The Media is Just Doing Its Job
When I was a kid, we had three sources of TV news. Walter Cronkite on CBS, the Huntley Brinkley report on NBC, and Howard K. Smith on ABC. We had one local newspaper and two local radio stations.
Now, you have three 24/7 news channels competing for your eyeballs.
When Ronald Reagan came into office, local broadcasters were required by the Federal Communications Commission to prove before being licensed or re-licensed that they were "operating in the public service." That meant a broadcaster had to set aside a certain percentage of its air time each week for programming deemed "in the public interest." Also, if you devoted a half hour to conservative pundits, you had to devote a half hour to progressive pundits and a half hour to moderate pundits.
One of the most evil things Ronald Reagan ever did was deregulate the broadcast industry. When he did that, the media was freed from the shackles of having to be "fair and balanced" in their news coverage.
They quickly learned that conservative talk was where the money was. Conservatives LOVE to hear their fears and prejudices given voice by imposing-sounding voices on the radio and television. Moderates and liberals, not so much. We tend to know what we think about things without having to have our marching orders parroted to us by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.
This is why the right wing is so dead set against reestablishment of the "Fairness Doctrine." If there's one thing conservatives DON'T want, it's fairness in the media.
Broadcasters don't want it either. When Reagan deregulated the industry, he opened the doors for the major networks to sell their news to the highest bidder. News departments, which used to be carried financially by the network's entertainment advertising revenues, now had to tote their own load. They had to pay their own way.Continued on the next page