NPR.org says, “Drawn-out fights over spending bills are nothing new for Congress. But that’s where the fights used to stay: in Congress. The rest of the country didn’t have to pay much attention to countdown clocks and all this drama. In the ’60s and ’70s down until 1980, it was not taken that seriously at all,” says Charles Tiefer, a former legal adviser to the House of Representatives, who now teaches at the University of Baltimore Law School.
If budget battles were pretty much ignored by the voting public before the 1980s, why is a federal government shut down such a hot-button issue today?
The answer is simple but shocking: after President Ronald Reagan’s veto killed the Fairness Doctrine in 1987—an FCC policy introduced in 1949 that was designed to keep the media more transparent and honest in its reporting and opinions—an industry that was dying, AM radio, saw the explosion of Rush Limbaugh and others like him as they launched conservative talk radio claiming to be the voice of a ‘silent majority’.
With the Fairness Doctrine gone, these conservative voices were free to mislead all they wanted. After all, the 1st Amendment that protects the freedom of expression in America from government intervention says nothing about being honest.
I think that most Americans have heard of the liberal media and its bias—after all the conservative media machine never let us forget—but few may realize that there is also a conservative media machine much larger than just AM talk radio.
The following list is not complete but it will give you an idea of how large and influential the conservative media machine has become: Source: Watch.org [to see a list of liberal news outlets, click on this link from Watch.org].
Hannity & Colmes (Fox News)
Media Research Center: “Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996.”
National Review Online
Talon News (see article)
Now that US citizens have been stirred up by these two battling media machines, how has this political propaganda influenced America?
On September 25, 2013, a CBS poll reported, “Eighty percent of Americans say threatening a government shutdown during budget debates is not an acceptable way to negotiate; only 16 percent think it is.”
A Washington Post ABC News Poll found that “Barely one in four (26 percent) approve of congressional Republicans’ handling of budget negotiation …”
Reuters reported, “Forty-six percent said that if government agencies and programs start closing on Tuesday, they would fault Republicans in Congress while 36 percent said they would blame Obama, the CNN survey found. Thirteen percent said both would be at fault.
“About 60 percent of the 803 U.S. adults polled said they want lawmakers to pass a budget agreement to avoid the shutdown, according to the telephone survey conducted over the weekend.” Note: Reuters is an international news agency headquarters in London, United Kingdom, and Reuters has a strict policy toward upholding journalistic objectivity.
The truth is there is nothing to worry about. Gallup reported on October 1, 2013 that “History Suggests Shutdown Stakes May Not Be That High—As the U.S. government shuts down for the first time since 1996, historical Gallup data show the shutdown 17 years ago had either no effect or a short-term impact on Americans’ views of the U.S. and of the political players involved.”
In conclusion, I think the American people should be more concerned about the fact that the private-sector media in America is no longer free to report objective news and opinions, because the media is mostly controlled by one political machine or the other and there is little we hear or see that can be trusted.
Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran and English-journalism teacher.
His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy that started life as a memoir and then became a fictional suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.
And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.
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