Fox News Lies: Well, at least we know the truth.

Hope you can hold down lunch from this one:

Fox News gets okay to misinform public, court ruling

When an article leads off with, “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” you know it’s going to draw my attention.

Now, I’m a first-amendment guy all the way. But this is beyond the pale. The problem for me is the illusion of reliability. Fox News wants to dress themselves in reputability, but wants to be able to say anything they fabricate. Again, I’m all for free speech. But it should be labeled “Op-Ed” or something. It should be clear that it is the OPINION of the broadcaster, not fact.

Now let’s see how long it is before some of my right-wing friends come to their aid. I expect, “MSNBC does the same!!!” No, they don’t. They’d have similar troubles I’m certain, if they did. You see, one of the journalists there, Jane Akre, threatened to expose that she was being forced to broadcast a deliberately misleading story. She was fired for it. She sued and won a $425K settlement that was appealed 3 times and she still won, but finally Murdoch’s lawyers won on the basis of the First Amendment, with a ruling that essentially says that lying is protected speech and not against any law.

And I’d agree. My problem is the ethics of it, not the law. At the very least, Limbaugh claims himself to be an entertainer, not The News. You can argue that you don’t like Rachel Maddow, but you cannot argue her facts, because she is well researched and does her homework. But Fox News uses the platform of News Distribution to promote their own political agenda – and that is wrong IMO. Fox News and indeed, the entire right wing, falsely claims the moral high ground and says that it’s the left that is misleading the public. This ought to go a ways towards breaking that lie up as well. Or as least I can hope.

Walter Cronkite, come to find out, was a very, very Liberal man. But this did not show in his news broadcasts – he worked tirelessly to promote NEWS and let the public decide.

This is part of a larger problem, having to do with corporations having “citizenship” and being brought under the protection of the 14th amendment. PEOPLE have the right to free speech (the First), but IMO corporations must be held accountable for what they say because they have a financial interest in the results of their efforts. If the lobbyists of today get their way, then corporations will have exactly the same rights as you and I do for free speech… but it should be obvious that their marketing budget is a little larger than ours. AIG could drop a billion dollars (literally) on promoting why a particular piece of legislation was bad, carpet bombing the entire political arena and voices like ours would have no say at all. It’s quite frightening actually and getting higher and higher on the radar. This is a topic for another day because it’s really huge, but this article makes a good starting point to get there.

Shame on Fox. Shame on them.

[edit: Added an interesting YouTube about the story as an afterward]

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  1. Trent says:

    Sorry but msnbc is just as bad as the rest of em. I’m certainly not condoning any lies by the media… but it IS there right to lie. It sucks and there all scum bags, but they have the right.

    It is also our right not to watch, and to be carefull of what you buy into, no matter wich media outlet you prefer.

  2. Edgar says:

    Would be nice to see at least some references.

  3. perkiset says:

    Here’s one of the appeal complaints, I think this is the one she finally lost…,%202003/2D01-529.pdf

    I’m going to edit the original post to house a YouTube clip that is pretty interesting, although one sided. The ceaseSpin website, where I got this from, is trying to raise money to prohibit *any* broadcaster from using the public airwaves and lying. I think it’s good thing, but how they’ll enforce is a toughy.

  4. Edgar says:

    Good link.

    So this issue is not about Fox News lying and distorting the news. That is on the periphery at best.

    According to the link Fox News management was demanding evidence and legitimate sources which the husband and wife investigative reporting team failed to produce (in regards to the story they were working on).

    Why is it bad for Fox to ask for supporting facts, evidence and the citation of legitimate sources?

    Akre and her husband were resisting cooperation. Why wouldn’t they provide the evidence to support their investigation? It’s no wonder that Fox wanted to alter the story in order to accomodate the lack of evidence that the two reporters failed to produce.

    So Akre and her husband were now on bad terms because they wouldn’t provide evidence that met Fox’s high standard and they threw a tantrum, threatening to sue.

    Akre tried to make Fox look bad by accusing them of distorting her story after they canned her. That’s her claim and does not qualify to be called the truth.

    The real issue here is whether or not she was fired in violation of the Whistle Blowers protection act.

    She got canned because she was being difficult, got mad and lashed out at her employer, and in the end got the shit can from the Judges.

    Fox should be commended for demanding that their reporters adhere to a higher standard of reporting than the rest.

    The only source that said Fox was guilty of forcing someone to “Lie” on the air, is Akre the disgruntled employee.

    But you seem to believe it Perk. Hmmm, if she told you that she saw Jesus would you believe her then too?

  5. perkiset says:

    Did we just study the same footage? Lying and distortion is on the periphery? They had ALL the data … it was shut down because it was contrary to Monsanto! Monsanto had Murdoch et al by the balls (We just paid 3BB for these television stations) and they needed advertisers.

    Wow man. So you even look at that, and find that it’s Akres fault and Fox had nothing to do with it, even as the judgement rules that deception distortion is legally protected speech.

    No wonder their station works Edgar. No wonder. I am going to post something about corporations gaining full citizenship and protection under the 14th, which will seal our fate. I thought, up till this very moment, that there’d be a place you and I agreed, because I thought you were opposed to corporate aristocracy, lobbyists and corporate control of our government as well. If you simply see this as another example of why the government needs to get out of it and let the free market roll, I will be really surprised.

