This week I am going to concentrate on the Beltway baiters. Just what is a “baiter”. I assume many of you know who I am talking about but for the rest of you, it is the cable news networks. I understand it is hard for them to concentrate on one thing 24/7 especially when that subject is politics which is about all they seem to cover now.
They do their best to raise their ratings by getting one politician to say something negative about another politician. When they manage it they run the video segment hundreds of times until a better one comes out. The more sensational the comment the better.
I don’t know how many of you are old enough to remember the FCC rule about “equal time” or sometimes called the “Fairness Doctrine”. That was a rule that said when you put out one point of view you must allow those with another point of view equal time to respond. This rule was repealed in 1987 after almost thirty years, by the FCC chair Dennis R. Patrick, a lawyer and Reagan White House aide. It then allowed Rush Limbaugh on the scene soon to be followed by cable news.
I have had a lot of time for some deep reflections lately and I have discovered that much of the anxiety I have today is probably due to spending too much time watching cable news. It doesn’t really matter which flavor, they are all equal opportunity beltway baiters.
So, here is my advice to you this week. If you want to calm down a little and not be so anxious I suggest you simply pull the cord on any cable news network. Now I realize that for many of my GOP friends who have Fox News on constantly throughout the day this will be very difficult for you. It could even be as bad withdrawal pain as getting free from an addiction of an illegal narcotic. But believe me, after the detox period you will definitely be a calmer and probably a more rational person. You might even stop hating all Democrats.
For my progressive friends, dare I say liberal? MSNBC is not much better than Fox. You might eventually become to realize that not all Republicans want to live in the 19th century again. You might also come to understand that not everyone who disagrees with you is playing the race card.
I think if we re-instituted the equal time rule, cable news would quickly cease to exist as they would have nothing to talk about. Just face it, the beltway baiters contribute very little to the overall functioning of our society. All they really do is to bait us into hating people who just might otherwise end up being a friend, albeit with some different opinions.