Taken together, these policy interventions composed a broader impulse, one defined by a social democratic vision of media that emphasized its public service mission instead of treating it as only a business commodity. A prime example of this project was the Blue Book so named because of its blue cover.
Its purpose was to mandate that broadcasters devote time to local, noncommercial, and experimental programming, and cut down on excessive advertising. But broadcasters fought it as if it posed an existential threat, and the Blue Book gradually fell into obscurity.
Ultimately, reformers failed in their attempts to break up media monopolies while creating a more education-oriented broadcast system. This was largely due to McCarthyite hysteria and Cold War anxieties, which became a favorite political tool used by corporate interests to beat back regulatory interventions. For example, news media began to embrace a notion of social responsibility, and some alternative media institutions like Pacifica radio were established. Public interest policies like the Fairness Doctrine—the rule that broadcasters had to present contrasting views on issues important to local communities—created some potential for advocating public interest programming.
While these reforms represented meaningful progress, they fell far short of the structural interventions reformers had initially sought.
All Politics Is National Because All Media Is National | FiveThirtyEight
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