. Banzhaf III against station WCBS-TV, New York, N.Y. Mr. Banzhaf, by letter dated January 5, 1967, filed a Fairness Doctrine complaint, asserting that WCBS-TV, after having aired numerous commercial advertisements for cigarette manufacturers, has not afforded him or some other responsible spokesman an opportunity "to present contrasting views on the issue of the benefits and advisability of smoking."
Mr. Banzhaf's letter cites as examples three particular commercials over WCBS-TV which present the point of view that smoking is "socially acceptable and desirable, manly, and a necessary part of a rich full life." Mr. Banzhaf, in his letter to you of December 1, 1966, requested free time be made available to "responsible groups" roughly approximate to that spent on the promotion of "the virtues and values of smoking."
Your responsive letter of December 30, 1966, cites programs which WCBS-TV has broadcast dealing with the effect of smoking on health, beginning in September 1962 and continuing to date. It cites six reports [*2] on this issue in its evening news programs since May 1966, five major reports by its science editor since September 1966, and five 1-minute message, which advance the view that smoking is undesirable, broadcast without charge within the last few months for the American Cancer Society. The letter also refers to half hour and hour programs on smoking and health broadcast in 1962 and 1964. You take the position that the above programs have provided contrasting viewpoints on this issue by responsible authorities, and, therefore, that it is unnecessary to consider whether the Fairness Doctrine may be applied to commercial announcements solely aimed at selling products. You state your view that it may not.
In Mr. Banzhaf's complaint to the Commission, he asserts that the programs cited by you as showing compliance with the Fairness Doctrine are insufficient to offset the effects of paid advertisements broadcast daily for a total of 5 to 10 minutes each broadcast day. He also states that the very point of his letters is to establish the applicability of the doctrine to cigarette advertisements.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
1967 FCC LEXIS 1276 *; 8 F.C.C.2d 381; 9 Rad. Reg. 2d (P & F) 1423
In re Complaint Directed to Station WCBS-TV, New York, N.Y., Concerning Fairness Doctrine.
advertisements, cigarette, smoking, programs, broadcast, station