In 1949 The Fairness Doctrine was written to regulate broadcast licensees by “requiring that controversial issues of public importance be presented in an honest, equitable and balanced manner.” Regrettably, the doctrine was abolished in 1987.

Do you remember Dan Rather and Brian Williams? They were top broadcasters for major networks. Both were fired, one for rushing a story to broadcast before his bosses thought his facts were solid enough, and the other for embellishing his role in a story. Our major networks hold high standards for accuracy and honesty.

Our major newspapers also require validating and fact checking. A Pulitzer prize, given for investigative reporting, is the benchmark of quality. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Associated Press have 214 between them. Our newspapers have given us the truth about the Vietnam War, exposed the Catholic Church’s protecting of abusive priests, and revealed Watergate.

Fox News has no Pulitzer prizes and gave us Pizzagate.

Here is my point.

Our country is not divided by Republican and Democrat. It is divided by fact versus lies, solid reporting versus hoaxes/theories, and truth versus ego-driven explanations.

How harmful is this to our country and how do we reunite a nation divided this way?

Here is an intervention to try with your Fox-viewing friends. Ask them to view another news source for comparison.

Then ask them to look at one issue: how can our country see both a pandemic and a hoax out of the news?

If someone is only listening to one source, they can be easily led. Especially right now, our democracy needs an educated and informed voting public.

—Carolyn Medland
Lapeer Twp.