Archive for category Media Corrections By The People
Recently the CBS so-called “news” show “60 Minutes” has presented stories about a nonexistent epidemic of Social Security disability fraud, a nonexistent conspiracy regarding the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, and offered a one-sided infomercial for the National Security Agency’s widespread warrantless surveillance of Americans.
Last night on “60 Minutes,” Leslie Stahl offered us a straight-up hit job on clean energy, touting an imaginary “Cleantech Crash.”
“60 Minutes” is apparently unaware that the DOE Loan Guarantee Program has a whopping 97 percent success rate, while the companies CBS focuses on such as Solyndra and Abound Solar were just three percent of the portfolio.
Stahl claimed that domestic natural gas production was a form of clean energy, but never mentioned the adverse environmental and health effects of gas well fracking, and she never mentioned climate change at all.
This is the kind of fact-free “journalism” that we’ve come to expect from the Faux News Channel. In reality, renewable energy has become our the largest source of new electric capacity, led by wind power.
What’s The Matter With 60 Minutes?: Cleantech Edition
13 Major Clean Energy Breakthroughs Of 2013
60 Minutes Report Denounced For Disability Misinformation
NSA Report Means More Trouble For 60 Minutes
60 Minutes Benghazi Witness Even Less Credible Than Previously Imagined
Fox Business host Charles Payne interviewed Bill Nye “The Science Guy” yesterday about climate change, and told Nye he was “confusing some of the viewers.” Which, you know, is the job of Faux News. The conversation got derailed when Payne insisted on an explanation of something Al Gore said about politics, not science.
The 6-plus minute debate seems to based on whether or not the recent hurricane is reflective of a larger trending in global warming or not, but really ends up being about the value of scientific evidence. After host expresses his skepticism, Nye shoots back by saying “there’s a lot more science behind” the idea of global warming creating extreme weather than simply saying “it’s not.”
I have ceased to wonder who our National media are actually working for anymore folks. Newsweek has long appeared to me as a premier apologist for the Iraq War and Bush Administration policies. Someone bought me a subscription to the News magazine about 3 years ago. I could have just as well done without it. I once burned an issue in disgust.
Newsweek continues to exceed all of readerâ€™s disillusioned expectations about Iraq in their April 2, 2007 issue. The timing of the article alone is enough to make the general disgust for this war seem more than justified. Unfortunately they (mis) use military families in this self righteous rationalizing editorial more than report about the lives lost in
Iraq and how Gold Star families feel about it.
The cover story, â€œThe War in the Words of the Deadâ€ features letters from Army First Lt. Kenneth Ballard wrote his mother from Najaf in May 2004. “My tank took another RPG this a.m. for a grand total of 8. It has turned into almost a game of sorts. They shoot, we get hit, we shoot back, killing them most of the time, only to repeat it all over again somewhere else in the city.”
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Having been a journalist for more than thirty years, I’m used to politicians lying to me: either to make themselves sound better or denegrate their opponent. But Rep. Chris Cannon and Sen. Orrin Hatch have taken falsehood and inaccuracy to a new, pathological level.
Hatch, seen here claiming he discovered Great Salt Lake, either fibbed or falsely portrayed one of the fired U.S. attorneys on “Meet the Press” Sunday- so badly he wrote a letter of apology. On the same subject, the future of doomed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Hatch, on a separate occasion, not only said the Democrats’ demand for Gonzales’ head was racially motivated, he pulled another toad out of his bag of tricks: “Here’s the highest ranking minority ever to serve in government and to not give some leeway to make some mistakes that [Democrats] would give to their liberal friends, I think that’s just wrong,” Hatch said. Speaking of just wrong, Hatch either forgot or didn’t care that Colin Powell was the highest ranking minority ever as Secretary of State.
Then there’s Cannon, the Republican attack dog du jour for Fox News. His inflammatory falsehoods/dangerous lies about the Trolley Square attack being an Islamic fundamentalist revenge killing were either rumors he picked up off some right-winger’s blog or he just made up. Whether it’s immigration, the Mark Foley scandal and sexual predators or global warming and the First Amendment, Cannon plays fast and loose with the truth when it serves his purposes and is equally quick and bald-faced to accuse his adversaries of distortion.
Deliberate or not, Cannon and Hatch are practicing the most insidious propaganda of all: not only are their lies and deceptions based on political motivations but also astouding stupidity and disregard for opposing views and the legitimacy of ACTUAL FACTS. Bottom line: like Bush, Cheney, Rice, et al, is there any reason to believe anything Hatch and Cannon say- ever?
Ask the average citizen or child if they know that lying to ruin someone’s reputation is wrong and could get you in big trouble and they’ll probably say yes. However, a jury of their peers says that didn’t stop some ostensibly intelligent and honorable adults, including several from Utah, from doing exactly that. Now, after twelve years, a federal court jury in Salt Lake City has awarded Proctor and Gamble $19.25 million from the former Amway distributors accused of spreading a rumor via voice mail that P&G was funding satanic cults.
P&G’s relationship to satanism is an urban myth that’s been around as long as those alligators living in New York City’s sewers. To believe the world’s largest manufacturer of cleansers, detergents and other household products is a rapacious clan of devil-worshippers is as credible as the “east-coast liberal media conspiracy” theory that right-wingers have perpetuated for decades (which we should have sued somebody for). The defendants claimed, among other things, that the rumors did not hurt P&G, that P&G is a corporation, not an individual and therefore cannot be defamed, and that P&G has plenty of money and is using their unlimited resources to beat down the little guy. All that may be true. But all sides being equal under the law, it comes down to one thing: malice.
Bloggers should read this case closely because it won’t be long before more of us get sued for doing the same thing. If you deliberately or “maliciously” lie about someone, even a company, with the goal of hurting their reputation or business, which is what this jury decided, it’s called defamation or, in this case, false advertising. Even an apology or retraction, as the distributors made later (even though their attorney still says there’s no proof his clients spread the rumor), may not get you off the hook. The distributors’ Utah attorneys succeeded in knocking P&G’s suit down to a single claim of unfair competition and false advertising. That the distributors were in business competition with P&G was key to this judgment. But it’s clear the jury reacted emotionally and punitively to the larger issues of fairness and malice.
Malicious and unsubstantiated attacks made on-line and elsewhere by individuals are also subject to laws like misappropriation of copyrighted and intellectual property, as Google and YouTube found out after Viacom sued them for posting clips of Viacom properties’ programs, like Comedy Central and MTV, gleaned by YouTube’s members. As blogging evolves and our audience and power grows, bloggers need to be careful not only what they say but how they say it. It’s Journalism 101 but most people never take that course.
After thirty years as a professional reporter and executive in the news business, and having avoided any lawsuit, I know. No matter who you are or if your post is seen by one or one million people, you could get sued if what you say is deliberately or recklessly false or appropriated without attribution. The only sure defense is the truth. But even that won’t prevent you from getting sued. This is a public service announcement from your friendly, neighborhood former journalist. Now, repeat what you said about environmentalists being proof that Democrats had sex with woodchucks…