The HBO program called Newsroom is terrific! It portrays a news program that transforms itself from human interest style, ratings-driven drivel to a program dedicated to telling the truth. In other words, its recreating the style of news that we enjoyed before the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine.
You see, under the Fairness Doctrine, broadcast media were bound by law to serve the public interest; in other words to tell the truth. If a network or station failed to prove that it failed that standard, it could lose its license.
Yet it wasnt necessary for news reporters such as Edward R. Murrow, Daniel Shore, Harry Reasoner, Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, Chet Huntley and Dan Rather. They needed no such incentive to tell the truth. They were true newsmen. They were not bound by ratings or the need to be first. They were bound by the need to be right.
Unfortunately, when the Fairness Doctrine was repealed, that commitment disappeared. Networks canned most of their news gathering staffs and focused on ratings. At the same time, the mouths of Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and others were unleashed to hammer away at their political opponents by telling any lies they found necessary. Fox News Channel was created to fill the news void with innuendo, lies and half-truths on behalf of the GOP.
It cant continue.
The job of a real newsroom is to tell people, not what they want to know, but what they need to know. So enjoy HBOs Newsroom while you can. Listen to Jeff Daniels and imagine how much better off this nation would be if there were real news anchors like his character. Imagine a new Fairness Doctrine that would chase liars like Limbaugh, Savage, Hannity, OReilly, Beck and company back into the swamps and caves where they belong.
Imagine an informed electorate.