Texas Representative Lamar Smith has announced the formation of the Media Fairness Caucus in the House of Representatives. This would be a pretty funny venture if only because he asserts that the mission of his caucus is for…
“…the American people to get the facts and then be allowed to make up their own minds, not be told what to think. When you have network news programs and front pages of national newspapers reading like an editorial page or sounding like an oral editorial, then the American people aren’t getting the facts, they’re not getting the objective news. They’re getting opinion. And if all they do is hear is one side, that does have an impact over time.”
It sounds like Smith is launching a war against Fox News and the Wall Street Journal. But that can’t be. His caucus is apparently open only to Republicans who will busy themselves with writing letters to editors and making one minute speeches on the House floor. There doesn’t appear to be any substantive agenda for the caucus other than working the refs. And the only venues for the announcement of the caucus have been Fox News and the ultra-right wing NewsMax.
Smith is a few years behind the curve with regard to House media caucuses. Democrat Maurice Hinchey has already convened the Future of American Media Caucus with a mandate to reform ownership regulations and promote greater independence and diversity. Hinchey’s group is open to all members of Congress who seek to bring real reform that addresses the root causes of media bias and faulty journalism.
The truly remarkable thing about Smith’s announcement, however, is that Smith ranks the liberal media bias that he is imagining as…
“…the greatest threat to our democracy today.”
That’s right – a bigger threat to the nation than a terrorist attack or a depression. And it is from this perspective that he hopes to fashion the return of objective and responsible reporting. Good work, Lamar.