ANOTHER WAY TO CENSOR 

ITS NOT ILLEGAL  FOR THE NEWS MEDIA TO LIE

FOX News has been lying to people in various ways for at least the last 10 years.  Only a few days ago, when Governor Sanford admitted to an affair with a woman in Argentina, Faux News put a “D” after his name.  That is only a small example, but it’s indicative of the general dishonesty of their news culture. It was obviously done on purpose,  because he’s a prominent Republican whose name had been mentioned as a presidential contender in 2012.  All Republicans, certainly those who populate the staff at FOX, know who he is.  FOX has  done that exact same thing before with other politicians who get into “trouble” — label them as “Democrats”.   Later, they might correct it, or they might not.  It’s unethical and bizarre that in the world of Faux News, they think they can do anything that want, no matter how dishonest, and get away with it by playing dumb.  That’s the essence of Faux News — playing dumb. Their anchors are dumb, their news writers are dumb, and their viewers are dumb.  Dumb, dumber, and even dumber.

Unfortunately, their dishonesty is  court-sanctioned and completely legal.  Think of the implications of this.  It means broadcast news can be purposely wrong and false, and that’s OK.   We expect that from right-wing talk radio, but many people do not yet expect that from “the News”.  Here’s my advice: trust no U.S. news on TV or radio. It’s mostly slick, packaged garbage, in my humble opinion, and if you are lucky, it’s half right.  Watch news online from international sources.  It’s really getting alarming how ignorant not only the American public is but also the people they elect (watching C-SPAN makes that all too clear), and much of that is the fault of the nonsense presented as news by the mainstream U.S. media.  Here’s an example:  What did cable news cover today, non-stop?  A celebrity death. So what if there are wars going on and record unemployment and a massive climate change bill being debated in the House — Michael Jackson died.

“The attorneys for Fox, owned by media baron Rupert Murdock, successfully argued the First Amendment gives broadcasters the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on the public airwaves. We are pushing for a consumer protection solution that labels news content according to its adherence to ethical journalism standards that have been codified by the Society of Professional Journalists (Ethics: spj.org).

A News Quality Rating System and Content Labeling approach, follows a tradition of consumer protection product labeling, that is very familiar to Americans. The ratings are anti-censorship and can benefit consumers.

On February 14, a Florida Appeals court ruled there is absolutely nothing illegal about lying, concealing or distorting information by a major press organization. The court reversed the $425,000 jury verdict in favor of journalist Jane Akre who charged she was pressured by Fox Television management and lawyers to air what she knew and documented to be false information. The ruling basically declares it is technically not against any law, rule, or regulation to deliberately lie or distort the news on a television broadcast.

On August 18, 2000, a six-person jury was unanimous in its conclusion that Akre was indeed fired for threatening to report the station’s pressure to broadcast what jurors decided was “a false, distorted, or slanted” story about the widespread use of growth hormone in dairy cows.

The court did not dispute the heart of Akre’s claim, that Fox pressured her to broadcast a false story to protect the broadcaster from having to defend the truth in court, as well as suffer the ire of irate advertisers. Fox argued from the first, and failed on three separate occasions, in front of three different judges, to have the case tossed out on the grounds there is no hard, fast, and written rule against deliberate distortion of the news.

The attorneys for Fox, owned by media baron Rupert Murdock, argued the First Amendment gives broadcasters the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on the public airwaves.

In its six-page written decision, the Court of Appeals held that the Federal Communications Commission position against news distortion is only a “policy,” not a promulgated law, rule, or regulation. Fox aired a report after the ruling saying it was “totally vindicated” by the verdict.

 

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