  6. Edgar says:

    Oh, I do believe that you and I may be on the same page when it comes to corporate fat cattin’. We do agree I think. Just say ENRON with me and make it official.

    But let’s not rush to judgment so quickly about this little subsidiary of Fox Television.

    I am not willing to believe that Fox Television by way of WTVT was trying to distort real news information just because a disgruntled employee makes that claim.

    I see no evidence to support that claim. Nor do I see any strong indicators that would allow me to deduce that Fox Television was trying to purposefully misinform the public.

    From the PDF, “Each
    time the station asked Wilson and Akre to provide supporting documentation for
    statements in the story
    or to make changes in the content of the story, the reporters
    accused the station of attempting to distort the story to favor the manufacturer of BGH.”

    I see nothing wrong with demanding supporting evidence. Perhaps based on this we can rightfully question the motives of the reporters and their own bias’.

    @Lying is Protected by Free Speech & Fox

    When I first read your post Perk I got the impression that Fox News was caught, hands down, in the act of knowingly perpetuating lies and misinformation for some greedy evil reason.

    The other impression I got from reading your post was that Fox News only got off because “Lying is protected by free speech”

    How embarrassing for the whole world to see that Fox News was duly caught Red Handed in a conspiracy to misinform the public.

    Turns out that is hardly the case.

    “New World Communications of Tampa, Inc., d/b/a WTVT-TV, a subsidiary
    of Fox Television, challenges a judgment entered against it for violating Florida’s private
    sector whistle-blower’s statute, section 448.102, Florida Statutes (Supp. 1998). We

    This issue is whether or not this is a violation of whistle blower rights. This is more about wrongful firing than getting away with telling lies on TV.

    This reporter was upset that Fox flushed her down the toilet for being a crappy reporter. She then lashed out and tried to cause Fox as much trouble as possible, and to make a few bucks of course.

    She based her claim on a ‘rule’ that, unfortunately for her was not an ‘adopted rule’ and therefore did not hold up in court.

    This has nothing to do with the story she was working on but rather her being an inept reporter and a disgruntled employee looking for a lawsuit.

  7. Edgar says:

    Just watched the youtube vid.

    Yeah, these two are credible LMAO!!! This guy was almost ready to take the “bribe” as he called it.

    Fact is that most of the time when you are about to retire and receive a pension, you have to sign an agreement stating that you will not talk in any negative way about your soon to be former employer. I forget what that’s called right now as it’s two o’clock in the morning here and I’m too lazy to think about it.

    Suffice it to say it happens all the time and it is not a bribe.

    Perk, if you were fair, balanced and UNAFRAID you would also cite Fox’s side of the story as told by a Fox representative.

    Fox is still the number one cable news network by far. Reason being is that they are the only ones that tell the news from both sides and people love it. They are HUGELY successful because the AMERICAN PEOPLE (at least the vast majority) love Fox News.

    I don’t watch tv much anymore though, too many commercials and The Prime Ministers Questions is off till after break. I love the PRQ!!

  8. Trent says:

    “When I first read your post Perk I got the impression that Fox News was caught, hands down, in the act of knowingly perpetuating lies and misinformation for some greedy evil reason.

    The other impression I got from reading your post was that Fox News only got off because “Lying is protected by free speech”

    How embarrassing for the whole world to see that Fox News was duly caught Red Handed in a conspiracy to misinform the public.

    Turns out that is hardly the case.”

    More liberal nuttiness!
    Perk must figure it’s ok to bend the direction of the story… as long as your liberal. The real whining started ONLY because it was fox. THATS IT!

    The real problem here is GWB. You see… he’s no longer giving the nutty left anything to point at and scream “OH MY GOD!!! CAN YOU BELEIVE IT!!!”

    So they have to resort to some slim pickins.

    I mean… It’s not like there going to throw Super Prez under the bus, just to have something to whine about…. or will they?! :drama:

  9. Trent says:

    ““MSNBC does the same!!!” No, they don’t. They’d have similar troubles I’m certain, if they did.”

    Assumptions are mighty dangerous in the world of debating perk!!!

  10. Edgar says:

    Hey Trent,

    You always have a humorous way of putting things. It makes a good read.

    Yeah, perk is grasping at straws here but I do detect an effort on his part to at least be more measured and reasonable.

    You know, I was thinking. You, me and Nash are good for our sadly misguided buddy perk. We keep him on his toes! These liberals here like perk and vsloathe need someone to argue with otherwise they will lose their edge.

    You can’t sharpen your wits by having all your readers simply agree with you.

  11. tricky says:

    If you don’t like it don’t watch it. the sun is putting out more heat than it has in some time. we are coming out of an iceage. these are facts. when i was in the 5th grade’ it was on a test, we are going into an iceage. these were and are the conclussions of the “smart people.” I was scared to death we were all going to freeze to death as a child in 1976.
    i agree that people are missled by the media. i hope that you do some research yourself before becoming the town cryer. it looks as though some people are starting to question things. i see this as good. people in political office that will benifit promotion of green technology all the sudden are the people you look to for the truth?
    just do the short math on a couple of things. who is getting money for what?