bal·ance: noun equality between the totals of the two sides of an account
That’s a pretty straight forward definition. Yet FOX continues to “frame” the news instead of reporting it.
You could expect that from their opinion shows that take of their prime time and evening coverage. There is no balance there and you shouldn’t expect it; they’re opinion shows. So when you hear Bill O’Reilly say that he thinks oil speculators should be jailed, and all of our oil reserves nationalized and controlled by the national government, you can take that for what it is and tune out. When Eric Bolling pulls out his pocket constitution from CATO and says that he is all for more cameras on the streets, you can shake your head and wonder if he has ever read it. Opinion shows are just what they are advertised as – opinion shows.
But news reporting used to be just “news” – balanced, informative reporting. No longer.
During the founding of the nation there was much debate over whether or not states wanted to establish a central government. Newspapers ran a number of editorial pieces called the Federalist Papers. These were written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay, and were 100 percent pro central government pieces. Also published were their rebuttals, collectively known today (not as well as they should be) as the anti-Federalist papers. These were written in part by Richard Henry Lee, George Clinton and others. These papers sought to expose the weaknesses of the constitution and explain how tyranny could take foothold in the future if the Federalists succeeded in getting the constitution ratified. For the purposes of this blog, the important thing was that both were published and distributed. Fair and balanced, no editing or salesman like pitches rammed down your throat as you read them in the town square, or picked up your copy from the corner stand.
Fast forward to August 29th of this year. FOX reported on the Missouri legislatures efforts to override Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of a bill that would nullify federal firearms regulations and render them unenforceable. The legislation would make it a misdemeanor for federal agents to attempt to enforce any federal gun regulations that infringed on the people’s “right to keep and bear arms”.
The bill also would make it illegal for journalists to publish any identifying information about gun owners. Violations of either of these provisions of the bill would be punishable by up to a year in jail and $1,000 fine.
FOX decided to give this story it’s “fair and balanced” treatment. Let’s take a look at both sides as reported by FOX and decide on the balance. First, they included comments from Governor Nixon’s fellow Democrats. These comments were strictly political and did nothing to add to the facts. These Democrats said that they would vote to override the veto “although” they agreed that the bill wouldn’t survive a challenge in the courts. Yes, it’s called covering your backside and ensuring that your remain in power after the next election.
Then there was this gem quoted from the FOX piece, “Our Constitution is not a Chinese buffet, which we like and do not like,” the Jefferson City attorney told the AP. “The First Amendment is part of the Constitution that we must uphold. … (And) the supremacy clause means that states cannot criminalize the activities of agents of the federal government.”
The only factual part of that comment I see is that the Constitution is not a Chinese buffet. As to the supremacy clause, let me take a stab at that in my own succinct way. When federal and state laws conflict with each other, the federal laws do reign supreme when they are passed in “pursuance thereof”. Key words that are conveniently forgotten. If the central government passes a law that makes it illegal to eat broccoli, that is clearly not in pursuance of the Constitution. As for the protection of the First Amendment, does anybody really think that publishing the names and addresses of those who own guns is a First Amendment issue? It’s not. The First Amendment is a restriction placed upon the central government to prevent them from passing legislation that would interfere with your ability to speak your mind or practice your religion. It is not an instrument to be turned around and used against the states.
When it comes to nullification, there were no comments or facts about what that exactly is. How about a quick Google search…… You can easily find the Tenth Amendment Center. We have been the group working with state legislators and grass roots organizations informing them about nullification for years. They would have found links to Tom Woods outstanding book, Nullification, How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century. The resources today are endless. But that would not have helped them to frame the story.
More recently, immediately following John Kerry’s statement on Syria, the first words out of the anchors’ mouth were, well, John Kerry just laid out the evidence for why we need to act in Syria. Really?
FOX news has a history of framing the news and deciding for you. Sadly, they are not alone. But, if you’re building a wooden bench you ask a welder; right?