Liberal Jujitsu to Break Freedom's Back

More government is not the way to fix media bias.

One of the more gratifying aspects to this year's Best Election Ever has been watching the mainstream media pull out all the stops to anoint their Chosen One.  From shivers up the leg, to carrying the Obamessiah around Europe on the backs of all three network anchors, to flatly refusing to cover criticism of Democrats no matter how high the tide of protest on the Internet or in other media, the incredible bias of the news media has been laid bare for all to see.

And see it they have.  As Rasmussen polls revealed recently, almost half of Americans believe the media is trying to help Obama win.  What's more, Pew Research finds just about the same number of voters are tired of hearing about Obama.

Contrary to media hopes, the election has not yet taken place and there are still two candidates for President.  Let's hear more about the other one... what's his name... that wrinkly white-haired guy Paris Hilton mentioned?

Conservatives might be forgiven for breathing a sigh of relief.  Finally, finally, after years if not decades of pointing it out, the American people have woken up to the naked leftism being crammed down their throats every night on the evening news!  Finally, finally, voters are getting tired of Mr. Hope-and-Change's blandly optimistic pabulum and are beginning to ask that famous question, "Where's the beef?"  Dare we imagine a world where middle America is not in thrall to whatever rot the bicoastal elites choose to dish out?

No.  We dare not.  Feeling relief is not in order, not by any means; Rasmussen sends an urgent letter of warning.

Follow the logic for a moment, if you will.  The American public has realized that the media slant the news and now understands that this has been going on for years.  Nevertheless, the media companies (to all appearances) are as rich and powerful as ever they were.  Scragged believes they're losing power, but the media is excellent at keeping up appearances, it's their stock in trade, appearances is what they do.

So, we have vast, wealthy corporations doing wrong.  How can they be stopped?  Well, for the entire lifetimes of most voters, whenever wealthy corporations have been accused of wrongdoing as happens nearly every day, what's the proffered solution each and every time?

Yes, that's right.  According to Rasmussen, half the voters want the government to enforce political balance on the airwaves.

Government is Not the Solution, it's the Problem

It's hard not to be discouraged.  After all these years, the American public has finally realized the problem, and to solve it they reach for the help of the very elites and the very "solutions" that caused the problem in the first place.

Until the Reagan years, the FCC enforced a "Fairness Doctrine" on all broadcast media.  This rule stated that if you said anything politically controversial, you had to give equal time to the other side.  Sounds fair, right?

But as with all rules about "fairness," the crucial question is, "Who decides what's fair?  This is a very old problem; the first-century Roman poet Juvenal stated it, "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" which can be translated, "Who will watch the watchers?"

Our founders solved the problem by giving us a divided government where each branch of government is supposed to watch out for the other two while the free press reports all government wrongdoing.  Nowhere did the Constitution anticipate government regulating what news was distributed.

Government regulation could never produce balanced news.  When the overwhelming majority of journalists are far to the left of the American people, as are the majority of government bureaucrats, for obvious reasons, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize what the actual result of passing laws about fairness will be.

In fact, all it takes is a little Googling: prior to the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, news broadcasts spouted the same doctrinaire liberalism that they do today, only they were a little more polite about it.  In those days, thanks to the FCC, there was no conservative response: no FOX News, no talk radio, no prominent conservative voice to oppose the leftist anvil chorus.  Opposing leftists would be "controversial" and would require an equal-time response.

It gets worse.  Rasmussen shows that full one-third of Americans think the government should place the same fairness requirement on the Internet.  In other words, if you make a blog post, write an article, or take a side in an online discussion, you have to find someone to argue the other side at equal length at your expense, or you get shut down.

Obviously, this is completely contrary to the First Amendment, flagrantly unconstitutional, and un-American.  Even more frightening: it shows that a third of the country has no conception of what the First Amendment even is.  How can you value, much less defend, something you can't even understand?

"Fairness" and Liberal Hypocrisy

"Fairness" is an area which really brings out the worst in liberal hypocrisy.  Liberals demonstrate over and over their complete phoniness in countless ways.

For example, Al Gore demands that we cut our energy use in half or even more to save the planet while his house uses as much energy as 30 ordinary homes.  One trip in his private jet to deliver lectures demanding that we sacrifice generates more carbon than any peasant can afford to generate in a year.

Then there's Sen. Kennedy.  He loves to pontificate about the evils of oil companies and how we ought to use renewable energy, then he uses his clout to keep a wind farm from being installed off the Massachusetts coast.

