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.
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