Sadly, the fuel for ever-increasing division is coming our way. Continuous distortion of the truth coupled with manipulating initiatives by zealots will do us great harm and there’s no end in sight.
We never stop learning. The latest eye-opener for me is with respect to the FCC and the Fairness Doctrine of 1949. It called for broadcast speech being fair to both political parties, but it was repealed in 1987 to extend to the electronic press the same First Amendment guarantees that the print media always had. So, nowadays, the door is wide open for all the media to communicate with the bias they choose. All the evidence shows a preponderance for the liberal.
I know the country is more to the conservative and moderate and, I suspect, most local papers coincide with their communities’ inclinations. It must be what comes over the airwaves (plus cable) that pollutes the air, figuratively speaking. This gives rise to two major concerns. First, there’s so much coming at us filled with exaggeration and opinion expressed as fact. Because of great repetition, it starts to be perceived as truth. Second, we are all very prone to just tune in to a "user-friendly" source and thereby reinforcing our own personal inclination.
We have a big election coming in 2020 and, ideally, we should get it right. The administrations of the past 20 years have not been good to us. Good intentions are not good enough. Bush said he was leaving with "head held high", but we got Iraq and the 2008 economic crash. Obama, who the liberal media have on a pedestal, erred greatly with Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, ISIS, Iran and China. He did not give us an economically viable healthcare program, could not draw a red line and could not find a ready shovel. Trump has given us chaos with some good things along with others that range from bad to very bad and you do not know what to believe or expect.
What is a responsible citizen to do now and particularly Independents and disenchanted Republicans? The polls suggest jump on the Biden bandwagon, but not so fast. Biden was a co-conspirator to an administration that many found to be unsatisfactory. Then there is the Hunter Biden matter that smells. Biggest of all, however, is alarm over those Biden will bring with him.
Michelle Obama made the remark "when they go low we will go high." That’s a beautiful sentiment but that is not what the Democrats did since 2016. They have gone to confront Trump in the gutter. The conduct of their people in the Kavanaugh hearings was an immoral attack. Their impeachment push in the House, while appropriately exposing shameful conduct, was a partisan-driven railroad. The party’s lineup in the primaries revealed many with absurd proposals and total disregard to spending. And then there’s the Dems’ prohibition of pro-life candidates in their ranks. That is not the American way, rather it’s the Gestapo. Biden himself projects some good character but the rest are questionable. I see Dem deplorables. Will we get a pack of wolves under cover, behind an old sheep?
In 2016 some did not vote for Trump or Clinton, considering their vote to be an endorsement rather than selecting the lesser of evils. For those folks, 2020 may be déjà vu all over again. One thing is for sure. We are going to see a heightened delivery of bias from the media, on both sides, but that will pale in comparison to what campaign ads and live rhetoric will deliver. Sadly, the fuel for ever-increasing division is coming our way. Continuous distortion of the truth coupled with manipulating initiatives by zealots will do us great harm and there’s no end in sight. How can we overcome this cancer? How about demanding "Freedom with Responsibility."
Rudy Hanisch lives in Lower Makefield. This guest column originally appeared in The Intelligencer and Bucks County Courier Times, both members of the USA TODAY Network. The Pocono Record is also a part of the USA TODAY Network.