American Fairness


By: Wayne Brown

I find it rather interesting that after decades upon decades of liberal-based journalism served upon us with the nightly news casts on television that suddenly there is great concern in Washington regarding “fairness” in news broadcasting. The timing of such concern undermines the credibility of those who seem bent on doing something about the current state of affairs in the news media. As always, there seems to be more to the story than what lies at the surface.

Fox News currently dominates the television news media and has for a number of years now. That dominance is measured by the amount of viewers the network attracts with its broadcasts. The same is true for the other networks like MSNBC and CNN. While Fox is accused of holding a conservative slant to the news presented, it seems that both MSNBC and CNN take the opposite position continually leaning in the liberal direction as has been the norm in television journalism for ages now. But suddenly, there is wide spread concern that the industry is one-sided and that fairness must reign high beyond any other consideration in the media.

The last time I checked, America was the land of the free. We, as individuals, are free to go out and buy a television. We are free to tune that television to whatever station we would like to watch be it Fox, MSNBC, or CNN. On that basis, it would appear that a rather level playing field exists in terms of the any particular network attracting individual viewers and gaining market share. For some unknown reason, Fox seems to be the channel of preference among the majority of viewers and both MSNBC and CNN are watching as their ratings continue in a downward spiral. Could it be that the majority of the American viewing public has decided for themselves that Fox presents the news and information in a format and with an approach they like and enjoy? Could that be the reason for the trend in market distribution? One can only speculate.

The FCC is threatening to intervene and require all networks who want to maintain a broadcast license to operate on the doctrine of fairness thus presenting both sides of the issue. Never mind that until Fox News came along, the viewer seldom ever heard both sides of the issue. It was not until the liberal message took the minority seat in viewership that the outcry came raging forth that things were unfair. If one looks at the sequence of events, there seems to be a fox at work in the hen house…no pun intended.

A fairness doctrine would require that both sides of a new story be broadcast. The doctrine assumes that all stories have two sides. In many cases, I have seen Fox and other networks offer up a story and then follow it up to say that they had contacted the parties involved and asked for comment or input only to be told that the parties had no comment to offer. So, with regard to fairness, what does one do at this point…imagine the other side of the story and just make it up, or, is the story classified as “undeliverable” as a news item because both sides cannot be reported? Where do we cross the line on freedom of information and speech for that matter?

There seems to be a belief on the liberal side of the house that their position in the hearts of the American public is slipping only because their message is not getting out. They truly believe that if the public heard and understood their message that hearts and minds would quickly shift to the other side of the aisle. This belief is held in light of the fact that America has always been a nation that is distributed to the right or conservative side of the statistical distribution. The majority of Americans subscribe to a nation founded in Christian beliefs and dedicated to the preservation of individual liberty and freedom with particular emphasis on rights granted under the Constitution. That has been a fact since the beginning and is still very much true today.

Growing up in the southern region of the USA, I witnessed many years of Democratic dominance in the southern vote. Being a southern Democrat was a family tradition in the south. This was true well up into the late 60’s and early 70’s in the southland. Then things began to change. The values held by southern Democrats no longer seemed to be visible in the Democratic Party. The party moved further and further to the left. Those who watched saw the values and principles erode and saw their party disappear right before their eyes. Those southern voters eventually turned to the conservative side of the aisle because it became the place where their beliefs and principles were best represented. Those who hung on simply in tradition continued to put their hand over their eyes and vote the party line though they were confused by it.

The Progressive movement has been around for years in America and it pops up here and there in the political arena. Those who subscribe to the principles of it seem to be able to envision things that defy all aspects of common sense. Too often, what they are selling does not add up but they simply wave their hand and ask us not to bicker over details, just simply follow them into the night. Too often America has done exactly that and ignored the details and common sense involved. With these actions, we have slowly become a society which has lost its fears of socialism or even worse, communism. We don’t speak openly anymore about those subjects or teach our children the ills of them for fear that we might be cast in a light of political incorrectness…a mindset created by the Progressives in our society to facilitate all of the devious work they do in the name of socialism.

Now we are confronted with so-called demands that the government step in and enforce fairness doctrines on the broadcast media. For some in our society, this thought brings comfort that we will finally hear the truth and only the truth in the news broadcast. If that is the case, the Russians must be very far advanced on our society in that they have heard nothing but government approved news from their network, TASS, for all the years they have lived. Once we turn over the control of information which is placed into our media or on the Internet, we are offering up our precious individual rights to freedom of information and speech on the altar of sacrifice for some sense of “mental security”. What in the name of common sense would ever pose such a desire in our minds as Americans?

We are a free society. We do have individual liberties and rights under our precious Constitution so brilliantly conceived by those who found this great nation. Along with those rights and privileges, we also have accountability and responsibility as individuals to gather the facts and study the information before us before we make a decision. We are the ones who apply the litmus test. We are the ones who assign credibility to both an issue and, yes, to a broadcast network. Any network that desires to continue to attract viewers and hold market share must first give due consideration to their own credibility. Fox seems to be quite aware of this need and appears to be successful in gaining the credibility of the listener. Conversely, the other networks seemed to have dropped the ball somewhat in that arena. It is not for the government to decide. It is up to the people and their freedom to choose who and what they listen to in the media. When that is not the case and the government is the filter for all broadcast, America will not longer be the shining light of freedom but simply a dim bulb of hypocrisy.