Here's an recent example of the biased, unbalanced view which is typical of liberals.  In an Aug. 17 article "Mixing Politics and Wal-Mart,"  the New York Times criticized the Federal Election Commission for not raking Wal-Mart over the coals for telling employees that unionization would be bad for the business and bad for the employees.  The article said:

Last week, several labor groups filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, accusing Wal-Mart of violating election rules. They acted after The Wall Street Journal reported that thousands of Wal-Mart store managers and department heads had been called to mandatory meetings and told that if Democrats won in November they would likely pass a law to make it easier to unionize companies. According to The Journal, Wal-Mart executives warned that could force the company to cut jobs, while workers would be forced to pay union dues and might have to go on strike.

This article is breathtaking in its blatant bias and hypocrisy.  First, what Wal-Mart says is true - if employees unionize, they'll have to pay union dues and might lose pay by going on strike.  Second, Pelosi's Democrats have passed a law to make it easier for unions to take control of a work place by eliminating secret ballots in union elections; Mr. Obama would be expected to sign it.  Third, most unionized American industries such as steel, railroads, and auto manufacturers have cut many jobs because employing unionized workers is so expensive.

What Wal-Mart told their employees is not merely true, it is so uncontroversial that the Times didn't even attempt to take issue with its accuracy.  They can't!  Instead, they deny Wal-Mart's right to say it.

The Times asserts and proclaims its right to state its opinions whether they're true or not; asking the government to deny this right to Wal-Mart is the most insidiously un-American sort of hypocrisy.

The Times' statement that Wal-Mart has no right to involve itself in politics is patently false: there's no law against a company discussing political issues with employees during work hours although it's not supposed to tell them how to vote.  The Times ignores the fact that labor unions are forbidden by law from spending members' dues on political causes with which individual members don't agree.  Unions are supposed to separate operating funds from any money used for political action, but they generally don't.

The Times criticizes Wal-Mart for supposedly violating election laws while ignoring unions doing the same thing more blatantly and spending their members' hard-earned money to do it.  At least Wal-Mart didn't spend one single cent of its employees' money on political advocacy; in fact, its employees were paid their full wages for the time spent in the meetings, which is more than can be said of unions.

The most amazing hypocrisy is the Times' claim that it is wrong for Wal-Mart to try to keep unions out, as if unions have some sort of divine right to collect dues from all workers.  What today's readers may not know is that when a union threatened to bankrupt the Times itself many years ago, the liberal management of the New York Times didn't hesitate to break their own union in exactly the same way that many private businesses oppose unions, and for which they are then excoriated by the Times.  Here's the story that you will never, ever read about in the pages of the Times.

When I went to work for the Times in the early 1970's, newspapers had been using linotype machines for 100 years.  Linotypes had keyboards which caused individual letter molds to drop into rows.  When a row was finished, the machine piped molten lead against the metal molds and cast a "line of type," hence the name "linotype."

Linotype operators had to join the International Typographer's Union whose work rules imposed immense costs.  One of the worst of their exactions was the "bogus" rule.  When an advertisement was provided pre-set by the advertiser's own staff to ensure accuracy (not something the Times' union workers excelled in), the paper used the material provided by the customer, but the union would manually set up a duplicate ad, run proof copies, correct it, and melt down the "bogus" advertisement without ever using it for anything - a classic example of union "make-work" and "featherbedding."

The Times was losing money.  My job was to write software which took wire-service copy and other electronic input, let editors make changes, and automatically create film from which printing plates were directly made - no typesetting required.  This cost far less than manually setting type from lead slugs.

One day the vice president said there would be a Monday demo and asked for a run-through.  We obliged and asked what time we should be ready.  He didn't want any of us near the computer room on Monday; he would do the demo.

A week or so later, we found out he'd done a demo for Mr. Powers, the head of the union.  "You see, Mr. Powers," the VP said, "We can put out the Times with 20 secretaries.  We will publish this paper profitably or not at all.  If your men walk out at the end of their contract, I swear to you, they will never walk back in again."

Mr. Powers capitulated and agreed to support "unlimited automation;" the only remaining issue was how much the Times would pay linotype operators who retired.  They got rid of 100 or so employees on each of 3 shifts, 7 days per week and returned immediately to profitability.

When their corporate existence was on the line, the Times had no problem with breaking a union's power and getting rid of hundreds of useless, unproductive, overpaid workers.  Unions were bad for the Times; many New York newspapers had been put out of business by the same union.

It was OK for the Times to break a union because the union was bad for their business, yet it's not OK for Wal-Mart to tell everyone they can that unions are bad for its business?  The Times' position is a blatant mixture of bias, hypocrisy, and lies.

