What is Happening at Fox News?

by  Richard H. Frank

For many Americans, myself included, Fox News represented a breath of fresh air with their “fair and balanced” representation of the news of the day.  Compared to the national syndicated network programs seen on ABC, NBC and CBS we were able to view and hear about events on Fox News that were sanitized and excluded from other broadcasts for political correctness or ideological reasons.

With the advent of the Glenn Beck show, Fox News reached a new high for service to the public by educating generations of individuals that possessed no conception of this nation’s founding.  Moreover, that program provided the impetus to the “Tea Party Movement” largely as a spinoff from Beck’s 912 initiative.

Arguably the results of the 2010 midterm election and the “shellacking” according to President Obama, received by the Congressional Democrats  can be largely attributed to Mr. Beck and his followers.  However, somewhere along the way Fox News management decided Mr. Beck was becoming too extreme in his religious leanings and opposition to the secular influences in Government.

We may never know what prompted Glenn Beck to leave Fox News but one cannot help but surmise that management at the cable network viewed his political beliefs as falling outside the bounds of “fair and balanced.”

If you were to look back and observe the not so subtle changes in the Fox philosophy I believe a pattern exists and is marked by the departure of specific individuals at the network.  One of the best examples of “fair and balanced” coverage of the news was presided over by Brit Hume as the Bureau Chief of Fox News.  His skill at analysis and moderating panel discussions gained him the enduring admiration and respect of the viewing audience.

Today, under Brett Baier, the same format at 6pm has lost much of its intrinsic value and degenerated into a high-class “coffee clutch” with the possible exception of Charles Krauthammer.

The “fair and balanced” debates, now present on virtually every Fox Segment, except for O’Reilly,  are reminiscent of the arguing seen on the Jerry Springer show of past decades where the participants talk over each other and spew the same old political talking points day after day, hour after hour.

February 14, 2012 marked the low point in my estimation, with the news of the cancellation of “Freedom Watch” on the Fox Business channel.  Judge Andrew Napolitano hosted this hour-long excursion into the bowels of our Constitution and exposed the politics of manipulation and distortion of that document by present-day politicians.  The Judge was branded as a Libertarian and overtly in support of Ron Paul thus violating the “fair and balanced” premise of Fox News.

The truth is that Judge Napolitano is an avid “Constitutionalist” who believes in the strict interpretation of the language contained in the Document.  He stands firm against judicial activism and manipulation of the powers enumerated for the separate branches of Government.  He believes that Government should serve the people and not people serving the Government.  He believes the “Declaration of Independence” and “Bill of Rights” set the premise for what our Government must be and the Constitution restraints that keep that Government from becoming tyrannical usurping the Power of “We the People.”  That message is not just Libertarian – it is American!

His message is delivered passionately and boldly taking issue with both political parties whenever they infringe upon the unalienable rights endowed by the Creator.  His message of “Freedom” and his presentation is among the most fair and balanced to be found in American broadcast news.

Yet, because of political correctness, fear of Government reprisal or some unknown force applied to Fox Management, his First Amendment right of free speech has been eliminated from Fox News.

On one of his final broadcasts, Judge Napolitano lays out a scenario of “what ifs” wherein he paints a picture of our  Federal Government, out of control, infringing upon every aspect of American life.  His message for freedom ends with a quote from Thomas Jefferson:  ”When the People fear the Government, we have Tyranny – when the Government fears the People we have Freedom.”

My question to Fox News is, what are you afraid of?