© Copyright WBrown2011. All Rights Reserved.

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Comments 30 comments

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

Excellent exploration of this appalling situation. 'One man's ceiling is another man's floor". Who decides what is fair? If we allow the government to decide we are lost, completely lost. Let the public decide what they want to watch, let the market decide who succeeds and who fails. This is very dangerous ground we are walking on and we had better pay strict attention to what is going on before the "rug" is pulled out from under us. Well done Wayne. Up and useful.

CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

Wayne, this may very well be one of your most important Hubs that you have written. This could not be any clearer. You have demonstrated just how significant our freedoms are. This is a must read to all. Folks, the left is very serious about this "Fairness Doctrine". We cannot let this happen.

Wayne, with all seriousness, I salute you on this one!

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@breakfastpop...Thanks Poppy, I think these folks are continually testing the water to see what the public will go along with...unfortunately, it is far too much too often. We have to get these people out of office and regain our democratic constitutional orientation as a country. WB

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Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@CMerritt...I grew up on common sense...that is normally my best litmus test. In that light, this whole thing the FCC is attempting to do stinks with unconstitutionality all over it. We are rapidly reaching the point where every action of our federal government is an infringement on our constitutional rights...where does it stop? It must stop! Thanks for your kind words, I do appreciate it! WB

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

There was nothing more unfair than the 'Fairness Doctrine'.

Left wing radio was very unpopular and could not compete with the likes of Rush Limbaugh, so the left devised the Fairness Doctrine which required stations to keep meticulous records of viewpoints and then offer free air time to opposing views! That had the effect of driving them out of business due to high costs.

Let the market determine content.

Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 6 years ago from Rural Arizona

Wayne, well said and I sincerely hope this hub is read by thousands. First off, the FCC, in my opinion, is way overstepping their bounds. This is not what this agency was put in place to do. There main role was to monitor and control usable bands in the frequency spectrum to eliminate conflicts. But like any government agency, their role is constantly expanding until we come to issues like this. I wish I had some answers, but this type government control just needs to stop.

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@WillStarr...Your comments are right on! Amen, Brother! WB

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@Old Poolman....Thanks much. You are correct, the agency is way over its bounds and should be challenged. That would fall to Congress and they seem to be mute on the point. I have written to my Senators and Representatives on the subject and I hope more folks will write to theirs. I don't believe it is up to the head of an agency to begin to interpret the mission or charter when the mission is quite clearly stated in the document originated the agency. WB

Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 6 years ago

WB - Thanks for this perceptive article. I think anyone in the news industry should strive to tell the truth. We need to discourage/avoid yellow journalism - " . . . which employs exaggeration, scandals, and lurid stories to attract readers." In addition, there are many political programs that offer a debate-type/opinion format. Citizens owe it themselves to be informed consumers (and that includes consuming news). Hopefully the days of "dirty dog" Democrats or Republicans have been replaced with people who seek out information and apply their own -ibility words (thanks for these WB) including responsibility, accountability, credibility . . .

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@Truckstop Sally...Very well stated by you. I see this as one of your passions and that is a good thing. America cannot survive as we know it unless we are willing to speak up against such actions by our government and those who run it. What a shame that we live in a time when one American is willing to take away the freedoms of another without so much as a glance toward the Constitution. Such movements should be called and our Congress will be asleep at the switch if we do not hear the call. WB

eovery profile image

eovery 6 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

The FCC and EPA have become uncontrollable. They have developed into an entity of themselves, and they need to have their wings clipped. I think they are unconstitutional myself.

Keep on hubbing!

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@eovery...I don't see that being addressed as long as there is a liberal majority in Washington including the White House. Socialism is heavily mask in the environmental movement at this time filling young heads of mush with tons of super BS and relying on their desire to demonstrate and act out against the establishment. Most of them cannot even explain what they are protesting in any factual representation. Penn and Teller actually was able to get a large number of them to sign petitions banning water from the planet at one of their rallies. WB

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TimBryce 6 years ago

Wayne -

Good write. You're going to be hearing a lot about the fairness doctrine well into 2012 and beyond. Let's assumed it is enacted; It would be interesting to see how MSNBC and CNN would have to change their positions. Or would they?

All the Best,


SheriSapp profile image

SheriSapp 6 years ago from West Virginia

You did a good job here pretty accurately explaining the lib mind set. The libs just still will not accept that American leans a bit to the right and now that Fox is there to tell BOTH sides of the story instead of what the lib elites THINK we should be told the lib message is losing its strength and popularity. If a lib would actually watch Fox, they may finally see what truly UNBIASED reporting looks like, to them it is a foreign concept!! As far as common sense, like you said, in the world of progressives, it is NOT common at all.

