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Deregulation destroyed objective reporting

April 14, 2019 GMT

ABC’s The View is unapologetically one-sided, anti-Trump, anti-Republican, anti-everything but the views of the hosts. CBS journalist Margaret Brennan — with a straight face — implied that all those right of center on immigration are likely white supremacists, while Big Media irresponsibly drive an “Indianapolis 500 rush to judgment,” blithely destroying reputations absent fact-checking.

Lost on everyone is that if we still had the Federal Communications Commission’s fairness doctrine, broadcast licenses would be revoked.

Big Media, by no longer objectively informing, threatens our very democracy. As the Washington Post says, hypocritically, considering its own highly questionable reporting, “Democracy dies in darkness.” Never have we been so awash in “news” yet so lacking in trustworthy information.

Critical issues reporting — court rulings, congressional actions, the objective consequences of immigration, tariffs, globalization, failing education, failing medicine, media deregulation — in short, real news, is replaced with trivia, celebrity and bias indiscernible from indoctrination, with that depicted as news, by no definition, news. The once-broad, inclusive news cycle has narrowed to a pathetic few stories — not representative of events of the day — and the oxymoron of stories endlessly rerun on the “news.”

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The public blames, according to its political bent, conservative Fox News or “liberal media,” dangerously missing the real point, that deregulation eviscerated objective reporting. Social media and the internet solve nothing. Like all media, they lack objective reporting, like major newspapers and Walter Cronkite, “the most trusted man in America,” used to deliver, believing that well-informed news consumers should draw their own conclusions — not be told what to think.

With the 1920s dawn of radio, leaders feared — prophetically — that broadcasters might wield their huge influence in dangerous ways and thus regulated broadcasting, not by censorship (except profanity standards) but by mandating ethics until:

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• Ronald Reagan’s 1987 revocation of the Fairness Doctrine, which had banned bias and forbade news blackouts. One Southern TV station, for example, lost its license for refusing to report on the civil rights movement in a time when public protests to the FCC could cost broadcast licenses. The doctrine’s absence today means hot-button issues like immigration are reported only from ludicrously left-or-right emotional extremes absent context or middle-ground options. Worse are fabrications, such as media headlining our falling birthrate while blatantly ignoring astronomical 28 million to 30 million decadal population explosions, 82 percent immigration-driven, in ours, the third-most populated and highest — by a factor of three — per capita carbon nation. News once reported spontaneously — and honestly — based solely on its own merits is replaced by topics selectively reported to artificially create specific perceptions and a false national “reality.”

• President Bill Clinton signed the 1996 Telecommunications Act removing conflict-of-interest restrictions on all major-media ownership. Once, those who owned media could only own media. Now, those manufacturing weapons can own media, and — as I believe they have — use it to encourage war. National media, in 1996 owned by 52 entities, is now 90 percent owned by six near-monopolies, using TV, internet, major newspapers and movies to their own ends.

Are “leaders” so busy with partisan mudslinging — encouraged by media — they are unaware that media, more than any other force, is tearing the nation apart?

Or, is it that Big Media — a dangerous new version of Big Brother — is ensuring that the conversation about re-regulating media never happens?

Kathleene Parker writes nationally on population, the Southwest water crisis, immigration and timber issues. She lives in White Rock.