Fairness and Unfairness in Television Product Advertising

The first section of this Note explores the impact of television product advertising on viewer attitudes. The next two sections set forth the statutory basis on which the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission could provide for the effective presentation of contrasting points of view on controversial issues implicitly or explicitly raised by television product advertising, could ensure that the implicit messages of such advertisements are delivered fairly and without deception, and could counter the adverse effects of such advertising. The purpose of these sections is not to predict actual regulatory behavior, for in fact the FCC and FTC have shown a reluctance to take any action in these areas. The final section considers the constitutional limits on any governmental response to television advertising in light of the Supreme Court’s traditional differentiation between broadcasting and the print media and of the Court’s recent abandonment of the doctrine that commercial speech enjoys no first amendment protection.