Media today is not fair. It is not equal. It is not representative of the role media used to play for the American citizen, and there’s a reason why that’s the case.
In 1987 the Federal Communications Commission abolished the fairness doctrine, which had been in place since 1949. This doctrine originally forced broadcasters to air contrasting views of topics that mattered to the American people. It did not mean equal airtime.
Equal time is still guaranteed, but that’s not applicable to topical interests. The equal time rule only applies to political candidates and is mostly recognized by the acceptance of ads.
The fairness doctrine meant that topics like gun control, abortion, civil issues and anything that could be considered a hot button in the American psyche had to be treated fairly. Without that regulation in place, far left and far right points of view run rampant and clog the airwaves with nonsense. Most of the U.S. could likely be considered “centrist” or “moderate” if they weren’t being brainwashed by one side or the other.
At the core of the issue is the balance of education and responsibility. There is an education issue in this country: Far too many people are not given the chance to have the insight and data to form their own opinions. They are told what to think and they are not trained to be critical thinkers.
There is also, unfortunately, a responsibility issue that lies with the media. The media should serve the people, not try to convert them. Media should offer a status of what is going on, and dual sides of the conversation. They do not do that anymore.
Solving this issue is difficult, but achievable. Each of you reads various media outlets and is able to influence the immediate world around you. It is up to you to hold the media accountable, and to ask the people around you to do the same. Each of you can help others around to be critical thinkers. Critical thinking is not arguing or fighting. It means asking questions, gathering data and insights, and empowering yourself to form your own opinions.
If we all worked together, if we all thought critically, if we were all open to new ideas and held our media outlets accountable, we could get back on the right track.
We can also appeal to the human nature of those in charge of the media to represent the fairness doctrine again. It's clear the FCC will never bring it back because it has become a political organization, or at least influenced by politics and money.
That’s unfortunate, but I don’t think we can boil the ocean at once. We can reach out to the media companies themselves and ask them to reinstate fairness in media. We can ask them to represent opposing viewpoints in their reports. We can let them know that we want to see all sides of a topic and be empowered to think for ourselves. Maybe if we do that, things can get back to normal. Maybe we can get back to a world where compromise is not a dirty word, and where we can all work together again.