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View Diary: Truth in Advertising and the News (53 comments)

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  •  i think the answer to your wife's question (17+ / 0-)

    is probably rather simple: we have truth in advertising laws and not truth in news laws because the need to protect the business environment and try to ensure equitable competition in a business environment is both a higher priority and one with more vested stakeholders than the collective need to ensure a reasoned public sphere for the purposes of collective governance.

    In short, business and entrepreneurial values take precedence over civic values in contemporary U.S. communication policy.  

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 05:58:11 AM PDT

    •  Sad but true. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Polly Syllabic, concerned
      In short, business and entrepreneurial values take precedence over civic values in contemporary U.S. communication policy.  

    •  This is wrong (7+ / 0-)

      In fact, it is the opposite.  The Supreme Court has long ruled that advertising speech is accorded a lower level of constitutional protection under the First Amendment than is news and/or political speech.  The perverse outcome is that the government has some ability to regulate truth in advertising, but no ability to regulate truth in news coverage (aside from libel and slander laws).

      To a large degree, I think this is intentional on the part of our country's founders, who did not want the government in the business of deciding what "truth" is when it comes to news and politics.  That's an enormous amount of power to give to the government -- and if the government had had that power in recent years, anyoone want to imagine Karl Rove as the Minister of Truth back during the Bush/Cheney years?

      The problem is that the founders surely never imagined a news organization with the reach and constancy of Fox News.  They envisioned broadsheets distributed by individuals and small printers that might have circulation in the thousands -- and would surely be horrified by the modern day media conglomerates and the power that they've accumulated.  The valid remedy for dealing with organizations like News Corp (owner of Fox News) under the First Amendment is probably just to break them up into a bunch of pieces.  

      Aside from that, one thought that does come to my mind would be to specify that the First Amendment applies only to individuals, and not to corporations.  That would have a radical impact on the entire media environment, and would essentially give corporate media less rights than individuals...which seems fair, since individuals face the consequences of their actions and words in ways that a corporation never can.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 08:06:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bingo, that's the crux (0+ / 0-)

        Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

        by Simplify on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 09:56:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Try to tell that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wmc418, concerned

        to the judges who just gave corporations personhood.  You could go either way with this and do better than we have it now.  Either specify that the first Amendment applies to individuals, and bye bye Citizens United, or expand the meaning of Citizens United to include prosecuting Corporations as if they are individuals.  Of course I'd go for the first solution, but either way, the way it stands now is the worst we could fear.

      •  if there were such a law on the books (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        requiring truth in news, enforcement would ultimately rest with the courts - the government would have to prove a news provider knowingly lied.  So the Bush bugaboo is misplaced.  Also, had such a law been on he books Chimpy probably would not have gotten elected in the first place.   Now all we need is a simple little constitutional amendment.

        Scientific Materialism debunked here

        by wilderness voice on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 11:36:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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