Saturday, April 16, 2016

Fox Leads All News Outlets In On-Air Lies By Pundits

This is very depressing. Our news outlets are supposed to be telling us the truth. How can a democracy survive when those news outlets can't be trusted?

The chart above was made from the results of PolitiFact checking the truth of claims made on-air by the pundits they invite to pontificate (and usually allow them to comment without correcting any lies they tell).

The king network for falsehoods is still Fox News. About 60% of the claims made by pundits in their broadcasts are lies. This doesn't surprise me. They really aren't a news organization at all. They are a propaganda machine designed to further the aims of the right-wing and the Republicans Party (neither of which minds telling a lie to get what they want).

The real disappointment is among the other networks, who allow far too much false information to go unchecked on the airwaves. For NBC and MSNBC, the percentage of falsehoods is about 46%. On ABC and CBS, the percentage is about 34%. CNN is the leader in broadcasting the fewest lies -- about 18%.

That's too much. Even CNN, who broadcast the fewest lies, could be doing much better. Why don't they? Can you imagine such newsmen as Edward Murrow or Walter Cronkite putting up with this level of false reporting?

It is because the networks, all of them, are now corporate-owned entities -- dedicated to making money rather than reporting the news. In the past, a network would allow its news division to lose money -- and they would make up the loss in their entertainment division. They did this because they thought the reporting of the news (the truth) was an important function of broadcasting services. That is not true anymore. Now news must take second -lace to making money (and reporting the corporate view of the news).

We should all be worried about this -- at least those of us who treasure our democracy. An educated public is necessary to the survival of a democracy -- and our news outlets, who should be telling us the truth, are instead failing to correctly inform us. They should be ashamed -- and we should be ashamed for allowing it to continue.

1 comment:

  1. This is the sort of comment that can drive me cross-eyed. Admittedly, this is one time I didn't check the original article, but even given the accuracy of it -- and how many lies on MSNBC come from a Republican being interviewed? -- I can give an equally long comment, focusing on the changes in the CHICAGO TRIBUNE and NY DAILY news after the McCormick family lost control and it went public, or the changes in the Hearst papers, or the LA paper (Times?) that the Chalmers family lost control of with a new generation. Or even FOX since Murdoch has been taking less of an active hand, though that also involves the Trump factor. And if CNN is more 'honest' it still is far from the force, or the quality that it was under Turner.
    It's not just the fact these outlets have become 'corporations' since they always were. The change has been that they have become publicly-held corporations. The rules are different, and should be, and this is relevant to any sort of discussion of 'corporate power.'
    The owners of a private or family-held corporation can do just about anything legal with the business, because it is their money they are risking. The owners of CBS could decide to go after McCarthy, because they would 'take the hit' --- and even then Murrow and Friendly had to pay for their own advertising of the show and couldn't use the CBS logo. At the same time, that Mellon heir (Scaife?) in Pittsburgh can run a scurrilous right-wing rag which he knows will lose money just to publicize his own obnoxious views.
    When a mews institution -- or any corporation -- 'goes public' it is no longer risking its own money, but the shareholders', and the rules are different. The board of directors are under a legal requirement to 'increase the value of the corporation' and thus the value of the shareholders' investments. And they have no more right to avoid that than Kim Davis had to avoid giving SSM licenses, or the Senate has of refusing to hold hearings on Garland. They can be -- and yes, have been -- fined for failing to live up to that obligation.
    Fortunately, the definition of 'value of the corporation' includes more than the stock price -- though more and more conservatives are leaning on this definition -- and includes things such aas 'reputation,' 'good will,' 'community relations' and the like, and gives the directors considerable leeway to use theur judgment. If not, corporations would have problems giving charitable OR political contributions, joining in something like the NC boycott, or providing a liberal slant to their news when, arguably, conservatism would be more profitable.
    It is true that many news corporations have tended towars blandness when they went public, but I'd like to study some of the surprisingly good local papers I keep coming across to see if their excellence comes from private ownership, or simply from good judgment from their boards.


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