Time to bring back the Fairness Doctrine

In 1949 under then President Harry Truman, Congress established the Fairness Doctrine.

This act established rules for balanced reporting from news outlets of the time. It ruled every story was entitled to an opposing opinion or in other words balanced reporting. It was designed to keep news outlets from dominating a market and thereby swaying public opinion. A simple way to ensure the public received even-handed information to allow open debate with fact-based information. We were given the opportunity to debate, discuss, and make up our minds for ourselves without undue influence.

Fast forward to 1984, then President Reagan pushed the FCC to eliminate this rule. This allowed the richest media providers to flood networks without the benefit of balancing opposing voices. This began corporate news industries designed to tell people what to think regardless of truthfulness. Many experts today believe this was the beginning of our political divide. Oddly, the past White House, resident while spewing claims of fake news, was the producer and beneficiary of over twenty years of corporate news steerage. We have been misled and divided as a result. Simply, we are the most manipulated generation thus far.

The return road to decency in our democracy is for Congress to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine. There are voices that say the Internet is now untamable. The Internet will remain full of strangeness, but let the public broadcasters be restricted to factual and balanced news coverage and other social media outlets will have to adjust to survive. We simply cannot allow ourselves to be led like sheep into a pasture created by the corporations that bought our politicians and legislatures. It is a government of the people, not the corporate interests. As Benjamin Franklin stated at the outset, “It’s a Republic if you can keep it.” It remains the people’s Republic to keep, corporations are not people.

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