Hold public hearings on Deliberate Disinformation and Propaganda
Every day there are several documented new instances of deliberate disinformation, distortion and propaganda by media outlets. Just yesterday, for instance, KFI 640 AM radio's John & Ken Show regurgitated the Faux Nooze deliberate distortion and misrepresentation of Phil Jones' interview with the BBC on the subject of Global Climate Change. They -- both numerous individuals at Faux as well as the John & Ken radio personalities -- made numerous willful false statements about what this climate scientist said about the subject of global warming, and in doing so deliberately distort the issue for political purposes.
Faux Nooze went to court and essentially won the right to lie in its programming -- about which the FCC did nothing at all, despite the obvious danger presented by a 'news' outlet declaring a right to falsify the news -- and the rest of the billionaire-funded Republican Noise Machine has followed Rupert Murdock's lead.
The FCC has been allowing -- if not enabling -- this sort of propaganda war on the American People for well over a decade. Its high time that the FCC take its regulatory role seriously and open up a nationwide public discussion of propaganda and deliberate disinformation in the media. If this issue was confronted and examined honestly, openly, and thoroughly the FCC would learn that the vast majority of people in this country want a minimum standard of good faith honesty in broadcasting established and enforced. The current 'standard' of being able to lie with impunity because no citizen can challenge it -- and the government won't challenge it -- must end. There is no First Amendment right to broadcast. The airwaves are a finite resource, and access to them for broadcasting purposes is a privilege subject to whatever standards of conduct We the People say they are subject to.
Hold Hearings on Propaganda and Deliberate Distortion.
I agree that all news outlets should abide by a Code of Practice. I do not however believe that means the government should create a Code of Practice enforcement division. Do you seriously want politically influenced government organization deciding what constitutes truth? Ask yourself that question not with the current administration, but what would happen if a strong right leaning government were in power. Still keen on having the government censor news?
Zoe, you are right. The OP is merely referencing Conservative media for the example, but the street would of course go both ways. Regardless of Political leaning, all news outlets should abide by a Code of Practice which SHOULD BE regulated by the FCC. All parties found breaching the Code of Practice should face heavy fines, and repeat offenders should face charges and have relevant action pursued to the full extent of the Law. This will discourage any future breaches from any news and media outlets. This would hold true not just for political stories, but any subject where BIAS and OPINION are portrayed as FACTUAL, or where facts are slanted or blatantly changed to misrepresent an event.
What about the Trayvon NBC creative editing of a 911 call played on national TV? "The edit made it appear as though Zimmerman told police that Martin was black without being prompted, when, in fact, the full tape reveals that the neighborhood watch captain only did so when responding to a question asked by the dispatcher." At least NBC fired the producer responsible, but this story wasn't even released until another network (Fox) exposed it. News should be required to air a disclaimer, and not in tiny print and flashed for a millisecond either- that the "names and events have been changed for dramatic purposes and may not reflect the actual event". In other words, the "news" should alert the viewers that what they are watching is not necessarily a true story. Another instance, I was listening to BBC World via XM satellite radio and they were doing an on-air interview with a "local man" off the street during the Arab Spring. He was supposed to be a regular nobody, just some random Libyan man that luckily had a satellite phone to contact the media and let them know what's going on in Libya during some conflict there. It was quite obvious to me this man was NOT Libyan, nor even a genuine Arabic speaker, as his accent was so blatantly fake and amateur at best. I recognized this man's voice as one of the phony "translators" hired by another network years ago, that was exposed as a non-Arab speaker but someone put in place for dramatic effect (the story had already been translated, he was hired as a voice over as the real translator didn't have a 'TV pretty' voice). For one, they could have at LEAST found ONE guy with a bonafide accent. Two, there must be a dearth of Arabic sounding voice-over actors if different networks have to resort to using the same guy. I am also surprised that (I am guessing but probably not far off!) 99.8% of viewers have no idea that actors are hired for this shenanigans.
If you talk to any single American, and mention Fox News, they will acknowledge that FOX misrepresents the truth as a standard. Even the sheep that watch FOX news know this, but they let it pass because they are complacent in the deceit. I do not understand how Fox is allowed by the FCC to continue, when there is a consensus that it is a corrupt institution. Maybe the government agency we really need to get rid of is not, the dept. of agriculture, or even the EPA, but the FCC. If you are not going to do your job, why do we need you?
Jim Leggett commented
There is not only disinformation and propoganda in program content but also in advertising. Have you noticed that over the last couple of years people of color are more often than not displayed in advertisements as the person in charge, the boss, the highly successful professional while your WASP is displayed as old Joe Blow, the laborer, the hired help. Is that reality?
Newscasters function solely as intermediaries between their sources and the viewer or listener. What is more pressing is the need to pursue persons who during news interviews knowingly lie or grossly mislead - this includes scientists, politicians, bureaucrats, spokespersons, etc. In your criticism you may be confusing commentary with news e.g. John & Ken are commentators and not news reporters. The public knows full well that commentary may be biased or impartial, reflecting the views of that commentator. If you don't like the biases of a certain commentator, don't watch or listen - that is your option. If enough people share your views, then ratings and ultimately ad revenues will decline and that commentator will be taken off the air....simple as that.
Alex Small commented
You hit this one right on the head. Disinformation and Psyops used on the American public is nothing less than treasonous. Corporations, domestic or foreign that do it here are criminally negligent. Free speech has limitation, which is why the securities acts prevent unlicensed brokering of securities. Shouting "fire" in crowded places is against the law.
Media profiteers thrive on appeals to confirmation bia, using availability heuristics and vivid accounts of notions of typical things. Commercials have eroding the American attention span.
Misinforming voters with propaganda should be regulated by FCC, as Newton Minow would.
ps. This includes CSpan broadcasting Senator Jeff Session's ham fist, boxy advocacy and apologies in congress for that actions of our monopolies and profiteers more often than not; or cutting off anyone who doesn't sound sufficiently Fox Media brainwashed on their call in programs-- no, The Flat Earth Society does not deserve equal time!
Irish Eyes commented
On the face of it, this sounds a little over the top, but we definitely need to do something about our national media, and perhaps this is a place to start. We must take control back from the muckrakers who are merely throwing any kind of nonsense out there to confuse and confound the general population for their own ends. The "average American" simply doesn't have the time or the energy to figure out who is telling what lie today for what purpose! We need tobring some semblance of veracity back to the airways, or we will continue our downward plunge to mediocrity.
I do think public hearings on disinformation campaigns are overdue.
My hope is they would show us the difference between what Donald Segretti did (The dirty tricks that got him sent to federal prison) and the really obnoxious political spin generated when manufactured events are brought to the fore (Birthers, the NORAD Base Closing incident) ...
I'm really quite unclear on why Segretti went to jail while these jokers continue to elevate their sick falsehoods into the mainstream.