Newton’s Third Law famously talks about actions and reactions, and the relationship thereof. The law’s history of use in speeches (and yes, newspaper ledes) is far too long already, so I’ll avoid reprinting its full text in this space, if only to avoid being completely derivative in my introduction.

Newton’s Third Law famously talks about actions and reactions, and the relationship thereof. The law’s history of use in speeches (and yes, newspaper ledes) is far too long already, so I’ll avoid reprinting its full text in this space, if only to avoid being completely derivative in my introduction.


But like any axiom worth its salt, "For every action…" is overused because it’s obviously true. When things get too far out of kilter in one direction, there’s inevitably a correction, and often, an overcorrection.


Which brings me to the subject of Fox News. Let me preface this by saying that I do not watch Fox News, or for that matter, any cable news outlet. As a genre of entertainment, it’s far too much shouting and bullying for my taste. But I digress.


What’s fascinating to me about Fox News is not its content, its hosts, or even its decidedly right-wing reputation. What’s really interesting about the network is how much some people absolutely loathe it. I mean, like "Nickleback opening for The Beatles" loathe.


Fox News arose in its current form as a direct reaction to a sentiment among conservatives that cable news skewed left; that they often gave Republican candidates a harder time than Democrats. Whether that’s true is a matter for debate among people much smarter than I am, but what’s not up for debate is that the right-wingers unquestionably felt discriminated against.


One of the great things about markets is that markets respond. They respond to price incentives, they respond to competition, and they respond to voids of consumer demand. Again, whether or not the void was real or imagined doesn’t matter; a perceived void is still a void.


It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Fox News filled that void in the news market or that conservatives flocked to it once it did. People enjoy things that reinforce their deeply-held beliefs, which isn’t unique to Republicans; it’s a human condition psychiatrists call the confirmation bias.


So why all the hate? The right doesn’t actively hate and campaign against Jon Stewart or Steven Colbert; they mostly just ignore them. But that same apathy hasn’t developed on the left in response to Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity.


Am I supposed to believe that because Stewart delivers his left-wing snark with a wink a nod, that makes it less one-sided? It frankly just baffles me.


Hating somebody else’s preference for biased coverage while turning a blind eye to your own is textbook hypocrisy. Loathing the conservative agenda is one thing; loathing a television network for pursing ratings among a demographic that considered itself under-served is a useless reaction to, what was itself, a completely logical reaction.


NATE STRAUCH is a reporter with the Herald Democrat. Email him at nstrauch@ heralddemocrat.com.