The MSM Think They're Middle of the Road

The trouble with enshrining "fairness" in laws or regulations is that fairness is in the eye of the beholder.  Liberals are convinced that loony left publications like the New York Times and the Washington Post are firmly middle of the road.

Not only that, they are private businesses.  The government has no business regulating newspapers, they'll tell us; after all, freedom of the press is guaranteed in the Constitution.  As for those right-wing extremists that use public airwaves, however, we've got to make sure they are fair.

To liberals, NPR and CNN, otherwise known as the "Clinton News Network," are middle of the road, no adjustment needed, but Fox and Rush Limbaugh, to name but two, would have to shape up or shut down.  Absolutely the last thing we want or need is government, which means liberals, regulating news content.

One hopes we're being over-pessimistic here, but it's all too easy to envision next year's Democratic Congress reinstating the Fairness Doctrine by popular demand of the people - taking strong action to address a real, serious voter concern, and embedding and enforcing the cause of that concern with the full power of government.

Do you want Hillary or Obama deciding what's fair in terms of news coverage?  Killing freedom to make sure it doesn't die slowly - now there's a change we can believe in.

The Solution is Working

There's an extremely simple solution to the problem of idiotic media bias, and it is working just fine - liberal media are going broke.  The New York Times recently laid off 100 people from their news room.

Why?  Because fewer people buy their leftist rants.  The loony left bloggers at the Times think it's because people aren't buying any news, ignoring the fact that Fox News and most of Mr. Murdoch's papers are doing just fine.

Why are these news media growing while liberal rags like the Washington Post are shrinking?  Because people are catching on!  People are voting with money, the only vote that really counts.

The more people decide not to buy the Times or the Post, the faster they go broke.  The more people listen to talk shows like Rush Limbaugh, the more people watch Fox, the fewer people pay attention to the liberal broadcast media and the faster they go broke.

The Fairness Doctrine is a scam to force conservatives to pay to spread liberal ideas - or, better yet, shut them up entirely.  Remember when Al Gore raised several million dollars and tried to set up a liberal talk radio network?  It sank without trace because nobody wanted to listen to his liberal rants.

With the Fairness Doctrine, however, Mr. Limbaugh, whom people want to hear, would have to give half his air time to Mr. Gore's people, whom nobody wanted to hear.

Let the market take care of the problem.  What bureaucrat could you trust to decide how much left-wing hagiography for Obama is enough?  Whom do you know in government whom you'd trust to decide when there had been enough coverage of McCain?  Having government tell news media what's "fair" is standard practice in China and Cuba.

Government-mandated "fairness" is not only a recipe for tyranny, it is an absolute requirement for it.  Let the market decide!  It works - and that's what's causing pain and angst amongst our liberal elites.

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Bureaucracy.
Reader Comments
"The loony left bloggers at the Times think it's because people aren't buying any news, ignoring the fact that Fox News and most of Mr. Murdoch's papers are doing just fine"

HA HA, I love knowing that. It's just like Air(head) America - that retarded radio group that tried to push all their buffoon commentators on us. I saw a report awhile back that showed that the NYT ran 38 front page stories on Air(head) America over the course of several years and less than 3 on conventional, right-wing radio commentators in the same time period. Free marketing? Check. I guess that didn't work so now they need the government to FORCE everyone to listen to them.
August 18, 2008 9:27 AM
Yes, that is correct. I saw the same report. I believe it was produced by the guys over at Newsbusters.
August 18, 2008 9:33 AM
I do believe it is a problem that today almost everyone gets the news from people that they already agree with. It is important to hear both sides of a story, not through governmental action, I like getting both sides by watching FOX then CNN. It is important for people to challenge their own ideas because no one is ever right about everything.

I would also say that NPR, which oft said to be very liberal often presents positive stories about Iraq, as well as negative stories. The same is true about most every topic they report on. I'm certainly not going to claim that they're completely unbiased they at least seem to hide it far better than any other news agency that I've had experience watching or listening to.

There are some issues that they are biased on, such as global warming, you won't ever hear someone questioning that humans are causing it. But it is impossible to get truly unbiased news. Also, there can be huge differences in local NPR stations, so maybe I'm just lucky where I live. But I would suggest listening to them as the least obviously biased liberal news in order to get an idea for what the other side is saying and believes. Its important, if nothing else, to know one's adversary.
August 18, 2008 7:43 PM
That's true about the local NPR stations. I've heard a lot of difference between NPR stations in DC and ones in Ohio. Like night and day.
August 18, 2008 8:20 PM
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