(Todd A. Smith)
The firing of Tucker Carlson at Fox News and Don Lemon at CNN might do more for this country than one can imagine if they see the business opportunity that might fall into their laps if a television network is smart and willing to pay the big bucks.
Sure, the defamation lawsuit that Fox News had to settle with Dominion Voting will do a lot for journalism because if media personalities and companies realize they can lose close to $1 billion for knowingly spreading falsehoods, then maybe they will get back to old school journalism where the truth once mattered.
However, modern cable news has not only detrimentally impacted the field of journalism, but it has also adversely affected American democracy because of lies.
One of the biggest problems confronting America is the media, mainly cable news.
More specifically, the fact that this country has “liberal media” entities, and “conservative media” entities leads to much of the division in the world (i.e., political, racial and religious division) because many people do not want to know what is truly going on in the world or the views of others.
Unfortunately, many just want to believe that they are right about everything and the people on the other side of the argument are at best wrong, or at worst are idiots.
That reality led to much of the success of Tucker Carlson at Fox News.
Many people only watch one type of news entity.
Therefore, whatever a person on a network like Fox News says, no matter how preposterous, many of their followers believe it 100 percent.
Many on the right will say that news outlets on the left are equally to blame for bias in news coverage.
I disagree because I believe everyone is biased to some degree.
However, that does not mean that everyone in the media tells outright lies that put our country and people’s lives in danger like Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity.
But what is done is done and there should be no crying over spilled milk.
The media is sour though like expired milk.
But my mother always says that spoiled milk makes the best cornbread, so we should take those hypothetical lemons and make lemonade out of media’s current dilemma.
What if a media company hires Lemon and Tucker to host a debate show together?
I would love to take sole credit for that idea.
In fact, I did think about it right after the ousters on April 24.
I even had a couple of working titles like “Carlson vs. Lemon” or “Checks and Balances.”
But I cannot take credit because many people on social media had the same idea.
Some even went so far as to say a joint show starring the controversial television personalities could unite the country.
I will not go that far as to say that those two could unite the country.
But a joint show, with their fanbases and sources coming together, could lower the volatile temperature in this country.
More importantly, it could increase the likelihood that people hear other people’s views and finally realize that they are not right about everything.
Furthermore, they might see that their favorite media personalities have knowingly fed them nonsense just to capitalize on their fear to increase television or radio ratings.
One of the biggest flaws that many media consumers have is that they do not listen to news that does not promote their political, racial or religious views.
That is why right-wing media personalities on Fox News were able to spread the Big Lie so effectively.
If there is no opposition, a person might feel more confident about their views or the biases.
I looked like Michael Jordan playing in my parents’ driveway by myself.
But when I went up against All-Americans in high school like Jerald Brown and Rashard Lewis, I realized I had much more work to do.
That type of reality check might happen if people have their opinions and “facts” checked by someone with more knowledge, wisdom and experience.
Now, I am not naïve enough to believe that everyone will change for the better if exposed to opposing views.
But I have personally seen friends change their views based on our conversations or at least open their minds to other viewpoints thanks to our conversations.
Unfortunately, I have lost some former friends who had been brainwashed by some cable news networks.
You cannot save everyone.
More importantly, it is not your job to.
But it is your job to try to bring people together by having open-minded dialogue, especially if you have a megaphone on television or radio.
One of my most impactful experiences in the media was appearing weekly on a Houston radio show called “The Pursuit of Happiness” on KPRC 950 AM.
Fans of “The Pursuit of Happiness” often criticized the host Ken Webster, Jr. for only bringing on guests that he agreed with.
Therefore, when he invited me on the show, many of his fans loved it because they now understood why some people felt the way they did.
I am not saying they agreed with everything I said.
But at least they heard what I said and understood my viewpoint.
If Webster and I were able to do that on local radio in Houston, imagine what Carlson and Lemon could do with their millions of fans.
And think about how much money a network would make by bringing those two controversial figures together.
It would be television fireworks.
And it could possibly lower the temperature of the fireworks that are a danger to our beloved democracy.