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

The goal of all the news is too pacify the masses. If anybody thinks they will get a balanced report on anything they are republican or democrat. There is only pablum and hate. It's control. Rush Limburger has nothing to do with the truth as many other sources owned by the giant media owners. Small sources of news are squelched. Real stories are found on the internet. News form the giant media is bogus. Most of the news is just peppered with truth but the biggest lie is that this political system works., It does not and there will never be a patriot from Yale or Harvard. Frickin' NEVER! America is a corporation. America is not a free country as our prisons will testify. The courts of America are terrible jokes run by lawyers who view the injustice system as their own ATM machine. Where was Rush Limburger and Fox when hundreds of thousands of East Timorese were killed by M16s made in America and wielded by Indonesians trained by Blackwater, now Xe Services? If you're looking for news from these monopolizing pukes you may as well trade your cows for magic Monsanto beans. Balanced news? For crying out loud. You need to turn all that crap off!

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@TimBryce...I am afraid the FCC is not going to get called on over-stepping their bounds here. I have written to Congressmen on the subject and pointing out that their actions are far beyond the charter of the agency and infringing on constitution rights. WB

@SheriSapp...I never heard a message that was "force-fed" to me that I liked or subscribed to and I hope that is never the case. WB

@Micky Dee...Hey Mick...I'm not the one calling for "balance news", it's the liberals who feel cheated. I like the lies I'm hearing! LOL! WB

mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 6 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Your choice of the words "conservative slant" in relation to Fox News, makes you the master of understatement. In my opinion 'news' does not have two views, political banter, relationship banter, sports banter, sure.

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@mcbirdbks...My point here is not really about Fox News...I could care less what their slant may be. If indeed we define news in the sense that it is offered through Fox, MSNBC, or CNN, then the efforts of the FCC must be in question as to shaping the content of such offerings. I do not see that as a charter function or mission of the FCC...whether or not a network has credibility or viewership is simply a function of the market and the consumer and that is where it should stay. Thanks much for your comments. I appreciate it. WB

nicomp profile image

nicomp 6 years ago from Ohio, USA

Great hub.

The FCC will force broadcast journalism nearer to the margins by mandating how a story should be covered or a topic should be discussed.

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@nicomp...Yes, it goes to show you that the only thing between us and our rights under the Constitution is our fellow man's faith in the document. More and more we are given to leaders who have no interest or faith in the document and little respect for what it represents. They have an agenda which has nothing to do with continuing any tradition in America related to the Constitution. WB

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surlyoldcat 6 years ago

Nice! You made your point clinically and cleanly. Shame you don't do the news. Might do a better job than those other so-called reporters. Well done, chum.

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@surlyoldcat...Thank you for those good words. Our founding fathers viewed the press as an independent and honest mechanism which would keep the system on centerline. Somewhere along the way, the press lost its objectivity and started leaning to the left. The government never seemed to notice that but when it leans ever so slightly to the right, it becomes an atrocity in American life which the government is determined to remedy. This is a step away from democracy and unchecked it will lead to a few more, then a few more, until we cannot remember where our center line lies. A sad day. Thank you for the read and the good comments. WB

Jason Matthews profile image

Jason Matthews 6 years ago from North Carolina

Great hub, I enjoyed the read! I think you are right on about how hypocritical the left can be. When they are the ones presenting biased news there is no problem, but when the other side is presented somehow that is just "not fair". Thanks for sharing!

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@Jason Matthews...Thank you. I enjoyed writing it as the passion regarding such a subject burns within me. I think it sheer arrogance to believe the reason that their message is not taken up by the majority is because one thinks it is being surpressed by the media...naive to say the least. Thanks for the great comments! WB

James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

I dare say there cannot be any American who has not heard the Progressive slant on the world. Progressives dominate public schools, universities, Hollywood, and the news—except Fox News. Apparently, progressives are upset that they do not have the hold of Pravda.

Thank you for a great article. You are so right.

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@James A Watkins...Thanks much Jim...I value your opinion and your comment greatly. WB

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

Wayne, I don't know if you get Canadian TV or can but my mom swears by it....she feels that at least the news reporting is ACCURATE (now there's a novel idea) and that is nonbiased (AGAIN, what a phenomenal thought there!) I rarely watch TV is my problem or even get much news except through my husband who is an avid watcher/reader of the news but I do believe what we get is totally slanted. What ever happened to real live reporting? Ah of these days when I have more time, I plan on checking the news from other countries! I think then I may have a prayer at getting the TRUTH!

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@akirchner...I can live with the self-injected slant of the networks but I can not bare to think that the government via the FCC will rule on the fairness of content in the stories and require "balance". Let the viewers decide...this is America! WB

denise mohan profile image

denise mohan 6 years ago from California

What an awesome hub! So glad i visited today. Also nice copyright. I quit writing Hubs because i found my writing on other sites. Don't like to be robbed, IT'S JUST NOT FAIR!

Love the way you think Wayne and glad that you do!

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@denise mohan...I just write from my heart and my emotions at the time. This effort by the FCC is really weighing on me. I find references to my hubs in other guy took a poem and used it as an example of bad poetry on YouTube. The world is chocked full of ignorant people who have no creative ability of their own and actually think they are making themselves look good by using the work of others...sub-human! Thanks for the good words! WB

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