Seeing the Round Corners

HEADS UP, the new day for Seeing the Round Corners “GOING LIVE” is Tuesday each week.

April 13, 2021

Giving the new knee a little more time to heal, here is an appropriate column from the archives relative to today’s brawl in the media war.

The 2016 campaign debates continue to provide all the world with plenty to just downright chuckle about. As this column goes live tonight, the Iowa caucuses will be underway and be the first of the major events trimming the number of candidates.

As a member of the journalism profession, this writer must take advantage of the opportunity the latest Republican debate presented, namely, seeing a journalist taken down a notch or two.

The Fox News narrator's running battle with Donald Trump came up a bit short when Trump refused to participate in the Republican debate if Megyn Kelly was not removed as a narrator.

Fox stood its ground only to see the debate “trumped” by Trump following through on his threat not only to withdraw but to schedule an event honoring    veterans at the very same date and time as the Republican debate.

The Megyn Kelly-style of journalism is what can only be described as yellow journalism – it is always about making themselves the story as a way of furthering/advancing their own career. The latest edition of Vanity Fair magazine has none other than Kelly on its cover.

In the debates to date, America has witnessed some of the most unprofessional narrators ever involved in a debate – presidential or otherwise. To aspiring political candidates, take heart to what this demonstrates, you are not at the mercy of debate organizers/controllers.

Those readers who have attended local debates will recognize the scenario. Organizers of candidate debates use the event to control what message they want to come out of the debate by stating the rules – goes something like this:

  • the public submits questions to the organizers/controllers of the debate in writing;
  • questions are reviewed, screened and decided on by said controllers;
  • similar questions are combined for the sake of time (supposedly); and
  • members of the public present at the debate are not allowed to directly ask questions of candidates.


 Described are a disservice to voters and even worse, are an extortion tactic of organizers/controllers of the debate toward candidates. The example Trump set should be a shining example to all political candidates –  the debate is not about the narrator/controller!!!

And now, an article from 2007 about just how we ended up with the likes of Fox News and its narrators.   


Bias in the media is almost unlimited, and with the vast expanse of what is referred to as the “media,” came a wide array of organizations whose purpose is to critique, regulate, analyze and study the media – all supposedly in the exercise of “free speech.”

There are those who believe that the “deregulatory efforts of the 1990’s in the electricity and telecommunications industries has upset the delicate balance between private interest and public responsibilities.” Dr. Marc Cooper of the Consumer Federation of America believes that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) “must reassert their regulatory responsibilities to salvage public interests.”

A little history of the telecommunications regulation may shed some light on just why today’s regulatory world is so complicated, or maybe complex is a better term.

In the early days (1876-1909), both telephone and telecommunications were regulated under the rules of patent protection. When Alexander Graham Bell was granted the patents for the telephone in 1876, competition was limited until they expired in 1893 and 1894. (Remember, Bell founded AT&T.) From 1876 until 1894, AT&T enjoyed freedom of competition which provided it with a huge advantage, and allowed for it to build the only nationwide telephone network.

At the time, a monopoly was acceptable in light of patent protection, but AT&T took bold advantage of that position. During the period from 1910 through 1933, AT&T aggressively bought out competitors, even though the competitors were already excluded from the nationwide telephone network. Many independent telephone companies were forced into bankruptcy by AT&T’s aggressive tactics.

AT&T’s purchase of a controlling interest in Western Union gave AT&T a monopoly in two industries – telephone and telegraph. Finally, the monopoly dominance demanded the attention of the government, and in 1910, the telephone, telegraph and cable industries were placed under the jurisdiction of the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC).

AT&T was ever mindful of the antitrust actions against the tobacco and steel industries, and by 1913, the independent competitors of Bell/AT&T became insistent that the government deal with AT&T’s monopolistic buy-outs. Also by this time, lack of interoperability and the isolated areas of communication developed into an issue for commerce and consumer interests. As long distance service grew in importance, it soon became apparent that universal service was better achieved without competition, as unpalatable as that was to the independents (and today’s world).

The government recognized the need for regulation of a monopoly the size AT&T had grown into, and in 1913, authorized the Kingsbury Commission. AT&T agreed to three primary points: 1) divest control of Western Union; 2) connect its toll lines with independent exchanges; and 3) acquire competing independent operators only after consent of the Justice Department or the ICC.

As consumer communication needs grew, the single telecommunications provider premise became law with passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1934. The Act named AT&T as the “sole provider of telephone equipment and services,” recognizing AT&T as a “natural monopoly.” The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was also established by the Act and jurisdiction of the telecommunications industry was transferred from the ICC to the FCC.

Universal service was the controlling impetus during the period from 1934 to 1982, with government’s goal being low-cost, high-quality telephone service. Of course, AT&T never missed a step in convincing the government and consumers that only it could ensure network integrity, and fulfill the goals outlined by the government.

As the computer age dawned, AT&T balked at innovations or alternatives such as wireless technology that threatened their network. A 1949 suit by the Justice Department under the Sherman Antitrust Act threatened to force divestiture of AT&T’s manufacturing arm, Western Electric. To settle, AT&T agreed to a Consent Decree in 1959 (a full ten years later) which restricted it from entering the computer and information service business, and greatly limited its power and bottom line – in retrospect, a major strategic mistake no doubt. By now, IBM was a force to be reckoned with and the Decree meant limited direct competition with a company who would become a giant in the computer world.

As competition increased, government in all its infinite wisdom “began to redefine how regulations should benefit consumers, resulting in three changes that ultimately led to the breakup of AT&T in 1982.

In 1957, the limitation of foreign attachments on Bell phones ended with a court ruling in the Hush-a-Phone case that such attachments did not negatively affect the quality of service to consumers.

In 1959, approval was given by the FCC for private microwave communication circuits which served as a jump-start for competition in network services.

Finally, with the mandated interconnection to local phone companies “extracted” from AT&T by the Kingsbury Commission (in 1913), MCI showed AT&T its first real challenge, and began offering long-distance service in 1963.

As a result of antitrust litigation which began in 1974, AT&T divested itself in 1982 into a central division dealing with long distance and corporate markets, regional operating companies (which reorganized later into the Baby Bells), the Bell labs and Western Electric.

The reader's comments or questions are always welcome. E-mail me at