Traditionally, most of the world’s citizens have been moderates on one or the other of the right and left wings. Those on the extreme ends, radical leftist and reactionary rightest, were few and regarded as dangerous, unrealistic fanatics by their moderate colleagues. The press gave them little attention. Moderates stayed close to the center in their political beliefs and comprised the majority. But now, the two sides have pulled away from that center into the domain of those treacherous unrealistic fanatics.
The cause of this global calamity is the television news and the free press that protects it. In the United States, the cable news: CNN, FOX, MSNBC, et al. are a threat that will ultimately lead to democracy’s self-destruction. These news outlets thrive on the hostility they create with their political indoctrination. As they pull people further from the political center, they become more extreme, more recalcitrant, and more neurotic. This is crippling the democracy everywhere as lawmakers, appeasing their constituents, are less compromising and more obstructing. Without compromise, the work of legislatures does not get done.
Today anyone with a lot of money can start a network, slap the word “News” on the name, and then, thanks to the free press, say damn near anything they want. Like children with no adult supervision, news networks run amok, playing fast and loose with the truth. Their goal is not to make the world a better place but to make us continually mad at each other for profit. It is time to reign in these behemoths and restore sanity to information delivery. To do this, we need laws that limit freedom of the press.
The concept is an eighteenth-century relic from the Age of Enlightenment. Initially conceived to prevent state control over information and encourage intelligent public discourse, it was never absolute and often failed in these purposes. Press freedom gets quickly pushed to the side whenever the stress of war comes along. During World War I, the governments of countries engaged in the conflict prevented the news from reporting a pandemic known as The Spanish Flu. Only neutral Spain did not apply this censorship. Hence the name for a pandemic that started on an American military base in Kansas. Freedom of the press has always been transitory.