Not your typical subject matter for a year-end column, I must say. Then again, the earth is going to end in a year from the day I’m typing this, according to my Mayan readers and the medallion I wear on the chain around my neck, so I might as well swing for the fences 24 more times.
I’m assuming I’ll get 24 shots at a column. But with the Federal Communication Commission dictating “fairness” in everything and anything transmitted over the public domain, it’s hard to say what’s coming down the pike, literally.
After all, my newspaper disseminates information that uses the Internet throughout its production cycle in terms of stories, advertising, e-mail and of course, transmitting the pages to my printer in Gypsum. Moreover, the finished product uses our interstate highway system to bring the paper to Grand Junction. Therefore, it’s not a stretch to see where the FCC is trying to go with its interpretation of “fairness.”
So if we cover a story about a business that takes the time to write a professional press release to the quality, local, business publication of its choosing (ours of course), should I, as the owner/publisher of said publication, be forced through government intervention to do stories and give equal space to all of that firm’s competitors under some bureaucrat’s idea of fairness?
If I receive an advertising order over the Internet from a company or person who’s freely giving my paper their money, will I be compelled to give free ads to competing advertisers who chose not to take the time, interest or monetary action to place advertising in my paper?
If I take an ad or story idea from a local church as it relates to business, will I be forced by government edict to also take a story from a group of child molesters or drug dealers who espouse the opposing point of view, all in the interest of fairness and getting out all sides of the story?
Sound extreme? Perhaps, but just look at who these do-gooders defend and attack and you’ll forgive my skepticism.
I’ve spent more than 10 years to create and hone a product my customers enjoy, find informative and most important, willingly pay money to be part of and spend time with. I take these actions knowing full well the risk I could gain or lose customers based on the quality and reputation of my product; that I create a product that has little utility for a portion of the Grand Valley population (unless, of course, you like to be as fully informed as possible on business news here); and that some of what I do, publish and write might or might not offend my readership. That’s actually the only way I — and most everyone in this country — do business, all while realizing it has no bearing in any arena where the government plays.
Therefore, my New Year’s resolution to my readers, subscribers and advertisers is to continue down the same path, the only path, I’ve been forging since I arrived in town in 2000. And that is to create a unique, high-quality, targeted product that serves its client base’s best interests and demands. The fact is, the Business Times isn’t intended to serve everyone for every need they might have or desire for a newspaper. Its only objective is to do an incredible, in-depth job at serving its target audience. And it should remain my right, and the Business Times’ right, to continue to do just that —to our success or failure — without some government lackey telling us what to do.
I realize some of you might be saying I’m overreacting. That would have some merit were it not for some unfortunate, factual information called history. When the government sticks its nose into private business, it picks winners and losers and creates laws and mandates that benefit one business over the other, which is especially hard on small businesses. Why do you think big businesses hire lobbyists to level the playing field — or level the competition through government mandates?
And that is what this FCC end-around is all about. The businesses who are pushing for this FCC regulation can’t win through our legislative process, the court of public opinion or, most important, in the free market. So they do what all too many businesses now do, find some politicians and bureaucrats who think the way they do and have them mandate what they want.
Of course, the only way this works is when your cronies win an election. Think I’m wrong? Look up FDR and Wilson in history and then research some current events about the Obama and other administrations.
Did it ever occur to the federal government that perhaps some people just don’t want to hear what the other side has to say and this is their right? I’m guessing no, since the government refuses to understand life is hard and unfair. Maybe that’s why so many of us disobey the do-gooders’ rules.
At the risk of being shuttered by the FCC, Merry Christmas to all of our readers, subscribers and advertisers. And may God bless you in the New Year.
Craig Hall is owner and publisher of the Business Times. Reach him at 424-5133 or firstname.lastname@example.org.