Ad data retrieval

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Is Seeing REALLY Believing?

  Recent news accounts proven to be artificial and sensationalist have caused serious confusion amongst layfolk. The onus of this recently has been Fox News' erroneous pegging of Shirley Sherrod as a bigot, but there are other instances where people tell things they know to be untrue to gain ratings or headline superiority. In fact, the entire Birther claim began because a Kenyan newspaper falsely and knowingly claimed Barack Obama as one of their own. Naturally, many right-wing agencies have ran with this tale to the chagrin of Mr. Obama and the general public. But is any of this legal?

  In a nutshell, yes.

  While Canada has a law in the books (Section 181) that can punish those who deliberately spread false news, the United States does not. While the FCC may have a position against news distortion, there is no law that states that one cannot lie. In fact, it is quite the opposite. On February 14th, 2003 Fox News was vindicated in the Florida Court of Appeals. They had been sued by a former journalist who testified that she was forced to lie on camera. The lawyers for Fox stated that the First Amendment guarantees them and anyone else the right to lie, conceal, and distort information broadcast over the public airwaves. And they won. It is 100% legal to bullshit for ratings.

  Think about this the next time you watch the news or read the newspaper and think critically. CNN could broadcast that Keith Olberman was caught wearing panties in an Egyptian bordello and they would be allowed to do this. They'd violate their last shred of journalistic integrity, but no laws would be broken. This is why Fox can fabricate the entire ACORN debacle with impunity, and why Bill Maher can tell fanciful tales about wonderful socialist countries that do not exist. They do it because they can and while Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly use this power more, they are not alone when it comes to falsifying the news.

  Whether you are left, right, or centrist open your eyes and ears. See an issue from as many possible angles versus automatically entrusting your critical thought to one source. People are free to believe what they wish and invent stories to support their suppositions. Don't allow yourself to become a piece in the dangerous machine of misinformation intentionally peddled by pseudojournalists who prefer fame over facts. The more folks that believe a lie, the stronger it becomes. And lies DO hurt people. Just ask Shirley Sherrod.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think