I just now learned that Fox News was taken off the air in the UK because their speech police said Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson weren’t balanced enough. British regulator Ofcom found that both hosts were too critical of Britain’s response to the Manchester bombing and not critical enough of President Trump’s travel ban. They also determined that there weren’t enough alternative voices on those subjects. Okay, no free speech. The regulator tells media outlets what they can and cannot say, and if the media outlets violate the rules, that media outlet is no longer allowed to broadcast in the UK.
Then why is CNN still on the air in the UK? CNN. Come on. They are hardly fair and balanced when it comes to President Trump. A Harvard study in May found that CNN’s coverage of Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office was 93 percent negative! Why are the UK speech police okay with CNN’s unbalanced coverage?
The UK is allowed to set any broadcast standards it wants, and if it wants to police “alternative voices,” it can. I give mighty thanks that I live in a country where the market, i.e., the people, decide whether a show is good enough to keep on the air. That’s why we have Fox and CNN and MSNBC and ….
What’s the big deal, you ask? Besides not having freedom of speech? The big deal is that the UK is getting the very slanted picture of the U.S. they claim they are trying to avoid. They want to minimize positive coverage of Trump unless alternative voices are negative in equal measure. If that were the reality, it would make sense. But the fact is, Donald Trump’s travel ban and the man himself are crazy popular in enough areas of the country that he was elected president. That’s newsworthy. How that affects the American political process, the midterm elections, the 2020 election, etc. is extremely newsworthy.
If the UK wants fair and balanced, why not leave Fox on and juxtapose it with CNN? That would make sense. I guess Britain has some other reason for kicking Fox off the air.
Note: Fox was removed from the air in August, but the issue reappeared because Fox is making a bid for Britain’s Sky channel. The potential merger has been referred to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), a non-ministerial government department in the United Kingdom responsible for strengthening business competition and preventing and reducing anti-competitive activities. The referral is considered a win for opponents of the measure.